April 7, 2020

The Best of 2020 -- The Old(ish) and the New

Okay, we're almost at the end of my countdown -- which means I need to figure out my next gimmick as we wait for the end of #quarantennis (can we make that a thing?). But that's my problem, not yours, so let's get to it. But before I reveal the #2's on my list, let's take a look at the some of the latest headlines in our world.

And now, without further ado, here are my runners-up for the Best of 2020 -- so far.

The Men: Tennys Sandgren

Age: 28
Current Ranking: #55
Title(s): Auckland (2019)

The American sorta-veteran has been around for quite some time and has even risen to higher heights than where he sits now, but his performance in Australia really put him on the map for a lot of people. Not only did he take out Matteo Berrettini and a somehow-lower ranked Fabio Fognini, but he had seven match points against Roger Federer, any one of which could have given him entrée to his first ever Major semifinal. He may not have been able to capitalize then, but perhaps he'll be able to pick up where he left off when things go back to normal.

After all, he's had some nice wins over the years, beating Dominic Thiem and Stanislas Wawrinka Down Under back in 2018 and reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon last year. He's not quite as consistent as I'd like him to be, though, and he still spends a lot of time on the Challengers' circuit. Even still, his run in Melbourne this year seemed to demonstrate what he's capable of, and I'd love to see him make the most of that when we return.

The Women: Leylah Fernandez

Age: 17
Current Ranking: #118
Title(s): None (yet)

On the other end of the spectrum is someone who was only nine years old when Sandgren turned pro -- I'm not going to even go near how old I was when she was born. But Leylah Fernandez has certainly shown, in her short career, that she's could be a big force in the sport. Then 16, she won the French Open Girls' title last year, and while she may be a bit miffed the clay court portion of this season is all but scrapped, she certainly showed she could do some damage on other surfaces as well.

The Canadian stunned Belinda Bencic in the Fed Cup round robins and took out Sloane Stephens in her last event before shutdown in Monterrey. But her best run came the week before, when she came out of qualifying and made the final in Acapulco, even taking a set off Heather Watson in the championship match.

She may not have the ranking points yet, or the star power of other teens like Coco Gauff, but she may just be the workhorse in the next generation that surprises us all. And I'm excited to see what she has for us.

There's one more to come in by "Best of 2020" list, so check in soon. But in the meantime, check out who've we've already honored here!

And for something a little light, here's today's #TennisAtHome moment:

No comments: