Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
With nine months of the 2010 ATP season in the books, let's take a look at the progress of the world's top-10 players as we head towards the stretch run.
1) Rafael Nadal
What can you say about the world's top tennis star? He recently became the first man in 41 years to win three straight Grand Slam events in one season, which he did by prevailing at the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open. Even the great Roger Federer has never won three consecutive majors in one calendar year.
Nadal is a robust 59-7 and will finish as the year-end No. 1 star for a second time in three years. The Spanish strongman has piled up six titles already this year and earned well over $7 million in prize money, which is a new record for the sport. All six of his 2010 titles are of the prestigious variety, being either Grand Slam or ATP Masters ones.
|Rafael Nadal has won the last three Grand Slam events and will finish the year at No. 1.
2) Novak Djokovic
Somehow Djokovic is second in the world, despite having captured just one career major title, and that came almost three years ago in Australia. For 2010, however, the Djoker is a solid 45-13, but has managed just one title in only two finals appearances. That title (in Dubai) aside, his truly best showing came in New York, where he outlasted Federer in an epic five-set semifinal in order to reach his second U.S. Open final in four years. But just like he did against Federer three years ago, the athletic Serb succumbed in the Big Apple finale, this time at the hands of the amazing Nadal.
Djokovic reached at least the quarterfinals at all four majors this year, including a semifinal appearance at Wimbledon and the title tilt in New York.
Still, though, only one title this year?
3) Roger Federer
The Fed opened the season at No. 1, which he has done no less than five times, but was supplanted by his great rival Nadal for a second time in three seasons. The mighty Swiss is still a solid 44-11 this year, but has captured only a pair of titles over nine months. Fortunately, one of his titles was a major one, which came at the Aussie Open back in January. And believe it or not, the supreme star failed to reach the last three Grand Slam finals, which could be a sign of the apocalypse.
Note: Federer actually has a losing record in his 2010 finals overall, going 2-3 thus far.
The 29-year-old Federer, who has earned more than $4 million in prize money this season, still expects to be a major player at the Slams when 2011 rolls around.
|Roger Federer started the year at No. 1, but is currently at No. 3 after failing to reach the last three major finals.|
4) Andy Murray
Still waitin' for that major title. It didn't come in 2010. The British star reached the Aussie Open finale only to lose to Federer, and was unable to reach another Grand Slam final the rest of the way. The Dunblane, Scotland native is a respectable 34-13 this year, but he's managed only one title in three finals and basically bombed at the French (4th round) and U.S. (3rd round) Opens.
5) Robin Soderling
R-Sode isn't sneaking up on anybody anymore. The Swedish slugger has appeared in two of the last seven Grand Slam finals, or the last two French Open finals. He's a quality 42-15, including a title in four championship matches, this season. Sodes lost to the warrior that is Nadal in this year's Roland Garros finale, one year after falling at the hands of Federer in the championship round in south Paris.
Soderling appeared in at least the quarters in the last three Slams.
|Robin Soderling is a two-time French Open runner-up and legitimate top-five star.
6) Nikolay Davydenko
Not much to talk about here. The speedy Russian has spent most of 2010 battling a wrist injury and played sparingly, as evidenced by a 23-12 record. The gritty Russian does own one title this season, and that came in Doha in the first week of the year when he somehow upset Nadal in the title bout.
Davydenko failed to get past the second round at the last two majors and missed the French Open due to that wrist problem.
7) Tomas Berdych
The big Czech finally came into his own this year, as he reached his first- ever Grand Slam semifinal, at the French Open, and his first career major final, at Wimbledon, where he shockingly ousted Federer in the quarters. Berdych is 41-18 for the year, but, surprisingly, has yet to title in 2010. In addition to his runner-up up finish at Wimbledon, against Nadal, Berdych also reached a final at the so-called "Fifth Slam" in Miami, where he lost to former world No. 1 Andy Roddick.
Big Tom did, however, suffer an embarrassing first-round exit at the U.S. Open to close-out his '10 Grand Slam season. Still...
8) Fernando Verdasco
The other Spanish lefty has quietly had a fine campaign. Verdasco has gone 41-17 with a pair of titles in four finals in '10, which currently qualifies him as the second-best southpaw on the planet. And there's no shame in that. Unfortunately for Verdasco, he reached just one Grand Slam quarterfinal this year, in New York.
9) Mikhail Youzhny
|Tomas Berdych reached his first career Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in July.|
Yes, Mikhail Youzhny is a member of the top 10. The fiery Russian has 35 wins against 15 losses this season and is 1-2 in a trio of finals. He also reached at least the quarterfinals at half of the Grand Slam events this season, including a trip into the U.S. Open semis a few weeks ago.
10) Andy Roddick
We'll have to keep an eye on Roddick to see if he's truly starting to fade. His current ranking of 10 might indicate that, since he opened the year at No. 7. The former U.S. Open champ, however, is a quite-decent 40-11 with two titles in four finals this year. But, unfortunately for A-Rod, he was unable to get past the fourth round at the last three majors, including a third-round loss at the French and a stunning second-round exit in Flushing.