The 2021 ATP Tour is set to kick into gear with the Australian Open coming up very soon and a clutch of superstars aiming for the title.
The first Grand Slam of the season is scheduled to get underway on the 8th February, with the world’s leading players – minus Roger Federer – gunning for glory.
Novak Djokovic has lifted the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup a record eight times and is the favourite to taste success at Melbourne Park once again.
It’s expected to be a busier year on the ATP Tour than the coronavirus-disrupted 2020 season as countries across the planet get a grip on the pandemic.
We take a look at seven of the brightest and best tennis talents to keep an eye on.
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7. Jannik Sinner
One of the hottest prospects on the ATP Tour, 19-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner is one to watch in 2021.
The Monaco resident ended last year on a high by triumphing in the Sofia Open, becoming the youngest winner of an ATP title since 2008.
He crashed out in the second round of last year’s Australian Open so will be hoping to go further this time.
6. Denis Shapovalov
A man with a point to prove after a mixed 2020 is 21-year-old Denis Shapovalov.
The 2016 Wimbledon Boys’ Singles winner failed to land a title and crashed out of the Australian Open in the first round but he cracked the world rankings top 10 for the first time.
Canadian Shapovalov also raps on the side and released two songs called ‘Night Train’ and ‘Drip’ last year.
5. Stefanos Tsitsipas
A man gaining traction with every year is Greek baseliner Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The 22-year-old is a regular in the top 10 of the ATP rankings and has five career titles, including the 2019 Tour Finals crown.
Tsitsipas reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 2019 but crashed out in the third round last year. Can he bounce back in 2021?
4. Daniil Medvedev
The number four player in the world signed off 2020 in style by winning the Tour Finals.
At just 24 years of age, the Russian baseliner has the world at his feet and is leading the next generation’s charge.
Medvedev’s Grand Slam record is less than impressive, however, with just one US Open final appearance to his name, so winning one of the four big titles has to be the aim for 2021.
3. Dominic Thiem
While 2020 was a year to forget for most people around the globe, Dominic Thiem was enjoying the best season of his career.
The powerful server won his maiden Grand Slam title by scooping the US Open and he also reached the Australian Open final.
Thiem, 27, has firmly established himself as one of the biggest names in the game amid the transition between the old guard and the new on the ATP Tour.
2. Rafael Nadal
One of the greatest players in history, Rafael Nadal had a light schedule in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season.
The French Open was pushed back to the Autumn but Nadal did not let the delay put him off as he won the tournament for the 13th time to draw level with Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slams.
The Spaniard will be aiming to pull clear of Federer in 2021, although he’s only won the Australian Open once in his career – back in 2009 – so don’t be surprised if he doesn’t land his 21st Slam at Melbourne Park.
1. Novak Djokovic
Melbourne is the 33-year-old’s favourite hunting ground so he heads into the Australian Open with many expecting him to land the first Grand Slam of the season.
Novak Djokovic attracted negative headlines in 2020 after helping organise the much-criticised Adria Tour in the absence of ATP Tour events. A host of players tested positive for COVID-19, including himself.
The Serbian superstar has topped the world rankings for more than 300 weeks – the second player to do so after Roger Federer.
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