Before continuing the ranking, it is important to explain the notion of hope. In order to be included in this ranking, players had to meet two criteria: to have been born since 1998 and never have been in the top 100. Therefore, there will not be Jannik Sinner, Denis Shapovalov or even Tsitsipas in this ranking because the interest is to make you discover less known players but who have the potential to become very good players. Those who have played second weeks of Grand Slam like Altmaier will not appear in the ranking either.

Several criteria were taken into account. First of all, of course the ability and potential of the player through his performances in ITF, Challenger or even on the ATP circuit (especially in qualifications) for those who already have a little experience. The players chosen in this ranking are also extremely pleasant players to watch with a significant margin of progression on the physical and technical level. Finally, some players who have been stagnating for several years after an early emergence have not been included in this ranking.

ATP / Top 50 Hopes to Watch in 2021: from 50th to 41st place

40) Otto Virtanen (Finland, 2001, 607th on 16/11/2020)

This great player (1m91) has an excellent serve and a very powerful forehand. This former quarter-finalist at the Australian Junior Open had excellent results this year in indoor. In four ITF tournaments, he has won a title at Parnu, played a final but also a semi-final and a quarter-final. Given his excellent end of season, his evolution as a challenger will be interesting to follow.

39) Camilo Ugo Carabelli (Argentina, 1999, best ranking: 349th on 15/10/2018)

This young Argentinean is one of the country's many hopes. Like many of his compatriots, he excels on clay (87% of his matches played in his career for 64% of victories). This year, he won an ITF tournament in Rio Cuarto, Argentina. He has already achieved great performances against Federico Coria (currently 91st in the world) whom he defeated in September 2019 in a challenger in Buenos Aires (6-4, 6-4) but also against Andrej Martin (victory 6-3, 7-6 in Lima) or Leonardo Mayer (defeat 7-6, 6-4 in Campinas). He already has the level to play the qualifications of an ATP 250 on clay. His 2021 season will be very interesting to follow. He should gain a lot of places in the standings. The Argentinean has just beaten this Tuesday Emilio Gomez in Sao Paulo. The Ecuadorian came out of the qualifications at Roland Garros before losing in 5 sets against Sonego in the first round.

38) Francesco Forti (Italy, 1999, best ranking: 393rd on 22/07/2019)

A very good player on all surfaces, he had good results in ITF without winning any tournament. However, he has played in four semi-finals this year. This great player (1m88) has a big serve and moves very well on the court. It will be interesting to see his improvement next year and hopefully he will make a breakthrough by winning a tournament or playing challengers. At the moment, he has only 9 wins to 13 losses in challengers.

37) Yuta Shimizu (Japan, 1999, best ranking: 313th on 02/03/2020)

This young Japanese left-hander is the smallest player in the top 1000 (1m63) but he is one of the most talented players of his generation on the circuit. Having played only three tournaments in 2020, he has won two ITF tournaments by conceding only two sets. His best results have been on hard court outdoors. The way he is able to fill in his gaps on serve is extraordinary. He has already proven that he has the level to move up the rankings. For example, he lost in January (7-6, 7-6) to Taro Daniel at the Brisbane Challenger. In October 2019, in the Liuzhou challenger, he led by one set against Davidovich Fokina before finally losing. This player with a monster talent deserves to be looked at more because his talent is so obvious. For the moment, he counts 8 victories for 12 defeats in challenger but already 8 titles in ITF. He has the ability to jump to hit his forehand with impeccable timing, just like Olivier Rochus (1m68) in the 2000s. Ranked number 5 in the world junior rankings in 2018, "he's an impressive kid with a very good level of play with a bright future ahead of him", according to Torgun Smith, ITF Circuit Supervisor. However, he has only faced two top 100 players in his young career (Davidovich and Ebden) and only one player over 1m90 (Kravchuk as a challenger).

36) Jack Draper (G-B, 2001, best ranking: 283rd on 24/08/2020)

This very tall left-hander (1m91) has had excellent results on hard since the beginning of his career. His debut in 2020 was punctuated by a title in ITF where he dominated everyone without conceding a single set and only conceding two games in the final. Before the end of the season, he was on a winning streak of 10 wins in 11 games. Will he be able to confirm as a challenger? He already has 7 ITF titles with 80% of victories on hard court. His record as a challenger is 7 victories for 8 defeats. In October 2019, the Briton was the youngest player on the circuit among the top 400 players in the world. He was notably able to resist Dan Evans (7-5, 6-3), Bublik (6-2, 1-6, 6-3) and Uchiyama (6-4, 7-6). He also defeated Igor Sijsling, Jack Sock and Donald Young in 2019 at just 17 years of age. He is now 18 years old. He is the third best under-19 player in the world behind Alcaraz and Musetti. A Wimbledon junior finalist in 2018, he is able to shine on any surface even though he plays very little on clay at the moment. He seems to be more comfortable on fast surfaces, which makes sense for his morphology.

