With Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal winning four of the last five Grand Slam titles, the veterans are understandably grabbing the limelight even in their late 30s. However, with Carlos Alcaraz snatching the remaining Major, the 2023 season is expected to further the emergence of new and young talent.
Recently, tennis analyst Gill Gross classified tennis players who are currently making strides in the sport into tiers based on their current form and results.
The analyst was quick to declare that reigning US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz and 22-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic were certainly a class apart and placed the duo in tier 1 as the best players in the world.
Gross further remarked that Novak Djokovic could even be placed alone in the first tier, but decided to hold off until Carlos Alcaraz got matches under his belt, having not played since November 2022 onwards owing to injury.
“I think, there’s a tier 1. In tier 1, it’s Djokovic and Alcaraz. You could say, maybe Djokovic belongs in a tier by himself. Let’s let Alcaraz play tennis before we do that,” he said.
Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic were the lead trophy earners of 2022, winning one Grand Slam and four other titles each.
In the second tier, the analyst placed World No. 2 Stefanos Tsitsipas alone. While the Greek tennis player has accumulated mixed results at tournaments over the past year, he has proven to be a consistent threat to colleagues.
Featuring in his second Grand Slam final at the 2023 Australian Open has only strengthened Stefanos Tsitsipas’ case while his arch-rivals Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev struggle with their form.
“Tsitsipas is in tier 2. I think he is alone in tier 2. Zverev isn’t there anymore, Medvedev isn’t there right now,” Gill Gross observed.
Meanwhile, the tennis analyst decided to sideline 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal due to his poor run of form in recent months. While Rafael Nadal won four titles in 2022, including the Australian Open and the French Open, the Spaniard suffered a sharp decline in the second half of the season and has earned a mere two wins since his run at the 2022 US Open.
“Let me just tell you right now, I don’t know where to put Nadal. I am not including Nadal in this. He’s in a holding period for me. He doesn’t go in any tier,” Gill Gross said.
Apart from Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gill Gross recognizes several young tennis players as tough contenders
Novak Djokovic is currently the only veteran who is able to tame the fierceness of younger players. Apart from the World No. 1’s dominance, tennis players and analysts alike have admitted that, of late, any player inside the top-20 or top-50 in the world rankings can be considered a serious contender at tournaments.
Gill Gross, however, picked the most consistent of those athletes as part of tier 3 and 4.
“Tier 3? Lots of people. I think you’ve gotta put [Casper] Ruud there. I think you gotta put Felix [Auger-Aliassime] there. I think you gotta put [Holger] Rune there. I think you gotta put [Jannik] Sinner there,” he said, adding, “Next tier – [Taylor] Fritz, [Andrey] Rublev, [Cameron] Norrie.”