Just imagine a world where flakiness didn't exist, where injuries didn't derail progress and your talent reflects where you should be in the rankings. Determination also pays off for any technical shortcomings you might have to help you climb up the rankings.
Well, that's what I'm doing here: imagining!
Andy Murray's great win in the Cincy Masters yesterday got me thinking: If you were really to look at it from an ability standpoint, he should at least be number four in the world, right behind the guy he knocked off, Novak Djokovic. He moved up to six, but does anyone think that he couldn't take out David Ferrer or Nikolay Davydenko?
I decided to make up my own version of the top 10: the way it would be in a perfect world. Talent, as I mentioned above, is a big part of making the list, and if you have that single-minded determination, a la Rafael Nadal, that helps too.
So here goes: the debut of The TTA? Top 10 Male Players! From the top:
1. Roger Federer: He's slumping now, but is there any doubt he's the best player? Few players have matched his versatility in history.
2. Rafael Nadal: The soon-to-be number one has the sheer physical ability and force of will to overcome most of the people on this list, despite some of them being more naturally talented.
3. Novak Djokovic: I think he's probably the most versatile player after Federer, but can still wilt in big situations against the two in front of him.
4. Andy Murray: Bagging Cincy was the beginning of big things for him, I feel. I don't think he's strong enough yet to handle Nadal and his clay-court game might be kind of lacking, but I think he'll only get better.
5. Richard Gasquet: You're probably thinking, "That dude's a headcase! No way!" But remember, mental lapses don't count here! Young, strong, a threat to win on all surfaces: He makes the cut.
6. Jo-Wilifried Tsonga: Forget Max Mirnyi: This guy is the real beast! Who knows if he'll ever get healthy again, but as with his fellow Frenchman Gasquet, deficiencies don't count here!
7. Marat Safin: The veteran of this group should only lose to the above players alone. Ever.
8. Marcos Baghdatis: One of the most versatile shotmakers out there: You have to think he has the potential to beat anyone on any surface.
9. David Nalbandian: Perfect groundies, good hands at the net, smart serving: What else do you want? Being older than most of the other guys ahead of him is all that's keeping him back. (Remember: No knock for mental or physical deficiencies!)
10. James Blake: One of the most imposing games on tour, which should translate to any surface.
There you have it, the first TTA? top 10! Any omissions?
An old friend of mine and I used to talk tennis for hours, whether it was our own games or what was happening in the pros. I've started Tennis Talk, Anyone? to, well, talk tennis with an even broader crowd! My name is Van Sias and I've been playing for 20 years now, and not only am I player, I'm a huge fan of the game as well: pro, amateur, you name it. I'll post links to news items related to the sport, and offer my own personal opinion, predictions and hopefully get some of yours as well.