Unpleasant setbacks and unexpected surprises took the tennis world by surprise in 2017. As the year ended, seasoned professionals spent time recovering from injuries and newcomers made amazing strides in the ranks. What happens in 2018 is anybody’s guess.

Spaniard Rafael Nadal closed out the year holding onto his top spot. However, chronic knee and wrist injuries may pose a challenge in keeping his number one ranking. His game on hard courts did not do him any justice. But, he remains champion on the dirt.

Serbian Novak Djokovic was also recovering from injuries. Nevertheless, there are some who believe he has a chance of stealing Nadal’s position. If he is fully recovered, expect the 12-time Grand Slam champion to have a good year. Djokovic could also pose a threat to number two ranked Swiss-born Roger Federer. Then again, Federer might also be the one to topple Nadal before the year ends.

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov had a banner year in 2017 and was able to climb to the third ranking spot after conquering the Nitto ATP Finals. German Alexander Zverev also came into his own when he managed to climb from being ranked at 24 to the number four position. He may be on his way to getting a Grand Slam victory under his belt.

Croatian Marin Cilic came back mid-season after recovering from injuries. Cilic played amazingly well by competing in the quarterfinals. Currently ranked at number six, he may be another player jockeying for a higher position in 2018.

Currently ranked at number 7, Belgian David Goffin is another player to keep an eye on this year. In 2017, he won two titles in Asia. His cool, calm demeanor also helped him target his energy into breezing through the Nitto ATP Finals and the Davis Cup. If Goffin remains determined, he may rise even higher in the rankings this year.

South African Kevin Anderson proved he has what it takes to be a contender as the newcomer rose from his 67th position to 14. The determination he demonstrated during the US Open finals paid off. Hailing from Argentina, newcomer Juan Martin Del Potro also had a great year. Despite deciding not to play in Australia, Del Potro managed to leap from his 38 ranking to the number 11 spot.