2051 Final Top Player Rankings
1. Mateo Kaspar(23, FRA) -- 16,540
Kaspar has only one foe the next several years: history. It's hard to believe he'd never made the second week before this past season. Not since the magnificent Eric Gorritepe, who seems more a myth than a man these days, has anyone amassed the like of Mateo's 95-4 record in '51. He won six Masters, both hard-court Slams while reaching the finals of the other two, and repeated at the World Tour Finals. Mooljee had several shots at him over the second half of the year and was always competitive but always came up short ... and that gap is growing. Mateo has no rivals, and I don't see him ending up worse than #2 all-time. For the next few years I think he'll continue to be untouchable -- probably increasingly so. On hardcourt, nobody has a chance.
2. Prakash Mooljee(27, SRI) -- 10,210
Occupying the distant top challenger position, Mooljee had a good second-half run nonetheless. At one point he lost to Kaspar in four straight events, beating all other comers and oming very close to winning a couple times. Canada, Cincinatti, USO, Shanghai, Paris. Then Fangio got him at the Tour Finals, but it was a good show of determination and focus. It just wasn't enough in the face of an obvious generational talent. 82-12 is a big step back from his mark the last few years, but he was more consistent than the few others capable of challenging him this year.
3. Gillo Fangio(24, ITA) -- 7,660
It's easy to forget about Fangio with all of the deserved hype that Kaspar gets. He had a disappointing year as well, esp. early -- but he's still an outstanding player and it won't be long before he grabs the #2 spot. He held it briefly this year already, before Prakash snatched it back. Gillo could fade a bit before he ascends; he's got a finalist showing at the Australian Open to defend. The key this year is to do better at the other Slams, none of which saw him get to the second week. That should be automatic for a player of his skills. When the channel slams arrive in the late spring he needs to bring his game. If he does that, he should take the spot of top opposition for the long haul.
4. Johnny Browne(26, USA) -- 7,270
Inconsistent but dynamic, Browne adds a unique flavor to the tour. After doing a whole lot of not-much in the first half, Johnny was the unexpected Wimbledon champ and then bulled his way back to the USO final before Kaspar stopped him. The USA's top player can make even more of a nuisance of himself this year if he gets it off to a better start.
5. Luc Janin(25, CAN) -- 6,280
Underachiever is no longer a debate; it fits Janin to a T. Management was the problem this past year, and one can only hope the penchant for overplaying is reigned in this season. I'm not holding my breath though. This season and next should he best two campaigns, so he's out of time to figure it out as a meteoric player looking at a swift decline afterwards. If he handles his business, moving up to #3 is the minimum expectation. If he doesn't, he could even plummet. Who knows.
6. Khasan Zakirov(28, UZB) -- 4,645
Not a lot to say about Zhakirov. He's still hanging out as the 'best of the rest' here as he slowly fades. Can't challenge the Top 5 who are all a lot better, but good enough to be relevant and come up with the occasional upset. Six times he made the QFs of a Masters this year, and he went deep at RG and Wimbledon as well.
7. Juan de los Santos(26, ESP) -- 4,195
Santos ran into a bit of a wall this year, losing in all five of his big-event QF appearances. He's just on the downside of his career it seems, having peaked at #6.
8. Tomas Niklas(CZE, 27) -- 3,945
A long fall from #3 to afterthought this year, which appears to have been Niklas' last in the Tour Finals. He was just 53-19 after a career-best 77 wins the year before. Some players grow old gracefully, but that's not the case here. A fine career as a long-time #2, but he never reached the pinnacle. Two Masters titles, and he'll always have the '48 Wimbledon trophy to remember as his finest achievement. Also helped the Czechs win three WTC titles in his early years.
9. Philippe Besson(SUI, 26) -- 3,360
A SF run at last year's AO was followed by solid results the rest of the year, eventually getting the first Swiss in memory in the Top 10. Besson hasn't shown the consistency to prove he can stay here though; that's a big question facing this season.
10. Tiosav Srbulovic(USA, 26) -- 3,325
It seems Srbulovic has been hanging out here forever. Cleans up pretty well in the smaller events, but only makes the rare push in the big ones, often checking out before he should.
11. Jake Jolland(USA, 25) -- 3,295
12. Ariel Borja(USA, 23) -- 3,065
13. Guus Dircx(NLD, 21) -- 3,040
It looks like it's only a matter of time before Borja and Dircx kick out a couple of more experienced players on the first page. With four players in the top dozen, the United States continues to flex its muscles here.
I'm continuing to fall, down to 34k and less than 5k above #2 hugoboy, who manages Kaspar and is obviously doing a good job of it. By this time next year I expect I'll have lost my grip, and won't get it back until at least Mehul retires into training and I can bring up some new studs.
Last edited by Brian Swartz : 04-23-2017 at 12:42 PM.