The top 10 tennis players in the world right now

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Tennis season is hilarious, if you think about it. We’re one-fourth of the way through the year, with one Slam in the books. And now that we’ve got a pretty solid read for who’s playing better than whom, we are completely changing the surface of play — from hard to clay — for the next couple of months!

Mind you, this is a great thing. The athletes are professionals! Make things difficult! Keep things fresh! But it renders players’ end-of-March form only semi-relevant.

Let’s take stock of said form all the same. With the clay-court season upon us, let’s look at which tennis players have been putting together the best results in recent weeks and months. When I couldn’t decide between two players, I used clay prowess as a future-proofing tiebreaker.

On both the men’s and women’s tours right now, there’s a major “top three and everyone else” vibe, albeit with a dangerous and intriguing No. 4. Here are the top 10 from both tours.

Women

1. Iga Swiatek
WTA ranking: 1
Tennis Abstract ranking: 1
2023 record (vs. top 50): 16-4 (9-4)

Despite straight-set losses to Barbora Krejcikova in Dubai and to Elena Rybakina in both Australia and Indian Wells — and despite a rib injury that kept her out of the Miami field — the world No. 1 gets the No. 1 spot here too. She has won 41 of her past 45 matches on clay and she has three titles to defend in the coming weeks (Stuttgart, Rome and Roland Garros). She’ll be favored in any tournament she enters between now and Wimbledon.

Swiatek, 21, has had an odd 2023. The defending French Open and US Open champ has played in 20 matches, and none of them have gone to three sets. Nineteen of the 32 sets she won have been via a 6-2 score or worse … as have five of the eight sets she lost. Either everything clicks or nothing clicks. She is probably still the best player in the world, but her bad moments of late have been much worse than those of the other players near the top. What does that mean for clay season? We’ll find out.

2. Aryna Sabalenka
WTA ranking: 2
Tennis Abstract ranking: 3
2023 record (vs. top 50): 20-3 (14-2)

Her serve still disappears at times, as it did through much of 2022. But aside from a hamstring issue that forced her to pull out of this weeks’ Charleston Open, that’s just about the only thing slowing her down. Since the US Open, she is 3-4 when her double-fault rate pops above 10% and a whopping 27-4 when it doesn’t.

The 24-year-old has reached at least the quarterfinals of five of her past seven WTA 1000s and at least the semis of four of her past six Slams. We’ve seen plenty of chaos in women’s Slams over the past few years, but Sabalenka is becoming a second-week mainstay. She has yet to make it past the third round in five French Opens, but her 2021 Madrid title and 2022 Italian Open semifinal appearance show that she has the clay chops to make a Roland Garros run at some point once she is healthy.

3. Elena Rybakina
WTA ranking: 7
Tennis Abstract ranking: 2
2023 record (vs. top 50): 21-5 (16-4)

You could make the case that there should be a three-way tie for first here, but that’s no fun.

Rybakina doesn’t always make things easy on herself — the defending Wimbledon champ won 11 straight matches during the Sunshine Swing, went to three sets in four of them and played in six tiebreakers. But she has quickly become one of the most unflappable players on the women’s tour.

She beat both Swiatek and Sabalenka in Indian Wells, then took down Jessica Pegula in Miami. She reached the finals of three of her past five tournaments. Starting with the Wimbledon final, she has won six of eight against top-10 players, and she beat Swiatek twice in straight sets. That’s ridiculously good, and it feels like the 23-year-old is only going to get better.

4. Petra Kvitova
WTA ranking: 10
Tennis Abstract ranking: 6
2023 record (vs. top 50): 17-5 (11-5)

Is this an overreaction to Kvitova’s stirring Miami title run? Maybe. But the 33-year-old future Hall-of-Famer looked absolutely dynamite there, dropping only one set and sweeping both Belinda Bencic and Rybakina to win her ninth WTA 1000 title. She is 12-3 since losing to Coco Gauff in Doha.

