Novak Djokovic’s reign at number one has finally come to an end after a straight sets defeat (6-3, 6-4) to Andy Murray in the finale of the 2016 ATP World Tour.
The crushing blow comes after Djokovic held the top spot for four of the last five years, while Murray has sat second for six long seasons.
So with the 2016 season over, let’s turn our attention forward and look at the early contenders for the 2017 season.
As you’d expect, Murray and Djokovic are the favorites to finish on top in 2017.
The world number one and two have shown they are currently in a different league compared to Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka, who follow in third and fourth place.
But Murray and Djokovic both turn 30 in 2017, and while that isn’t exactly old in tennis years, it is the beginning of the end. Raonic and Kei Nishikori, both in their mid twenties, are looking like the future of tennis. Both made it to the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals, where Raonic gave Murray a run for his money (5-7, 7-6, 7-6).
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are also in the mix, but the two are no longer dominating the sport like they used to. Nadal is recovering from injury and is expected to be fit by the start of the 2017 season, but his form over the last few years suggests he’s past his peak. Meanwhile, Federer finished 2016 out of top ten for first time in 14 years.
So that leaves us with the old guard (Federer and Nadal), the current guard (Murray and Djokovic), and the rising stars (Raonic and Nishikori). As it stands, I don’t think we’ll see a resurgence from Federer or Nadal, and Raonic and Nishikori still have some way to go before they can really challenge Murray or Djokovic.
Odds on being top ATP ranked player in 2017
Andy Murray: 7/3
Novak Djokovic: 7/3
Milos Raonic: 9/1
Rafael Nadal: 23/2
Kei Nishikori: 93/7
Roger Federer: 93/7
Stan Wawrinka: 97/3
Photo credit: “Murray” by Angela N, CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Flickr.