Power Rankings: Venus jumps into Top 10, Wawrinka steals No. 3 spot
Welcome to SI Tennis’ Power Rankings – a new recurring feature on SI.com that goes beyond the regular ATP and WTA rankings to grade and rank the top 20 men's and women's players by more than just points earned on tour. While tournament results and quality of play are considered, SI Tennis’ Power Rankings also take into account those unquantifiable metrics that make the sport so compelling—everything from injuries and meltdowns to big upsets and recent title wins, as well as other subjective assessments. Each edition of SI Tennis Power Rankings is intended to capture a more seasonal and timely portrait of the current tennis rankings.
A tight loss to Ivo Karlovic at the Qatar Open doesn’t change anything. He’s a four-time champion at the Australian Open and the best hard-court player in the world.
Beating Raonic in a tough three-setter to win the Brisbane International showed he’s as clear-headed and confident now as he was at the end of the 2014 season. But the question remains: Can he maintain the focus and fitness in a best-of-five format at the Slams?
Wawrinka finished 2014 strong and avoided the heavy exhibition circuit in the off-season, opting to rest instead. He started the season with a title at the Chennai and goes into Melbourne in great shape to defend his Slam title.
Nadal has played just eight matches since Wimbledon last year. A finalist at the Australian Open in 2014, he comes to Melbourne with question marks on his form. But we’ve seen this before from Nadal. Many doubted him during last year’s clay season, yet he went on to win the French Open. It just takes one match to turn things around for him.
Raonic has never played better than he did to make the final of Brisbane, losing in three sets to Federer. The work he put in on his serve over the off-season was evident, as was his offensive mindset off the ground. This comes after a clutch performance at the Paris Indoors last fall that saw him beat Federer to make the final.
Don’t look now, but Murray hasn’t lost a match in 2015. He’s 5-0 in unofficial matches, with wins over Feliciano Lopez and Nadal at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, and he went 3-0 in singles at Hopman Cup. The only smudge on his season's start: lingering pain in his left shoulder.
Ferrer kicked off his season with a strong run to the Qatar Open final, gutting out a tough win over Ivo Karlovic 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(4) in the semis and then beating Tomas Berdych for the title.
Of the Next Generation group of players, Nishikori is the one who has proven he has the goods to beat any one of the ATP’s best. He looked impressively fit and sharp to start the season in Brisbane.
The Flying Frenchman was playing well above his ranking during the second half of 2014 and punctuated his strong season with a dominant win over Federer at Davis Cup. He'll be well rested for the Australian Open.
The blowout loss to Federer in the Brisbane semifinals didn’t inspire much confidence. But he gets the bump up due to Marin Cilic’s drop.
The Czech hasn’t beaten a Top 8 player since last year’s Australian Open and hasn’t taken a set off of one since February.
He outplayed his ranking for the last five months of the 2014 season and started this season by making the Chennai Open semifinals.
Only a handful of players had a better fall season than Robredo, who came within match points -- twice! -- of beating Murray in two finals. He withdrew from Auckland with a leg strain last week.
The serve has been clicking for Karlovic. In his penultimate tournament of 2014 he took Federer to three sets in the Basel semifinals and started this season by upending Djokovic in Doha and nearly beating Ferrer in the semifinals.
Has rebounded from an early Brisbane loss to make the Auckland semifinals.
Lost to Bedene in the Chennai semifinals to start the season and was forced to retire in Auckland due to illness.
He's beaten just one Top 40 player (Joao Sousa) since making the French Open semifinals. Lost to Jiri Vesely in his first match of the year in Auckland.
His actual ranking is artificially deflated due to skipping the Australian Open last year.
After a massive grass court season, Lopez hasn't strung together back-to-back wins in his last four tournaments. He started 2015 with a straight set loss in his opening match in Chennai.
The U.S. Open champion won’t play the Australian Open due to a lingering right shoulder injury and hasn't played a tournament in 2015.
Fabio Fognini: He hasn't won back-to-back matches in his last eight events and went 0-3 at Hopman Cup, losing to John Isner, Vasek Pospisil, and Adam Pavlasek. That's terrible.
Jo-Wifried Tsonga: He hasn’t beaten a Top 20 player since winning the Rogers Cup last summer and withdrew from the Australian Open with an arm injury.