Big hitters had a moment during the Sunshine Swing, with Rybakina beating Sabalenka in one final and Kvitova beating Rybakina in the other. So it only makes sense that one of the game’s most celebrated big hitters is also having a great run. However, Kvitova has hit a wall in Slams of late: The two-time Wimbledon champ hasn’t made it past the fourth round in her past 10 tries.

5. Jessica Pegula
WTA ranking: 3
Tennis Abstract ranking: 4
2023 record (vs. top 50): 20-6 (12-6)

The 29-year-old Pegula might be the least likely player in the world to suffer an upset (or second-least behind Swiatek), and there is absolutely skill in consistently showing up and handling your business. But she has also lost 14 of her last 18 matches against top-10 opponents, and she is 6-14 all-time against the players ahead of her on this list. When they’re in brilliant form — and at least three of them are at the moment — it’s difficult for her to match up.

6. Barbora Krejcikova
WTA ranking: 12
Tennis Abstract ranking: 10
2023 record (vs. top 50): 15-6 (10-6)

One of the cleanest ball strikers in the world, the 2021 French Open champ has found her rhythm and again looks the part of a top-10 player, perhaps even top-five, after an injury-plagued 2022. She beat four of the top five players on this list to win Dubai — after which she leaped from 30th to 16th in the WTA rankings — and lost only to Sabalenka in both stops of the Sunshine Swing.

7. Maria Sakkari
WTA ranking: 9
Tennis Abstract ranking: 11
2023 record (vs. top 50): 15-7 (10-6)

After reaching five finals last season, Sakkari’s 2023 run has been solid but unspectacular — three semifinals, mixed with upset losses at the Australian Open and in Miami. She doesn’t have a ton of clay-court points to defend and could be ready to rise in the rankings again, but that would require Slam success: After reaching two semis in 2021, she hasn’t made it past the fourth round of her past five Slams.

8. Coco Gauff
WTA ranking: 6
Tennis Abstract ranking: 9
2023 record (vs. top 50): 15-5 (5-5)

Gauff’s progress has hit an interesting barrier at the moment: She is almost unbeatable against anyone but the game’s top players, but she has also lost nine of her past 11 against players in the top 20, six of seven against the top 10. She has a lot of rankings points to defend at the French Open (where she reached the finals a year ago). Now would be a good time to rediscover her elite form.

9. Belinda Bencic
WTA ranking: 11
Tennis Abstract ranking: 7
2023 record (vs. top 50): 16-5 (6-4)

The 26-year-old is posting the best statistics over her career, holding serve 79% of the time (fifth-best on tour) and breaking 34% (second-best of her career). Her 16-5 record comes with a caveat, though: She is 6-4 in Slams or WTA 1000s and 10-1 everywhere else. She has flashed greatness through the years, winning Olympic gold in 2021 and reaching the US Open quarters three times (the semis once). But she has yet to pass the fourth round in any other major, and she reached the semis of just one of her past 23 1000s.

10. Marketa Vondrousova
WTA ranking: 83
Tennis Abstract ranking: 16
2023 record (vs. top 50): 13-6 (8-3)

Honestly, this spot seemed destined to go to Bianca Andreescu, who looked in top form in Miami, but another injury has sidelined her for a bit. So instead we’re acknowledging the work of another player with major success — 2019 French Open finalist, 2021 Olympic silver medalist — and a long injury history. She went 6-2 with three top-20 wins at Indian Wells and Miami.

Nearly made the list: Caroline Garcia, Ons Jabeur, Madison Keys, Karolina Muchova and Donna Vekic. Garcia and Jabeur are still fourth and fifth in the WTA rankings, but Garcia is just 5-5 against top-50 opponents this year, and Jabeur has lost four matches to players outside the top 50. They’re currently searching for top-10 form.


Men

1. Novak Djokovic
ATP ranking: 1
Tennis Abstract ranking: 1
2023 record (vs. top 50): 15-1 (10-1)

He is 20-1 in his past five tournaments. While battling a muscle tear in his hamstring during the Australian Open, he dropped one set in seven matches. His return numbers aren’t quite as good thus far in 2023, but he has made up for it by serving brilliantly and going 7-2 in tiebreakers. When he plays — and with COVID restrictions loosening worldwide in the coming months, he should play a full tour moving forward — he is still the final boss in the video game.

