Prospects for British players in 2018

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Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by MrInvisible on Sun 04 Feb 2018, 7:08 pm

Thought I'd try a thread devoted to prospects for British players this year. I expect we will end up with a few other threads devoted to the trials and tribulations of some players individually, but in the meantime thought it'd be nice to pull it altogether in one thread. I'll refer to best and worst case scenarios, though this will be referring to form and not injury (don't want to jinx anyone!).

Andy Murray: obviously the expectations have had to be scaled down over time and he's looking more in terms of just wanting to compete at highest level again rather than being slam contender in most of the slams he enters. Worst case scenario: Struggles for form and confidence on his return, runs into top players too early in slams and masters, finishes year outside top 50 and pondering whether to retire from game. Best case scenario: Practices early on grass, enabling him to reach semis or beyond at Wimbledon, has a creditable US hardcourt summer and picks up one of the Autumn Masters, finishing year comfortably in top 20. I personally think a top 30 finish and a good run at Wimbledon and or one of Masters is in reach. I can also foresee him playing a leading role in keeping GB in Davis Cup World Group.

Kyle Edmund: in contrast to Murray the expectations will have risen since his great start to the year. Best case scenario for me would be going deep at US Open and couple of the hardcourt slams, picking up 1 or 2 of the smaller titles and finishing in top 10 or thereabouts. Worst case scenario would be couple of early slam losses and falling back down to 35-40 in world (which still isn't bad lets face it!). I personally think a top 20-25 finish, finishing year as British no. 1 and a quarter-final run at US Open plus decent showing in couple of Masters is within reach.yea

Dan Evans: Returns from his 1 year ban for cocaine use at end of April. Assuming he won't get many favours with wildcards (and why should he I suppose) he's going to have to come back the hard way - best case scenario would be a great run through qualifying to reach 3rd or 4th round at Wimbledon or US Open, and finishing the year around top 50-60. Worst case scenario would see him struggling in the Challengers and losing in qualifying in ATP tournaments, finishing around 150-200. I personally think that despite his motivation issues before he will come back with point to prove, winning some Challenger tournaments just in time for US summer hardcourt season and finish the year comfortably inside top 100.

Liam Broady: He's a fun player to watch but for me, looks like doing well in the all-too-short grasscourt season (could win couple of rounds at Wimbledon with right draw - I'm assuming he'll get wildcard if he's not ranked high enough) but lacking the consistency and all-round game to prosper on clay and many of the hardcourt tournaments. I reckon he could break into top 150 just but I'm not anticipating a massive rise up the rankings.

Cameron Norrie: There's been a nice trajectory with his upward rise up the rankings in his career so far, and the Davis Cup debut has been v impressive. He's now up to 114 in the rankings, and with a little push, ought to be able to break the top 100 soon and gain direct entry into ATP tournaments. We have had some other players doing v well in Davis Cup (overperforming perhaps) but struggling elsewhere in recent years, namely James Ward, but having played so well on the clay against the top Spanish players, I think Norrie will be better equipped than Ward for consistency throughout the year. I think a top 70-80 finish is within reach, and a run to 3rd round at one of the remaining slams this year.

Jamie Murray: He's won Aus Open and US Open with Bruno Soares before, but not Wimbledon so surely the latter will be a big target. I personally feel the frequent changing of partners over the years has worked against him, so here's hoping he can stay with Soares a little while, as I do think that Wimbledon title is in reach. Murray and Soares ought to reach the end of year London ATP Masters too again, and assuming they do so, a run to the final is a realistic goal.

Johanna Konta: Inconsistency is her biggest enemy - she's had couple of great runs at slams but some really disappointing early losses. This year she ought to be looking to achieve some greater consistency, now she's had time to get used to her new coach. Reaching 4th round at at least 2 of the remaining slams and a top 20 finish ought to be within reach at the very least. I'm not entirely convinced she can win a slam, but she is due another good run, and a top 10 finish could potentially be on the cards if she has a good hardcourt summer.

Heather Watson:She appears to have stagnated a bit of late. Never reached 4th round of a slam - I'm not convinced she'll make this breakthrough this year -she appears to lack the self-belief in big matches, but she ought to remain somewhere between top 50 and top 80 in the rankings.

