On this bleak and wintry day
, people might be interested in the new Ray Bowers watch list for 2014. http://www.tennisserver.com/lines/lines.html
That said, Ray admits that those players on his 2013 list mostly went back rather than forward. Predicting the future is a hazardous business
I sent in my deposit to renew my Cincy seat next August. Nice to think about warm weather there .
Offered here is our new watch list of risers, computed largely from results in this year's Third Trimester. Several appeared on earlier lists, having continued to rise since inclusion. Shown are each member's official 2013 year-end ranking plus his predicted target ranking for twelve months hence.
Vasek Pospisil, 23, 6-4 (Canada). Born in Canada, Vasek trained for several years in Czech Republic. He penetrated the top hundred in early 2013, and during Third Trimester he won the Challenger in Vancouver, reached the semis at Canadian Open (defeating Stepanek, Berdych, and losing closely to Raonic), and stretched Federer to a close third set in Basel. Using his height well, he has become a powerful server and striker. Currently #32, predicted target #23.
Dominic Thiem, 20, 6-0 (Austria). The son of tennis coaches, Dominic had an excellent international career as a junior. His talent brought good success in pro Challengers, primarily on clay, raising Dominic from the fourth hundred at the start of 2013 into the second hundred at mid-summer. Then in October on an indoor hard court in Vienna, after two fine wins, one of them over #70 Gimeno-Traver, Dominic carried Tsonga to a third-set tiebreaker. He then won the clay-court Challenger in Casablanca. Although he appears the likely Austrian top player, he missed Davis Cup this year amid disagreement with the national tennis authorities. Currently #122, predicted target #74.
Karen Khachanov, 17, 6-6 (Russia). Moscow-born Karen showed moderate success in junior events of 2013, winning the European Juniors in Switzerland and defeating Nick Kyrgios in the Garros Juniors. He was unranked by ATP at the start of Third Trimester and competed only occasionally thereafter, but he scored late-year wins over top-hundred players Tipsarevic, A. Ramos, and Hanescu in main-tour indoor action. Currently #447, predicted target #321.
Bradley Klahn, 23, 6-0 (U.S.A.). A former NCAA singles champion from Stanford, left-handed Brad was a member of our watch list named one year ago. He now starts a fresh twelve-month tenure thanks to a surge in Challenger results in Third Trimester, all on hard courts. His only main-tour appearance during that period came at U.S. Open, where he reached the second round, losing to seeded Feliciano Lopez in four sets. His W-L percentage has been very good, but there have been few wins over top-hundred players. Currently #98, predicted target #52.
Joao Sousa, 24, 6-1, (Portugal). To past strong results in clay-court Challengers, Joao in 2013 added balanced success on hard courts as well. He reached the third round at U.S. Open, defeating Dimitrov and Nieminen in five-setters and losing to Djokovic. Starting at the Open, he scored nine wins over top-hundred opponents, including Ferrer, while losing a total of only six matches. The sequence included winning the hard-court tournament at Valencia. He has long trained in Barcelona and now lists residence there. Currently #49, predicted target #32.
Milos Raonic, 22, 6-5 (Canada). Born in Europe, Milos moved to Canada at age three with his parents. In 2007 he was an early enrollee at the National Training Center in Montreal. His devastating serve lifted him to success indoors in early 2011, gaining wide attention, but surgery sidelined him and slowed his rise later in the year. He has since improved his all-court abilities and in 2013 he briefly penetrated the world's top ten. One of the game's most powerful servers and strikers, Milos now appears on our watch lists for the third time. Currently #11, predicted target #5.
Marco Cecchinato, 21 (Italy). Marco's success in clay-court Challengers accelerated in Third Trimester, including wins over Davis Cupper Lajovic, Volandri (who won the Challenger Year-Ender), and several other Challenger stalwarts. In July he scored an interesting win over Dominic Thiem in the final of a Futures event. Marco's only main-tour appearances came at Kitzbuhel and Rome, where he lost in the qualifiers, and at Nice where he won through in the qualifiers but then lost to Fognini in split sets. Currently #165, predicted target #129.