Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Who will be the ATP's comeback kids in '12?

(With the pro tennis season over, I decided I'm just going to try and send out as much content as I can muster in the weeks ahead with previews, intriguing story lines past and present, predictions, recaps and what have you. Here's my first post along those lines.)

How about that Juan Martin del Potro? Though his season had an unfortunate end, there's no discounting what he did: getting close to the top 10 after starting the year outside the top 250. There are some other players out there that surely will be inspired by that as they make their way back from injury. Among them:

Robin Soderling
The Swede won four titles before the U.S. Open, but had to shut it down for the year at the tournament after being diagnosed with mononucleosis. As we've seen from various players out there contracting that, it takes a while to bounce back. He hasn't fallen too far in the standings yet, ending the year at 13. A return to the top 10 is possible, depending on his health.

Tommy Robredo
The veteran started 2011 off very solidly, making the fourth round of the Australian Open and winning his 10th career title in Santiago. He was playing well at Indian Wells before suffering an abdominal injury that hampered him for the rest of the season, going 2-9 since Wimbledon.

Sam Querrey

Strong play at the Challenger level, plus a late-season win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, helped get the big-serving American back into the top 100 by the end of the year. He missed his favorite stretch of the season, the summer U.S. hard-court tournaments. If he makes it there and is playing at his 2010 level, he could possibly go higher in the rankings than he ever has before.

Lleyton Hewitt
It's been a tough go for Hewitt over the past year. He's currently ranked well outside the top 150 and has been battling issues with his hip for a few years now. Still, if there's one player you can never count out, it's the Australian. A del Potro comeback is probably way too much to expect, but if the body's willing, he'll take it as far as it can go.

(Photo: AP)

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