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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by No name Bertie on Sun 04 Feb 2018, 8:06 pm

A few years ago Katie Swan was named as a very promising junior.  She is 18 so could still make an impression if and when she focuses on tennis:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katie_Swan
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/tennis/2017/01/04/katie-swan-team-tim-henmans-former-coach-david-felgate/

With regard to Andy Murray, I have been bolstered by Alistair Brownlee's full recovery after hip surgery:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/triathlon/42915410
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/triathlon/40837278

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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by sirfredperry on Mon 05 Feb 2018, 9:31 am

GB fans are keeping their fingers crossed that Murray can come back strongly. He seems happy with the surgery and the progress he is making.
   Edmund has got off to a great start already, so should have a good year. Not so sure about Konta. Think she is probably over-ranked at the moment. Reckon she could slip a bit this year.
   Also not sure about Swan taking on David Felgate. Felt Felgate held back Henman who should have ditched him and gone for a big won-a-slam(s) guy as coach. Still, reckon you have to start somewhere with a coach.
   Main trouble with Watson is that if it's a tight finish she invariably loses.

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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by dummy_half on Mon 05 Feb 2018, 11:26 am

Quick thoughts:

Andy Murray - Ranking doesn't really matter. What we are looking for is him to return relatively quickly (I think he's mentioned wanting to be back in time for the grass court season) and for evidence before the end of the season that he is back to playing at a top class level. An MS1000 level win would be good encouragement.

Kyle Edmund - Big chance to push on. Australia showed some clear improvements in his game (serve / backhand), and he should give almost everyone a tough match on hard courts, with a style that should adapt to clay. Should now be seeded in some tournaments, so the opportunity is there to push into the top 20 and become a credible challenger at 250 / 500 level.

Cam Norrie - Following a similar path to Edmund a couple of years ago, in that he has won a few Challengers, and certainly showed heart and no little skill in the DC. Has been climbing the rankings rapidly over the last 18 months, and looks a good bet to get well into the top 100 in the foreseeable future.

Evans - I'd be surprised if he makes it back. While he is one of the most talented 'small' players, he just seems to lack the application to rebuild his ranking to the point where he is back at the level that inspires him.

Jo Konta - Very much a streaky player (actually a comment that can be applied to a lot of the WTA players)), and kind of agree that her ranking around 10 is a bit high; based on a couple of really good tournaments rather than consistent points gathering.

Watson - I think is simply a bit too 'nice' a player. Does lots of things quite well but without the one defining characteristic that would push her into the elite.

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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by Guest82 on Tue 06 Feb 2018, 3:39 pm

Murray - If he can return as 90% of the player he was 18 months ago, he's got a pretty good chance at winning everything. He's always taken a while to hit peak form after injury, I suspect this year we might see him playing top ten level, but not winning much. Perhaps end with a ranking of 20 odd (due to half a season played).

Edmund - can easily make top 20. Suspect he will end the season somewhere between 15 and 30 in the world. If he continues to improve movement and backhand then could be a threat for top ten.

Norrie - Haven't seen loads of him, he won a few challengers in a row towards the end of last season though. Had a few disappointing losses before DC. Looks like he might have the game for clay. Expect him to end up somewhere between 50-100.

Evans - depending on motivation and fitness really. I think will either make it back in top 100 by end of the year by winning Challengers etc. Or will disappear and retire having not found it easy to regain ranking. I hope he makes it as I enjoy watching him play.

Broady - Think his ranking is about right. He's a challenger level player and will likely stay there.

Konta - If she can play like she was a year ago can win slams and be top five. I wonder if we've seen the best of her though.

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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by ListenUp on Tue 06 Feb 2018, 10:43 pm

Looking beyond the above-mentioned players, currently the best young male player is Jay Clarke. He's ranked in the mid-200s and is still a teenager. A year ago he'd just about cracked the top 500, so that's not bad progress.

Among the women, there are quite a few who are several years younger than the familiar names and hopefully they include someone who will make a breakthrough to the upper echelons. The highest ranked is Katie Boulter, currently the GB no. 4 (at 200) (behind Naomi Broady). She is making her Fed Cup debut this week. Katie Swan has already played Fed Cup. There's another Katy (Dunne), Gaby Taylor, Harriet Dart, Maia Lumsden, Freya Christie, Jodie Burrage and more.