Djokovic’s vaccination status and Carlos Alcaraz’s winter injury have deprived us of matchups between these two. Alcaraz won their only encounter — a three-setter in the Madrid semis last year — but tennis will be a lot better off when they’re facing each other more often. That should happen in the coming weeks.

2. Carlos Alcaraz
ATP ranking: 2
Tennis Abstract ranking: 3
2023 record (vs. top 50): 18-2 (7-2)

Current members of the ATP top 10 not named Alcaraz have broken serve 24.1% of the time in 2023. Alcaraz, 19, is currently at 36.5%. Even if a non-rusty Djokovic and fully-fit Rafael Nadal were involved, Alcaraz might be the best (and fastest) return man in the game. He entered four tournaments since returning from injury — won two (Buenos Aires and Indian Wells), lost one final (to Norrie in Rio, with help from a slight injury) and one semifinal (to Sinner in Miami). He won 38 sets and lost seven.

He missed 3½ months of action and immediately came back statistically stronger than he was in 2022, when he won his first career Slam (US Open) and two ATP 1000s (Miami and Madrid) and reached No. 1 in the world.

Good gracious. With Djokovic once again missing the Sunshine Swing, there’s a very good case to make for Alcaraz being No. 1 here. But Djokovic is still Djokovic.

3. Daniil Medvedev
ATP ranking: 4
Tennis Abstract ranking: 2
2023 record (vs. top 50): 29-3 (19-3)

He was never totally gone, but it’s safe to say that Medvedev is back. In a span from 2019 to 2022, the 27-year-old reached the finals of four of six hard-court Slams and swept Djokovic to win the 2021 US Open. He was well on his way to earning “Best on hard courts, even when Djokovic is allowed in the country” status when he blew a two-set lead in the 2022 Australian Open final against Nadal and, with help from a spring hernia operation, fell into a season-long funk. He fell in the fourth round at the US Open and in the third in Australia in January.

Since Melbourne however, he has won in Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai and Miami and reached the finals in Indian Wells. He swept Djokovic in Dubai and Jannik Sinner in Miami.

The surface now changes, and Medvedev has yet to solve clay. But he has at least pushed 2022 into the rearview, and he is back to where he was in 2021.

4. Jannik Sinner
ATP ranking: 9
Tennis Abstract ranking: 4
2023 record (vs. top 50): 21-5 (7-5)

Back in the 1960s, in the days of separated pro and amateur tennis tours, a select group of pros would roam from city to city, around the globe, playing each other over and over again. In 1963 alone, for instance, Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall played 51 times.

I’m not saying we should return to those days … but watching Sinner and Alcaraz play, I could understand the appeal. I had multiple non-tennis friends send this point to me last week on social media, each asking some variation of “Uh, is tennis always like this and I didn’t realize it?”

The answer, of course, is no, it’s not always like that. But the “ping-pong tennis” that they play (in Daniil Medvedev’s words) is incredible to watch, and when healthy, they’ll be playing these types of points for years to come.

Sinner beat Alcaraz playing Alcaraz’s game in Miami last week … then lost to Medvedev in straight sets. At 21, Sinner is already one of the best shot-makers in the game. He still has some learning to do in the adaptability department, but he has the potential to rise further when that happens.

5. Taylor Fritz
ATP ranking: 10
Tennis Abstract ranking: 6
2023 record (vs. top 50): 20-6 (11-4)

This has been a year of consolidation for Fritz. The 25-year-old Californian saw his ATP ranking fall from fifth to 10th when he couldn’t defend his Indian Wells title, losing to Sinner in a three-set quarterfinal. But he continues to hold his own with other top players (6-6 against the ATP top 10 over the past year, 2-1 in 2023), and he is slowly learning to better avoid potholes.

