With a number of players hampered through injury during 2017 and having to cut their season's short we could see a big form turnaround by some as they come into the new year fresh and injury free. We will run through the top 5 players to watch in 2018 as some are coming in with career best form and others looking to have better luck with injury.
1. Novak Djokovic
After a six month hiatus from competitive tennis Novak Djokovic will be back on the scene at the start of 2018 and will be looking to replicate the success that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had after their extended break from the sport.
The 12 time grand slam champion had one of the biggest falls from grace we have seen for some time. After winning the French Open in 2016 he had put together one of the most dominant 18 month periods in recent times and held all four grand slam titles. In 2017 he was a shadow of his former self where he failed to make it past the quarter finals in any slam and only won the two ATP titles.
After a disappointing Wimbledon where he was forced to retire due to injury, the Serb called time on his 2017 to take an indefinite break from the game to get himself right. There were plenty of reasons for his poor drop off in 2017 with both an elbow injury and personal issues hampering his form. After completing an intense pre season training camp in Monte Carlo early this month, he looks to be fit and healthy and ready to make his much anticipated return to the game.
At just 30 years of age still there is no reason he can't recapture his form of 2016 and be a force in tennis once again. If you like him you should be able to get a decent price in early tournaments with the bookies as well.
2. Denis Shapovalov
This 18yo Canadian pulled himself from obscurity late in the 2017 season at the Rogers Cup. He entered the tournament ranked just 143rd in the world with very few tour wins to his name, but in front of a home crowd he announced himself as a future star with wins over Juan Martin Del Potro and Rafael Nadal. He backed up that impressive performance with a Fourth Round appearance at the US Open where he beat good quality opposition along the way including Jo Wilfried Tsonga.
Shapovalov will enter the 2018 season ranked 51 in the world and still just 18 years of age. He will no doubt be inconsistent due to his inexperience, but there are not many teenagers in the world who can defeat Rafael Nadal so there is no doubting his ability and after a break out year could go on with it.
3. Milos Raonic
At 27 years of age this has to be the year that Milos Raonic finally delivers on his potential. Intermittent injuries throughout the year in 2017 saw him fall from a ranking of number 3 in the world to number 24, but after taking time off to focus on being fit and healthy for 2018 we should see those rankings improve.
The Canadian star also split from his coach at the end of 2017 so a fresh start to the new season could be just what he needs. We will first see him in the new year when he lines up at the Brisbane International.
4. David Goffin
After his best year to date Goffin ended the 2017 season ranked number 7 in the world and should go into the Australian summer full of confidence. He achieved career best performances at both the Australian Open and US Open, while he had to retire due to injury at the French Open and couldn't play at Wimbledon due to an ankle injury.
Despite his remarkable consistency through the year and going 6-0 in Davis Cup matches it was probably his runner up performance at the ATP World Tour Finals that really showed he could match it with the best with wins over both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer during the week. His poor record against Grigor Dimitrov in 2017 continued though (1-4) so thst could be a match up to avoid in 2018.
5. Nick Kyrgios
Hampered by a hip injury for most of 2017, Kyrgios is another player who should thrive with an extended lay off heading into the 2018 season. It was a mixed bag for the young star last year, while he didn't make it past the 2nd Round in any of the four grand slams he had big wins against Djokovic and Nadal as well as playing in one of the matches of the year against Federer in Miami.
It has been all positive out of the camp since he took some time off and he should be fit and ready to fire when he begins his 2018 season at the Brisbane International.