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.
How was this ranking done?
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 hopefuls to follow in 2021: from 50th to 41st place
ATP / Top 50 hopefuls to follow in 2021: from 30th to 26th place
25) Orlando Luz (Brazil, 1998, best ranking: 116th on 09/03/2020)
Here is a new South American clay court specialist. After a very good year 2019 with notably a very good season in ITF, he has moved to the next level as a challenger but unfortunately, he struggles to confirm and has not gone further than the second round for more than a year. It must nevertheless be admitted that he has often had rather complicated draws. He has nevertheless beaten renowned players such as the young hopeful Seyboth Wild at the challenger in Sao Paulo a few days ago. The former world junior number one is very talented and has a very good hand. He has won 7 ITF tournaments since the beginning of his career. Among his 4 matches against top 100 players, nothing notable apart from a set won against Diego Schwartzman in 2015. He still needs to improve before he reaches the famous top 100.
24) Jesper De Jong (Netherlands, 2000, best ranking: 280th on 09/11/2020)
This very complete right-handed man can be adapted to all surfaces. He had a good end of year in 2020, notably thanks to his semi-final in Guayaquil - his first career tournament in Challenger - at the end of November with successes against Tabilo and Vilella. He was very often in the final and semi-final this year in Challenger or ITF tournament but he did not manage to lift a trophy. That's a little bit what we could reproach him, he has a good level but he still lacks reference at the highest level. In 2021 he will be able to build on his good performance against Kohlschreiber in Rotterdam (defeat 7-5, 7-6). He is still one of the best hopes in his category and his versatility on hard and soft ground could help him climb the rankings. He also beat Ramanathan or the young Forejtek quite easily. He should quickly get close to the 150th place in the world.
23) Borna Gojo (Croatia, 1998, best ranking: 217th on 26/10/2020) and Pavel Kotov (Russia, 1998, best ranking: 245th on 06/01/2020)
Two players for the price of one! They have the same age (22 years old), the same morphology (1m91 and 1m96) and the same versatility on land and hard. Difficult to separate them. Even their ranking is similar. The prize list is in favour of the Russian who has three titles in ITF while the Croatian one is totally virgin. Both players have one match on the ATP circuit: in Winston Salem in 2018 against Ryan Harrison for Gojo (defeat 6-2, 6-4) and in St. Petersburg very recently for the Russian against Ugo Humbert (defeat in three sets). They met at the end of October in Hamburg and the match was very close. Kotov won 7-5 in the third set. We should see these two players again very soon on the main circuit. They have the qualities to enter the top 100.
22) Giulio Zeppieri (Italy, 2001, best ranking: 316th on 28/09/2020)
Excellent clay court player, this young Italian is going through a difficult end of season. Despite a good recovery at the Master of Rome where he had beaten Norrie and Dellien in qualifications, he then went on to lose six straight Challenger matches. However, he finished 2019 with a very promising ITF title in Santana Margherita. However, he is still very young and could follow in the footsteps of his compatriots Sinner or Musetti. Substitute at the last NextGen tournament, he is still very young but has a lot of qualities with his left leg. He is very friendly with Musetti who beat him in three sets in Rome. His goal now is to win on the ATP circuit. He openly displays his ambitions to become number one in the world one day. His motivation is to improve with every game. After a difficult first set against Sonego in Cagliari, he was able to raise his level of play to match the 33rd in the world (6-2, 7-6). He doesn't play much on hard but he is playing well with a quarter-final at the US Open and a semi-final at the Australian Open in junior.
21) Shintaro Mochizuki (Japan, 2003, best ranking: 566th on 11/25/2019)
This great hope of world tennis, winner at 16 of Wimbledon in Junior and semi-finalist at Roland Garros, is an extremely complete player, good on all surfaces. Mochizuki has yet to win an ITF tournament or win against top-ranked players, but that's to be expected given his young age. He has not been able to continue his progress in 2020 due to the pandemic but it will be very interesting to follow him in ITF and Challenger in 2021. A graduate of Masaaki Morita, Mochizuki also trains in Florida at the IMG Academy. The Masaaki Morita Foundation is a school program supported by Kei Nishikori and founded by Morita, a great leader of Japanese tennis. Kei Nishikori obviously congratulated the young Japanese after his Wimbledon title, the first Grand Slam title for a Japanese man. In particular, Nishikori has already trained several times with his young compatriot: "I've already played 6 or 7 times with him. He's only 16 years old, there's still a huge gap with the professional circuit, so we didn't really play any points but just a few balls. He is progressing a lot. Now we can exchange some rallies together." The Japanese also trained in Florida with another Wimbledon winner, Denis Shapovalov.
Next: ranking from 20th to 16th place
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