Power Rankings: Murray up to No. 2, Kyrgios rises ahead of French Open
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.
Check out the newest edition of SI Tennis Power Rankings below as the players gear up for the 2015 French Open.
Since completing the Indian Wells/Miami double on hard courts, Djokovic went 10-0 on clay and extended his win-streak to 22 matches, with wins in Monte Carlo and Rome. The Serb hasn't take a wrong step this year. If he wins the French Open to complete his career Grand Slam, it may be time to start talking about the Djokovic Calendar Slam, too.
Murray hasn't lost to anyone other than Djokovic since February. Since skipping Monte Carlo to get married, he went 10-0 on clay—statistically his worst surface—and won two titles in Munich and Madrid for a whopping 1,340 points, second on clay only to Djokovic. He stunned everyone in the Spanish capital when he outplayed Rafael Nadal to win his first ATP Masters 1000 on dirt. Not only has he built momentum for Paris, where he was a semifinalist last year, but his prospects for Wimbledon are looking strong as well.
Nishikori lost just twice on clay, to Djokovic and Murray, and successfully defended his title at the Barcelona Open. He tallied 1,040 points on clay, putting him fourth behind Nadal. It's been a solid, consistent year for Nishikori. He's made the quarterfinals or better at eight of his nine tournaments this year.
After a strong hard court season, it was a mixed bag on clay. He took early losses to Gael Monfils (Monte Carlo) and Nick Kyrgios (Madrid) while winning the Istanbul Cup and advancing to the Rome final, earning 950 points. It wasn't his best clay season but with straight-set wins over Tomas Berdych and Stan Wawrinka in Rome, he's played himself into good form ahead of the French Open.
His consistency is a double-edged sword. Berdych has made the semifinals or better at seven of his nine events yet has zero titles to show for it. A reliable winner before the weekend, Berdych has an incredible knack for folding against the ATP's Big Four. He lost to Djokovic, Federer and Nadal at this year's clay-court Masters, earning 1,140 points. The losses are ugly and don't inspire much confidence of a breakthrough.
The Spaniard played four events to rack up 1,185 points but goes into the French Open without a European clay title for the first time in his career. His losses came to quality players in Djokovic, Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Fabio Fognini, but needless to say he has not been playing at the level that earned him the nickname as "The King of Clay."
The elder Spaniard made the quarterfinals or better at all four European clay events, including the semifinals in Barcelona and Rome. The Barcelona Open was his big lost opportunity (he fell to Pablo Andujar) but Ferrer's strong season continues.
Can one match rectify months of ineptitude? Since winning the title in Rotterdam at the beginning of February, Wawrinka failed to win back-to-back matches for over two months. He finally snapped that streak in Rome and then went on to find his best form to beat Nadal in straight sets in the quarterfinals. Was the Nadal match an outlier or a sign of things to come? We'll have to wait and see. But with virtually no points to defend in Paris, he could make a surge back up the rankings.
The enigmatic Frenchman chalked up a win over Federer in Monte Carlo en route to the semifinals but played just Bucharest and Madrid after that, losing to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Marcel Granollers, respectively.
The Canadian takes a Power Rankings hit simply because of injury. He was able to make the quarterfinals of both Monte Carlo and Madrid virtually on one—it helps when you can serve bombs—and then skipped Rome to have surgery to repair nerve damage in his foot. He's questionable for the French Open.
He's at No. 14 in the ATP Race to London, which feels high given the number of surprising or disappointing losses he's had this season. As the No. 2 seed in Istanbul he lost to Pablo Cuevas 6–2, 6–4 in the semifinals. He lost to Monfils in Monte Carlo and Nadal in Madrid, also in straight sets. In Rome he took a third-set bagel from Fabio Fognini.
The Spaniard is playing his best tennis tennis in his 30s. He won his second title of the season at the Bucharest Open and is up to No. 11 in the ATP Race to London. When his big-hitting game is on he can be a tough out on clay. Just ask Stan Wawrinka.
The numbers may not back it up, but Isner is playing some of his best clay-court tennis year. Building on the momentum gained on the U.S. hard courts, Isner took Nadal to three sets in Monte Carlo and Berdych to three sets in Madrid. He lost to Nadal again, this time in straight sets, in Rome. A better draw and Isner may have done some serious damage the last few weeks. A good draw at the French Open and he can shake things up in Paris.
The Aussie returned from an ankle injury to have a surprisingly strong clay season. He made his first ATP final at the Estoril Open and followed that up with a big upset win over Federer in Madrid (the 20-year-old is now 2–0 against Nadal and Federer). All that work means he'll be seeded in Paris.
You never know what you're going to get on any given day from the Italian, but he's now beaten Nadal two consecutive times on clay this year, first at the Rio Open and now at the Barcelona Open.
The Frenchman has had a terrible clay season and had to retire in Rome with a neck injury.
He returned from a long injury layoff to win the Estoril Open. He failed to win back-to-back matches in Madrid and Rome.
The Argentine had a great run to the Istanbul Open final but keeps running up against Federer, losing to him twice in his four clay tournaments.
He took two losses to Kei Nishikori on clay, one to Andy Murray, and a tough three-set loss to Thomaz Bellucci in Rome (Bellucci went on to give Djokovic an upset scare in the next round). All in all, not a bad run.
If not for Murray, what would Kohlschreiber's clay season have actually looked like? He took Murray to three sets in the Munich final and then a few days later in Madrid. His only other complete match loss came to Ferrer in Barcelona.