Fritz lost seven matches to players ranked outside the top 50 in 2022, and he began 2023 with a loss to No. 113 Alexei Popyrin at the Australian Open. But he won seven of his past eight such matches, falling only to a smoking hot Yibing Wu in Dallas, and he reached at least the quarterfinals in each of his five events since Melbourne. That’s how you earn top-10 level points year in and year out.

6. Stefanos Tsitsipas
ATP ranking: 3
Tennis Abstract ranking: 5
2023 record (vs. top 50): 12-4 (5-3)

Since emerging on the tour in 2017, the 24-year-old has broken between 19.5% and 21.5% of the time in six of seven years. After surging to 25.5% in 2021 — when he won his first ATP 1000 title and came within a set of beating Djokovic for the French Open title — he dropped back to 20.9% in 2022. He’s at 19.9% in 2023.

Without improvement in this department, Tsitsipas has plateaued. He is still capable of excellent results — he beat Sinner and Karen Khachanov on the way to the Australian Open final this year, after all, and he won a second Monte Carlo title last year — but he has been inconsistent, and a shoulder issue has hindered his serve. He is only 3-3 since Melbourne.

7. Andrey Rublev
ATP ranking: 6
Tennis Abstract ranking: 7
2023 record (vs. top 50): 13-8 (10-6)

With his lashing strokes and overall aggression, Rublev has become one of the safer bets in men’s tennis. Since 2020, he reached the quarterfinals of six of the 10 Slams he entered, and he reached at least the semis of four ATP 1000s too. And in these 10 combined breakthrough tournaments, he has seen his run end with a straight-set loss nine times. When his serve is earning him free points, he is almost unstoppable; when it’s not, his merely average return rears its ugly head.

In other words, the 25-year-old is extremely No. 7, capable of beating anyone on the right day but only capable of beating the top names on certain days. That played out in his two best results of 2023 — Australian Open quarterfinals (swept by Djokovic) and Dubai finals (swept by Medvedev).

8. Cameron Norrie
ATP ranking: 13
Tennis Abstract ranking: 9
2023 record (vs. top 50): 21-5 (6-2)

Until an upset loss to Gregoire Barrere in Miami, the 27-year-old was on a lovely run in 2023, winning at least two matches in each of his first five tournaments and going 5-0 in United Cup and Davis Cup action. It feels like his serve will always hold him back a bit, but his return is among the best in the world and he is just so steady. He has ranked between eighth and 14th in the ATP rankings for 17 straight months, and he would be higher than 13th right now if — like Rybakina — his greatest achievement of the past 12 months (semifinalist at Wimbledon) had actually earned him any points.

9. Karen Khachanov
ATP ranking: 11
Tennis Abstract ranking: 14
2023 record (vs. top 50): 13-6 (7-6)

Semis at the US Open. Semis at the Australian Open. Semis in Miami. Khachanov, 26, is still inconsistent at times — he lost three of four after reaching the semis in Melbourne, for instance — but is making a habit of showing up in big tournaments. With few clay-court points to defend, he is on the verge of returning to the ATP top 10 for the first time since 2019.

10. Holger Rune
ATP ranking: 8
Tennis Abstract ranking: 10
2023 record (vs. top 50): 14-7 (5-4)

Alex De Minaur was dialing in on this spot after winning Acapulco a month ago, but he went 0-2 in the Sunshine Swing. Frances Tiafoe has lost seven of his past eight against top-20 opponents, Felix Auger-Aliassime six of eight and Tommy Paul four of six. Process of elimination, then, takes us to Rune, who has lost his past two against such foes but had won eight of nine before that. The fiery 19-year-old hasn’t lit the world afire this year following his torrid results in the fall, but he could find his form on clay.

Nearly made the list: As noted, Auger-Aliassime, Alex De Minaur, Tiafoe and Hubert Hurkacz. Casper Ruud remains fifth in the ATP rankings but is a ghastly 5-6 in 2023, and until Nadal can officially prove he is recovered from an Australian Open hip flexor injury, he’ll remain off the list as well.

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