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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by No name Bertie on Wed 28 Feb 2018, 2:38 pm

Britain's Cameron Norrie gave world number six Dominic Thiem a scare in Acapulco, succumbing in three hard fought sets: 6-3 5-7 7-5.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/43222865

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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by MrInvisible on Sun 04 Mar 2018, 3:11 pm

Dan Evans back in training and will be eligible to play again end of next month, although as the article points out this will need to be at Futures level...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/43262328

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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by MrInvisible on Thu 14 Jun 2018, 5:22 pm

Couple of snippets of news about British players from Nottingham:

In the mens' tournament, Dan Evans has reached the quarter-finals, having beaten Sergiy Stakhovsky (who once famously beat Federer at Wimbledon).  Evans reached the semi-finals in Surbiton last week, where he beat Melzer and lost to Chardy.  He is playing some decent quality players, which bodes well for his match practice.  Any idea on whether he will get a wildcard at Wimbledon (at least for the qualifying) or not?  I saw Mark Petchey the other day arguing quite strongly that Evans had served his time for 1 mistake and deserves to be given a chance.  

In the womens' Katie Boulter beat Sam Stosur to reach the quarters, which must be the biggest result of her career so far, whilst Konta beat poor old Heather Watson in the battle of the Brits.

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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by No name Bertie on Thu 14 Jun 2018, 11:00 pm

The quality of Sports coverage at the BBC is generally poor (with occasional outbreaks of quality), lacking in relevant information, often too narrowly focussed on certain individuals, often agenda driven, often tabloidy, often littered with elementary mistakes.

Anyway just want to say that Dan Evans has been playing on the ATP challenger circuit and the Nottingham (and Surbiton) event for men is at challenger level.  Given that, the names of those at Challenger level are of high pedigree (Stakhovsky, Melzer, Chardy ...) and Evans is only making the Challenger circuit because of wildcards into the challenger tournament direct, or wildcards into the qualifiers for Challenger tournaments.  His ranking (500 odd) would normally seeing him playing at Futures level.

This is background to the main point I would like to make: I have been advocating Andy Murray gets on the Challenger Circuit first and spends time on it (6 months) before going up to ATP main tour level.  If he can't survive at Challenger (or Future) level - physical health and fitness wise, he will never make it at ATP Main tour level.

This is the same advice I would advocate on all those coming back from major injury (Djokovic, Nishikori, Wawrinka) - none of whom have done particularly well in the main tour - at least the first few months back. Djokovic has already admitted he was too early in coming back (at ATP Main tour level).  

For Nadal (a few times) and Federer (once) they came back from a lengthy injury spell - and bang - they both hit the ground running.  These two ultimately seem to be in perfect tune with their bodies and know exactly what their body needs and when their body is able to take the stresses and strains of main tour tournaments.  These two seem to be the exceptions - and "exception" characterises them in this sport.

With regard to Andy Murray I think he believes he is not yet ready even for Challenger Level - because he was planning to go at Challenger Level for his first tournament back from injury / surgery.

Those of you interested in all sports. David Haye is an example of coming back from injury too early - or at least too early for the level he fought at.

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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by MrInvisible on Fri 15 Jun 2018, 1:56 pm

Good post Bertie, and thanks for clarifying the level of Nottingham - it used to be an ATP tournament and I'd forgotten it had become a Challenger, though clearly the calibre of player in the tournament is pretty decent nevertheless. I do agree it would be a good idea for the top players to test themselves at Challenger level first - not only would this help the players test themselves at an appropriate level but would also be a real shot in the arm for the tournament directors bringing greater crowds to those events and generating more media interest.

You're right - Murray was planning to come back at a Challenger Level tournament, and also, Nishikori did play at least 1 Challenger tournament on his way back. More players need to do likewise though. Meanwhile Dan Evans is through to the semi-finals in Nottingham and according to the Beeb has beaten 4 top 200 players since the start of his comeback.

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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by No name Bertie on Sat 16 Jun 2018, 12:50 am

Some footage of Murray hitting a few balls.  Murray has never been a smooth mover on the tennis courts - he has always seemed a little clunky - so it's impossible to tell whether he is still nursing his hip.  There is talk of Queens and Wimbledon - but I would prefer he had perhaps more realistic expectations.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/44495205

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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat 16 Jun 2018, 12:07 pm

Andy Murray has announced he will play at Queen's.

