Life after Federer, Murray & Nadal: Who will be the ATP top-10 in 2022?

Life after Federer, Murray & Nadal: Who will be in the top-10 in 2022?
Who will be in the top-10 in 2022? (Picture: Getty/Metro)

Predicting the future is never easy, and in the ever-changing world of tennis, it can be pretty tough to have any idea who will be top-10 from one year to the next.

Back in 2013, French publication L’Equipe bravely attempted to look into its boule de cristal to learn who would be the best players on the planet at the start of 2018. Or so they thought.

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Needless to say, it hasn’t quite gone to plan…

L’Equipe’s predicted top-10 looked like this:

L'Equipe's 2018 top-10 rankings prediction

1. Dimitrov
2. Paire
3. Murray
4. Raonic
5. Djokovic
6. Nishikori
7. Tomic
8. Gulbis
9. Janowicz
10. Sock

And here’s how the actual rankings look:

Actual 2018 ATP rankings

1. Nadal
2. Federer
3. Dimitrov
4. Zverev
5. Thiem
6. Cilic
7. Goffin
8. Sock
9. Wawrinka
10. Carreno Busta

12. Djokovic
16. Murray
22. Nishikori
24. Raonic
41. Paire
121. Janowicz
143. Tomic
201. Gulbis

Only two of their predicted top-10 (Grigor Dimitrov and Jack Sock) made it into the actual top-10 for the start of 2018, although, in fairness, injuries have played a big part in Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic’s absence from the list.

The less said about their shouts of Benoit Paire being world No. 2 and Jerzy Janowicz, Bernard Tomic and Ernests Gulbis all cracking the top-10, the better.

Andy Murray looking concerned with his hand to his face
Murray’s injury woes saw him drop outside the top-10 (Picture: Getty)

We’re not here to mock L’Equipe, though, we’re here to join in the fun… And it turns out it’s actually really, really difficult!

Surely, this time around, Nadal and Federer won’t be inside the top-10 in five years’ time… right?!

We will have to wait and see… But here’s our predicted top-10 for 2022.

1. Alexander Zverev (20) – current ranking: 4

Alexander Zverev celebrates while holding his racquet
Zverev looks to be world No. 1 material (Picture: Getty)

Having already hit the dizzying heights of world No. 3 at the tender age of 20, Zverev is proving he can mix it with the best.

With two Masters 1000 titles under his belt, he’s shown he compete with anyone in a best-of-three sets match and as he develops physically, he will find himself going deeper and deeper in Slams.

With Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray all predicting their careers could be done long before 2022, Zverev will have many opportunities to add a few majors to his collection by this stage and has the temperament to be world No. 1.

2. Grigor Dimitrov (26) – current ranking: 3

Grigor Dimitrov holds the ATP Finals trophy aloft
Dimitrov can kick on (Picture: Getty)

The Bulgarian seems to have finally come of age after winning the ATP Finals, and with players peaking between 28 and 30 there could be plenty more to come from the Bulgarian.

He’s spoken of his intentions to add a major to his collection sooner rather than later, and once the top guys drop off, he will not fear anyone in the sport.

3. Denis Shapovalov (18) – current ranking: 51

Denis Shapovalov celebrates with his arms wide open
Shapovalov can rise up the rankings (Picture: AFP/Getty)

A remarkable breakout in the American hard-court swing showed just how much talent the young Canadian has and he should be able to climb the rankings and crack the top-10 in the next three years – assuming he stays injury free.

Once he gets there, he seems level-headed enough to stay there, and who knows, he may even have a Grand Slam title under his belt by that stage.

4. Felix Auger-Aliassime (17) – current ranking: 159

Felix Auger-Aliassime crouches down with his US Open junior trophy
Felix Auger-Aliassime is tipped for the top (Picture: Getty)

Choosing a player outside the top-150 may seem rogue, but Shapovalov’s compatriot seems to be the real deal.

After picking up a couple of Challenger titles, despite his young age, the 17-year-old has surged up the rankings from outside the top-600 this year and has the game to go far beyond that.

It’s possibly ambitious to see him sitting inside the top-five at this stage, but where’s the fun in being conservative?

5. Dominic Thiem (23) – current ranking: 5

Dominic Thiem clenches fist in celebration
Thiem is already a member of the top-five (Picture: AFP/Getty)

Another who has already cracked the top-five at a young age, Thiem seems the player most likely to benefit from Nadal’s eventual absence in the clay-court season.

A run to the semi-finals of Roland Garros and a win over Nadal in Rome show just how good he is on the surface, and in five years’ time, he will hope to have at least lifted the title in Roland Garros once.

Improvement is needed elsewhere, and a shorter schedule is surely a must, but Thiem will hope to be in-and-around the top-five.

6. Nick Kyrgios (22) – current ranking: 21

Nick Kyrgios looks surprised at a decision
Will Kyrgios get his act together? (Picture: EPA)

The unpredictable Aussie could just as easily have retired as he could be world No. 1 by this stage in his career – it’s really quite tough to say which way his professional life will go.

With such an abundance of talent and the opportunity to further mature, he should be a dead cert for the top-10 by this stage in his career, but nothing is ever certain with Kyrgios.

He could easily be higher (or a lot lower) but we’ll stick him in the middle of the road for now…

7. Novak Djokovic (30) – current ranking: 12

Novak Djokovic roars and pumps his fist
Will Djokovic still be in the top-10? (Picture: AFP/Getty)

The Serb has outlined his plans to play into his 40s and he’s likely to be the only active member of the ‘Big Four’ at this stage (assuming Federer ever stops…!).

His attention to detail with diet and lifestyle should stand him in good stead to keep going for a few more years, but it will be a tough ask for him to sit atop of the rankings.

He could easily be higher but he could just have easily suffered an injury and been forced to end his career, so we’ll play it fairly conservatively and stick the 12-time Grand Slam champion in at No. 7.

8. Andrey Rublev (20) – current ranking: 39

Andrey Rublev celebrates by clenching his fist in the air
Rublev has enjoyed a good season (Picture: Getty)

Another to have shown he’s full of potential in 2018, the 20-year-old has already cracked the top-40 and reached the quarter-finals of the US Open.

There are still erratic parts of his game, but he’s capable of the top-10 and beyond if he keeps improving.

9. David Goffin (26) – current ranking: 7

David Goffin clenches his fist after winning a point
Goffin has had a good year (Picture: AFP/Getty)

He may not have the most glamorous game on the ATP Tour but Goffin has shown real improvement in 2017 and could well have been ranked even higher had he not suffered an incredibly unfortunate injury at Roland Garros.

By this stage, he’ll be 32 and his career will be closer to winding down, but he should have more longevity than the likes of Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori and may well still find himself in-and-around the top-10.

10. Hyeon Chung (21) – current ranking: 59

Hyeon Chung holds up the Next Gen Finals trophy
Chung won the Next Gen Finals (Picture: Getty)

The South Korean impressed at the Next Gen Finals against his peers and he’s enjoyed some impressive results against Zverev, Goffin, Gael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut this season.

Although he’s shy and unassuming, he’s a real fighter on court and looks destined for the top-10.

So here is our forecasted top-10 for 2022:'s predicted 2022 top-10…

1. Zverev
2. Dimitrov
3. Shapovalov
4. Auger-Aliassime
5. Thiem
6. Kyrgios
7. Djokovic
8. Rublev
9. Goffin
10. Chung

We look forward to being mercilessly trolled by you all in five years’ time when all 10 are hopelessly wrong and Nadal and Federer are still top of the rankings…

Feel free to send your top-10 suggestions on Twitter to me (@BellshawGeorge) or Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) or just comment below…

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