ATP 2018 Scouting Report

With the new season already upon us, here’s a look at the prospects of the top ATP players.

Rafael Nadal

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Ended 2017: Retiring during his last two tournaments in Bercy and Paris due to a knee injury.
Starting 2018: Already pulled out of his first two planned events in Abu Dhabi and Brisbane due to his ongoing knee injury, but intends to play the Australian Open.
Coaching Changes: With Toni Nadal no longer traveling with Rafa, Carlos Moya will go from being co-coach to head coach on Team Nadal.
Prospects: As he once again deals with knee issues, it’s hard to see Nadal maintaining his number one ranking through 2018. Rafa has six titles to defend from 2017, so let’s hope he finds better health as the year progresses.

Roger Federer

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Ended 2017: After winning his seventh title of the year in his hometown of Basel, he suffered just his fifth loss of the year in the semifinals of the ATP Finals, being upset by David Goffin.
Starting 2018: Playing the Hopman Cup, teaming with Belinda Bencic, as preparation for the Australian Open.
Coaching Changes: None.
Prospects: Much like Nadal, it seems unlikely he’ll be able to replicate his outstanding 2017 results so late in his career. But if Federer remains healthy, he should remain a significant threat at the big tournaments. He’ll likely be favored to defend his Australian Open title, especially if the courts in Melbourne play as quickly as they did in 2017.

Novak Djokovic

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Ended 2017: Did not play after retiring during the Wimbledon quarterfinals due to an elbow injury.
Starting 2018: Looking for some match play after being inactive for 6 months. Unclear when he will start his season.
Coaching Changes: After joining Djokovic’s team for a few tournaments in 2017, Andre Agassi will continue coaching Djokovic this year. Novak has also added recently-retired Radek Stepanek as a coach, and hired tennis data expert Craig O’Shannessy.
Prospects: After six months of rest for his body and mind, and with a new team in place, I was ready to expect big things from Djokovic in 2018. However, he just pulled out of Abu Dhabi and Doha due to recurring pain in his right elbow, which puts a big question mark on his upcoming season.

Andy Murray

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Ended 2017: Did not play following Wimbledon due to a hip injury.
Starting 2018: Playing his first tournament in 6 months in Brisbane, followed by the Australian Open.
Coaching Changes: Ivan Lendl will not be part of Team Murray in 2018, leaving Jamie Delgado as his primary coach.
Prospects: There are reports that Murray’s hip is still not 100%. In addition, Andy has never won a major without Ivan Lendl as his coach. He’s also not the type of player to immediately return to top form after a long layoff. 2018 may be a challenging year for the British number one.

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