With the 2013 ATP season now behind us, it is time to survey the players who made the most impact on the Emirates ATP Rankings. Young up-and-comers, veterans witnessing career resurgences and elite competitors regaining lost glory. Players such as Rafael Nadal, Vasek Pospisil and Grigor Dimitrov had made significant strides in 2013 and left promising expectations for the upcoming World Tour season.
Here are the biggest movers of the 2013 ATP season:
Spain’s Rafael Nadal certainly made the biggest impact on the tour, with his remarkable comeback season that will go down as one of the greatest in the history of the sport. After falling to as low as No. 5 after a knee injury sidelined him for the second half of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, Nadal returned to the tour and began his magnificent run that saw him compile a 75-7 record on the tour, with 10 ATP Tour titles including two Grand Slams and five Masters 1000 titles. He also earned over $12 million in prize money this season, the highest on the tour. Rafa usurped the No. 1 ranking from Novak Djokovic following his US Open victory over the Serb and finished the year with the ranking after reaching the finals of the World Tour Finals.
Nadal will need to defend quite a few ATP points in the upcoming season and with Djokovic hot on his heels, he will need to continue his winning ways to stay on top. Rafa has already stated that he is aiming to challenge the defending champion for the Australian Open title and it will be interesting to see how they will match up on that surface in the upcoming season.
Swiss star Roger Federer also made a significant move in the ATP rankings but sadly it was in the wrong direction. After regaining the No. 1 ranking following his 17th Grand Slam title win at Wimbledon last year, Federer dropped to a low of No. 7, before closing out the 2013 season ranked 6th on the world. The dramatic drop in the rankings is the result of a season riddled with injuries, disappointing results and missed opportunities. Roger failed to capture more than one title this season for the first time since 2002 and faced shocking exits in the second round of the Wimbledon Championships and the fourth round of the US Open. Apart from the early exits, Federer also suffered six surprising losses to players ranked outside the top 10 such as Sergiy Stakhovsky, Tommy Robredo and Daniel Brands.
While his season has generally been a sour one, Federer showed promising signs over the past few weeks, when he reached the finals in Basel and the semi-finals in both Paris and London. During that period, he also picked up two wins over World No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro, which are arguably his biggest wins all season. The 17-time Grand Slam champion has stated that his goal is to win five ATP World Tour Titles next season and it will be interesting to see if he is capable of doing so.
Unlike his Swiss counterpart, Stanislas Wawrinka has had what he had dubbed as a “dream” season in 2013. Wawrinka began the year ranked at No. 17 but showed sparks of brilliance at the Australian Open, when he took then-World No. 1 Novak Djokovic to five sets in their third round encounter. The match stands as one of the best in 2013 and was a sign of things to come for ‘Stan the Man’. He continued to climb the rankings throughout the year as he would reach four ATP Tour finals, eight semi-finals and pick up nine wins over top ten competition. The Swiss no. 2 also reached his first ever Grand Slam semi-final, when he met eventual champion Novak Djokovic at the US Open. He finished the year ranked at a career-high of No. 8.
It has been a great year for rising Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. The 22-year old has had a breakthrough year in 2013 as he won his maiden ATP Tour title in remarkable fashion as he rallied from a set down to defeat World no. 3 David Ferrer to win the If Stockholm Open. With the pressure of winning his first title now behind him, Dimitrov has been able to focus on building on his new-found confidence and even challenged idol Roger Federer for the first time on the tour. While he lost the match, he did play a competitive contest and left fans with high expectations for the upcoming season. The Bulgarian began the year ranked No. 41 on the Emirates rankings but has since risen to a high of No. 22 before closing out the season ranked 23rd.
One of the biggest movers on the ATP rankings in 2013 is undoubtedly Ernests Gulbis. The sharp-tongued Latvian began the year ranked No. 138 and has since embarked on a spectacular season to close out the year ranked 114 spots higher at No. 24. It was a remarkable comeback for Gublis, who had a disastrous 2012 but managed to recover this year to win two tour titles this season, the first in Delray Beach followed by his win in St Petersburg later in the season. He had several other notable wins including his victory over British no. 1 Andy Murray to reach the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final in Montreal.
23-year-old Vasek Pospisil has had an astonishing season highlighted by an inspiring pre-US Open run in Montreal, where he defeated John Isner, Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych before losing to Milos Raonic in the finals. He followed that up with impressive performances in the Davis Cup semi-final tie against Serbia, where he won the doubles rubber with partner Daniel Nestor. He reached the semi-finals in Basel, where he lost to Roger Federer in a competitive three set contest. The Canadian controlled a portion of the match and had a variety of opportunities to win but the Swiss’ experience eventually vanquished the challenge. Over the past three months, Pospisil has skyrocketed in the ATP rankings to reach a career-high of No. 32 after starting the year ranked No. 128.