For me the key thing will be how does he move? If he can get through his match or matches unscathed and in no discomfort it is good news. The next phase will be shaking off the rust then getting match fit and building confidence and re-establishing himself. That will take months before he is back in contention for titles and a distant dream at present. Best of luck Andy.
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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat 16 Jun 2018, 12:09 pm

No name Bertie wrote:Some footage of Murray hitting a few balls.  Murray has never been a smooth mover on the tennis courts - he has always seemed a little clunky - so it's impossible to tell whether he is still nursing his hip.  There is talk of Queens and Wimbledon - but I would prefer he had perhaps more realistic expectations.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/44495205

The expectations are those of his supporters...not his. He'll be the first to realize he isn't coming back for Queen's and Wimbledon as any sort of a contender but more of the first steps on the comeback trail.
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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by dummy_half on Wed 20 Jun 2018, 1:31 pm

Probably no bad thing for Murray to lose in R1 at Queens, especially after a good workout against a strong opponent like Kyrgios. Got some of the match play rust off and will be a good check for how well the hip has recovered without the pressure of backing the performance up today / tomorrow. Provided he doesn't feel a reaction in the hip, I'd be very surprised if he isn't at Wimbledon.

Of what I saw, he looked OK considering the length of time out. Tired in the later stages, and I wonder if he's 2 or 3 kg over his ideal weight (looked a little broad at the waist compared to his peak). Wimbledon and the US hardcourt masters should give him a chance to get back into match practice before the USO and late season MS1000 events.

In other news, Wimbledon wildcards have been announced. No invite for Dan Evans, which I think is right even if he's shown excellent form since his come back.

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Re: Prospects for British players in 2018

Post by MrInvisible on Wed 31 Oct 2018, 2:53 pm

As the year draws to a close, I thought it'd be good to review the Brits this year.

Starting with Murray, obviously, some of us (me for one!) were overly-optimistic on his prospects on returning to tour. Taking 1 step at a time, fingers crossed his off-season training and conditioning goes well and that he can hit the ground running during the pre-Aus Open tournaments at beginning of 2019. He's currently at 261.

Onto Edmund, I said top 20-25 would be good for him, but having got over his wobbles over the summer, he's pushed on up to 13, which is fantastic. Fingers crossed he should keep a top 16 ranking for Aus Open, and if he can perform better in middle part of the season he ought to be in a good position to at least stay in top 30. If he can match his Aus Open exploits from last year he could even close in on top 10, but I think that will be v tough.

For Norrie, a top 90 finish to end of season is a v good achievement, and by gaining direct entry to a few more ATP level tournaments next year he ought to be able to push up bit further, maybe even top 60-70.

Jay Clarke has had a good season and is now at 174, whilst Evans has been v impressive on his return but hasn't had any wildcard favours (not condoning him but compare and contrast with Sharapova who served a ban for doping as opposed to recreational drug use), so finishing just inside top 200 is good for him, considering. He's going to have to battle further up the rankings the hard way but I actually think he's capable of this - I reckon he be within top 100 by end of the year next year.

Broady has dropped out of top 300, and I wonder if he ends up concentrating more on doubles in the future if he continues to fall down the rankings. The 2019 thread on Brit players will also evidently need to include the fast rising Jack Draper.

Onto the women, after a sustained period of early losses and frequent switching of coaches Konta has found a bit of form of late, and is up to 38 in the rankings. Here's hoping for some more consistency in 2019 - she ought to be capable of some much better results on the hardcourts at least. Katie Boulter is now inside top 100, which is a great achievement, considering where she was a few months ago, and she's capable of a big push up the rankings in 2019 whilst Heather Watson is only just clinging on in top 100 - she seems to lack the self-belief to mix it at the top at the moment - maybe she'd benefit from a new coach.

Further down the rankings we have 3 British women between 160 and 170, Gabriella Taylor (20 years old), Harriet Dart (22 years old) and Katie Swan (19 years old). Taylor is half British half Bulgarian and moved to Spain as a teenager to further her tennis prospects.

Dare I say it but British tennis at the top looking in a fairly healthy state at moment - maybe I'll eat my words though when all the Brits are out of Wimbledon by 2nd round next year!



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