Simon Reed

ATP Tour: Players to watch in 2011

Simon Reed

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Rafael Nadal/Roger Federer

The men's players to watch are far more straightforward than the women's: any logical appraisal of what's likely to happen in 2011 has to have Rafael Nadal winning left, right and centre.

I also think that Roger Federer is a better player going into 2011 than he was going into 2010 and, as I've said before, he's got his Mojo back.

Can he beat Rafa in the finals though? That's the big question for 2011 - and my gut feeling says no, he can't.

There have been signs right at the end of 2011 that Roger is dramatically closing the gap, but I think that's indicative of Rafa's changing approach to the ATP calendar.

He's doing what Roger did for years - saving his best performances for the Grand Slams, instead of giving 100 per cent in every single match across the lesser tournaments.

I just can't see Roger winning less than three Grand Slams this year - though I do think Roger will pick up the other.

David Nalbandian

The player I'm expecting to make the biggest inroads in 2011 is Argentina's David Nalbandian, who is currently ranked 27 in the world after a horrible couple of years.

He's had hip surgery and hamstring problems, but he got to a stage in late summer when he was right up there in the group of players behind Federer and Nadal.

He's a top-10 player, and I expect him to regain that status next year, as well as being a real threat at the Grand Slams.

I don't see much change, if any, at the top. There's still a gap at the top between Roger and Rafa and the rest, and then another gap between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic and the rest.

However - if Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic are to pick up a Grand Slam in 2011 - then someone's probably going to have to do them a favour and pick off Rafa or Roger or both, and Nalbandian could well be the man to do it.

Robin Soderling

Soderling had some tremendous moments in 2010, but I'm not sure what the future has in store for him in the coming year.

Robin has knocked off both Rafa and Roger in recent years, but he's still only number five in the world.

He has a massive game, but I wonder if he's got the consistency that the top four all have.

He might be someone who has a big win every now and then against the very best players, but just can't build on those wins.

Tomas Berdych

The same can be said of Berdych, who's currently ranked sixth in the world.

When he reached the Wimbledon final, it could - and perhaps should - have been the making of him, but he's not kicked on at all.

Has he subconsciously found his level? I think he might've, and sixth might be as high as he's going to go - which would be a massive disappointment given the weapons he has at his disposal.

However, given the alarming dearth of young talent breaking through, it's these players who are poised to spring the surprises of 2011.

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