35) Martin Damm (USA, 2003, best ranking: 868th on 16/11/2020)

Son of the Czech who had reached the 42nd place in the world in 1997, this young American has the talent to do as well. He is a huge hope for world tennis, semi-finalist last year at Wimbledon and Roland Garros and quarter-finalist this year at the Australian Open. Despite his young age, he already has an overpowering serve. However, he struggles to confirm with only one final and one quarter-final in the ITF, but his margin of progression is enormous. He is the youngest player on the tour. In spite of his "American-style" game, he still manages to have a few performances on clay which is very interesting. His hard court season will be interesting to follow.

34) Timofey Skatov (Kazakhstan, 2001, best ranking: 438th on 26/10/2020)

Rather small in size (1m73), the Kazakh made a very good end of the season. In September, he won an ITF tournament against Rune in Spain and Agamenone in Romania. Accustomed to "bad results" on hard before the pandemic, he managed in October to reach the semi-finals of the ITF tournament in Sharm-El-Sheikh. This player is thus in very clear progression this end of year, we will see next year if he confirms. For the moment, he is most comfortable on clay court. He played his first match on the ATP Tour in October in Nur Sultan. A match that ended in a very heavy defeat against Ruusuvuori (6-2, 6-0). This still shows the margin that remains to be filled. However, he has a very spectacular game and a very nice hand. Titled three times in ITF, he still has to cross the milestone of the challenger circuit where he counts only one victory.

33) Michael Vrbensky (Czech Republic, 1999, best ranking: 302nd on 09/2020)

This young Czech is a specialist in clay courts. In August, he made his mark on the Prague challenger by reaching the semi-final against Wawrinka after defeating Elias Ymer. Vrbensky was not far off the mark by winning the first set against the Swiss. However, he is not very consistent and has been doing a lot of poor performances since then. He already has 4 ITF titles and 9 wins to 11 defeats in Challenger. Since his debut in 2017, he has only played against two top 100 players, Wawrinka and the Italian Caruso at the end of September. A defeat (7-5, 7-5) which shows that he is not far from the level of the top 100 in one match. It remains to find the regularity.

32) Juan Manuel Cerundolo (Argentina, 2001, best ranking: 342nd on 28/09/2020)

Already the third Argentinian cited in this ranking - and far from being the last of this golden generation. This left-handed player is like his big brother Francisco, and like most of his compatriots, a clay specialist. After a rather unsuccessful 2020 season despite a final in the ITF tournament, he had already proved in 2019 that he had the level to annoy the best players on the clay court circuit. Indeed, at the Montevideo challenger, he managed to beat Cuevas and Delbonis without conceding a single set. He is obviously to be followed next year because he will once again push players of the top 100 on the ochre.

31) Harold Mayot (France, 2002, best ranking: 411th on 14/09/2020)

The Frenchman is already known by the majority of tennis fans after his victory in the final of the Australian Junior Open against his compatriot Arthur Cazaux. Barring injury, he is almost certain to gain many places next year as he is at a much higher level than his current ranking shows. This year, he improved considerably on clay with a very encouraging first round at Roland Garros against Davidovich (7-65, 6-3, 7-5). His best surface is still the hard court and indoor where he had very encouraging results, especially in the quarter-final of the challenger from Pau against Vesely where he played evenly despite the defeat (7-6, 7-6). Similarly against Simon in Marseille with a tight defeat (6-4, 7-6). We can see that he is not very far from the high level and it could happen this year. Following an injury to his lower calf near the Achilles tendon during training at the CNE, he ended his season at the end of October. He plans to "get a physical body" in preparation for the restart in 2021. He also wants to work with a psychologist to improve his mental progress and get to know himself better. He also plans to get closer to a dietician. Harold Mayot wants to take a step forward and follow in the footsteps of Alcaraz, Musetti, Sinner and Auger. Aware of the level of requirements necessary to become a professional tennis player and join the world top 100, he will give himself all the means to achieve this.

Next: ATP / Top 50 hopefuls to follow in 2021: from 30th to 26th place

This post is also available in: Français