ATP Analysis | Tennis News from Tennis Tips UK
The 2019 season is already underway and the first grand slam event will run from 14-17 January in Melbourne, Australia. Now seems an appropriate time to take a look at the year ahead and crucially who will come out on top overall in terms of the year end official rankings.
Bookmaker Insight: Market Analysis
Ahead of the Australian Open, Serbian Novak Djokovic sits at the number one spot comfortably above the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. He enjoyed a highly successful campaign last year after initially struggling with personal and injury issues. He’s the clear favourite to retain this accolade in 2019 and is priced at just 1.50 (1/2) to end the season as number one at most bookmakers offer these markets as of the time of publication.
The initial standout selection from a brief browse of the market above is former world number one and multiple grand slam winner Roger Federer. At 12/1 (13.00) that would suggest the chances of the Swiss maestro ending the year at the number one at around just 7.7%. After the bookmaker margin has been factored in the figure is closed to just 5%.
Roger Federer: How many events will he play?
On the face of it this is highly appealing but delve a little deeper and the reason for this becomes clear. Last season Federer skipped the clay court season entirely and may choose to do the same again this year. His level is still highly competitive and he’s certainly capable of winning all hard and grass court events but it appears he’s adopted a more conservative approach to preserve his career as physically at 37 years old the demands of the body increase significantly. Ultimately only the man himself and his team know the approach he will take.
Due to the way ranking works (points based system) it would be very difficult for Federer to compete with others who play more events and don’t skip parts of the season if he does indeed adopt that approach again.
Djokovic, Nadal & Murray – Tantalizing Trio
As referenced previously; Novak Djokovic is the firm favourite and with good reason following his attainment last year. However he’s shown vulnerability in his game and appears to lack the same consistency as his imperious 2015 year during which he won 93.18% of matches (82-6)
To put that into context his 2018 campaign ended with a win rate of 80.60%. Still highly impressive and enough to end the year as number one but with thirteen losses certainly not invincible. His season has started well this year however he did suffer a three set defeat to Bautista Agut in Doha. The Spaniard produced a superb performance to earn this victory however rather than as a consequence of a low level from Djokovic himself.
Rafael Nadal appears to be dealing with some injury issues after withdrawing from some warm up events but it’s rumoured that he just wants to prepare in the best possible fashion ahead of the Australian Open. In a recent interview he said ‘He feels better than 12 months ago’ so there is cause for optimism there. Injuries seem to be his main obstacle and given his physical style it’s difficult to see him making it through the entire season competing without at least one signficiant issue hampering his chances of the year end number one.
Andy Murray is a signficiant outsider for the year end number one spot and with good reason following lengthy injury issues and very little competitive court time ahead of the Australian Open. The grass court season could yield success but recovery from surgery will take time and it’s probable he will never return to the level seen previously in terms of grand slam attainment.
The Outsiders: Young Guns
Alexander Zverev has long been tipped as the ‘next big thing’ and last season he started to deliver on that – winning the season ending ATP Finals. He has a genuine chance at all grand slam events this year as he continues to develop as a player both mentally and physically.
Khachanov and Thiem have the ability to beat anyone but lack consistency making the year end number one improbable. The Austrian is certainly worth watching closely over the clay court swing however. Particularly Roland Garros.
Who will end 2019 as World Number One?
The smart choice is definitely Novak Djokovic. The current price offers very poor value however. The likes of Alexander Zverev appeal when Murray, Federer and Nadal are struggling relative to their best years.
Player to Watch: Roberto Bautista Agut
He’s already beaten Novak Djokovic and went on to win that event in Doha. He looks to have worked hard in the off-season and looks physically ready to compete over many months. Year end number one markets will be released at a wider range of bookmakers over the coming months and it will be interesting to see the price available for the Spaniard following his performance in Melbourne.