Gilles Simon: Currently on a four match losing streak. Started his 2015 season with a straight set loss to No. 119 James Duckworth in Brisbane.
Serena's start to the season left a lot to be desired after losses to Eugenie Bouchard and Agnieszka Radwanska at Hopman Cup, and she goes into Melbourne without a firm grip on the No. 1 ranking. But she’s still the woman to beat.
Sharapova came close to grabbing the No. 1 ranking at the end of 2014 and came out guns blazing in 2015, playing top-level tennis to win the Brisbane International.
After a stunning march to the WTA Finals to end the season Halep started 2015 by winning the Shenzhen Open.That should settle any questions surrounding her surprising off-season coaching change. For now.
Ivanovic's run to the Brisbane final, where she lost to Sharapova, had to settle some nerves at the start of the season. Now to see if she can make good on her promise of playing consistently at the Slams.
Kvitova's had a solid start to the season so far, making the Shenzhen semifinals and now the Sydney International final. In the off-season she hired Li Na’s former fitness trainer and now looks in good form to make a run at the title in Melbourne. The only reason she doesn't beat out Ivanovic for the No. 4 slot is because she has yet to play in her first title match of 2015.
On one hand Radwanska got a big boost of confidence after helping Poland win Hopman Cup with a three-set win over Serena. On the other, she took a three set loss to Garbine Muguruza in Sydney.
Venus looked sharp on her way to winning the title in Auckland with a loss of just one set. Her win over Wozniacki in the final was her first over a Top 10 player since she beat her sister in Montreal last summer.
You have to admire Kerber’s resiliency. Through two tournaments in 2015 she’s already played four three-set matches, winning three of them. And one ended at 3:10 a.m. But the German hasn’t beaten a Top 10 player since Sharapova at Wimbledon.
Wozniacki looked in good form in Auckland before getting blasted off the court by Venus Williams in the final. Then she was forced to retire in Sydney with a wrist injury. Will the injury stall her momentum?
The Canadian had mixed results to start the season at Hopman Cup. She got destroyed by Lucie Safarova but turned it around to beat Serena and Flavia Pennetta. Now to see whether Bouchard can cope with the pressure of defending her semifinal points in Melbourne.
10. Karolina Pliskova—Few players have been as consistently good as the young Czech over the last six months. She has beaten Ivanovic, Kerber and Victoria Azarenka in that span, made four finals, and won two titles. And she'll be going for a third in Sydney on Friday.
The Russian lefty hasn’t done much since making the U.S. Open semifinals. She’s won back-to-back matches just once in her last five events. But Makarova has always been able to summon something special in Melbourne.
Cornet, the woman who somehow went 3-0 against Serena in 2014, got a nice win over Radwanska at Hopman Cup to start her season.
The sole one-handed backhand in the Top 20, Suarez Navarro can be counted on to deliver solid results. She began her 2015 season by making the quarterfinals in both Brisbane and Sydney.
After a breakout 2014, Muguruza started her season with wins over Radwanska and Sara Errani before losing 6-4 in the third to Kerber.
The perennial bridesmaid, Safarova has played some really fine tennis only to get nipped in the end. She took Serena to three sets at Hopman Cup and did the same to Stosur in Sydney. Despite the results, she’s hitting the ball well.
After finishing her WTA season with a title at the Tournament of Champions, Petkovic split with coach Eric Van Harpen and is now working with her father. She's winless to start 2015, with losses to No. 52 Kaia Kanepi in Brisbane and No. 68 Jarmila Gajdosova in Sydney.
Aside from making the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open, Pennetta’s results have been lukewarm since winning the biggest title of her career at Indian Wells last year. She must have been stunned to bagel Serena in her first set of the season at Hopman Cup.
The Ukrainian started her season by making the Brisbane semifinals and beat Kerber along the way, before losing to Sharapova.
The Czechs are doing under-the-radar really well. Zahlavova Strycova has been solidly consistent.
Dominika Cibulkova: Last year’s Australian Open finalist has been a non-factor for the last nine months.
Jelena Jankovic: She hasn’t strung together a pair of wins since the U.S. Open and began her 2015 by getting bageled by Ajla Tomljanovic.
Sara Errani: She has won just one match since the U.S. Open. Well, at least there’s doubles!
Sam Stosur: For some, home court advantage can be a massive boost. And then there’s Stosur.