2021 ATP Predictions: Grand Slam, ATP Finals and Olympic Champions

Will Rafael Nadal retain his Roland Garros title? Read on for our 2021 ATP Predictions

Following my popular article last year, I will once again be giving my ATP predictions for the upcoming 2021 season. In this article, I shall be giving my predictions on the biggest tournaments of the year (Grand Slams, ATP Finals and Summer Olympics). So without further ado here are my predictions…

Australian Open  

2020 Final: (2) Novak Djokovic d. (5) Dominic Thiem 6–4 4–6 2–6 6–3 6–4

Thoughts on the 2020 finalists…

Despite this being Novak Djokovic’s most successful slam (winning the tournament an Open Era record of eight times), I don’t think he will retain his title. He definitely can win but I feel that thoughts from his recent hard court losses at the ATP Finals and his humiliating French Open final defeat will still be playing in his mind.

Therefore, I am not predicting him to be victorious once again in Melbourne next year. That is because I think this year’s runner-up Dominic Thiem is finally ready to win this title. Having stretched Djokovic to five sets in last year’s final as well as beat him at the ATP Finals two years in a row, he is now ready to beat the hard-court GOAT at his favourite Grand Slam.

Predicted Champion: Dominic Thiem

French Open

2020 Final: (2) Rafael Nadal d. (1) Novak Djokovic 6–0 6–2,7–5

Thoughts on the 2020 finalists…

Djokovic is one of the best clay-court players who only has one French Open title to his name. However, I don’t expect to change in 2021 (despite another likely impressive performance) for one simple reason: the existence of Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard has an insane 100-2 record at the tournament with an astounding 13 titles in Paris. With these statistics, it is simply illogical to bet against him winning yet another French Open in 2021.

My Predicted Champion: Rafael Nadal

Wimbledon

2019 Final: (1) Novak Djoković d. (2) Roger Federer 7–6(7–5) 1–6 7–6(7–4) 4–6 13–12(7–3)

Thoughts on the 2019 finalists…

In last year’s final, Roger Federer put on a display on how you lose a match when your opponent only turns up with their C-game and gives you countless opportunities. This was a defeat as agonising as Lindsay Davenport’s defeat to Venus Williams in the 2005 Women’s Wimbledon final. After that much Davenport’s inner belief was broken and she never reached a Grand Slam final again, a similar fate I expect to happen for Federer.

On the other hand, Djokovic showed us how you win an important match whilst performing at such a mediocre level. If he managed to win this year’s final playing as negatively as he did, I am confident he will be able to win the tournament next year. In addition, none of the ‘NextGen’ have had much prior success at Wimbledon yet, so this may be the Grand Slam where he has the most opportunity for success for the remainder of his career.

My Predicted Champion: Novak Djokovic

Summer Olympic Games

Rio 2016 Gold Medal Match: (2) Andy Murray d. Juan Martín del Potro 7–5 4–6 6–2 7–5

Rio 2016 Bronze Medal Match: (4) Kei Nishikori d. (3) Rafael Nadal 6-2 6–7(1–7) 6–3

Thoughts on the 2016 medallists…

Andy Murray and Juan Martín del Potro are both ranked outside the Top 100 and have injury concerns surrounding them. With the Olympics being a 64-player field, the chance of either of them winning medals in Tokyo does not seem likely, despite Murray’s aim for another medal next year.

Kei Nishikori also has an very slim chance of winning another medal as he seems past his prime and is also rather injury-prone. However, he will be playing in his home country where the crowd will be on his side, that may spur him onto a deep run should the draw open up.

My Predicted Champion: Dominic Thiem

Now established as a top contender for any significant tournament on hard courts, Olympic Gold may well be the next milestone on the Austrian’s career checklist. Once a skeptic about even competing it appears a medal is now a key objective for him, likely due to the influence of his coach Nicolas Massu (who won both singles and doubles gold for Chile at the 2004 Athens Olympics).

As this is the one big title that his rivals Djokovic and Federer are missing from their career resumes, they are likely to falter under the pressure, allowing Thiem to capitalise and become Olympic champion.

US Open

2020 Final: (2) Dominic Thiem d. (5) Alexander Zverev 2–6 4–6 6–4 6–3 7–6(8–6)

Thoughts on the 2020 finalists…

It was a tremendous effort for Thiem to win the US Open this year but he has never been defending champion at a Grand Slam before. This will be his first experience doing so and as it will likely be a very wide-open tournament because of it being post-Olympics I think he will struggle to retain the title but a deep run is still very possible.

Alexander Zverev performed well in the Grand Slams this year for someone who struggled with his serve throughout the season. Whilst I believe he can have more deep runs in 2021, it just is not possible to win a Grand Slam in men’s tennis with major weaknesses in your game like it is in women’s tennis. Therefore, I cannot predict him to go one better in New York next year.

My Predicted Champion: Novak Djokovic

ATP Finals

2020 Final: (4) Daniil Medvedev d. (3) Dominic Thiem 4–6 7–6(7–2) 6–4

Thoughts on the 2020 finalists…

Daniil Medvedev and Thiem played a very entertaining final in what was a great final edition of the year-end championships in London. Both performed beyond well my expectations and as a result I believe they will qualify for the ATP Finals again next year. However, whether they will be in the final again is another question.

Medvedev played incredible tennis to win the ATP Finals this year beating the Top 3 seeds en route to the title. Playing to that level of quality will be difficult for him to replicate next year. Meanwhile Thiem has now lost two consecutive close finals at this tournament. Whilst I believe he will win this tournament eventually, I feel he needs an early exit to get the thoughts of these defeats out of his mind.

My Predicted Champion: Novak Djokovic

Djokovic knows he has the ability to win this event but it is just a matter of whether he is willing to give 100% concentration and fight for it. Those things were lacking for him this year because he had already secured the year-end No.1 ranking. However, 2021 will be the first year where the ATP Finals will be held in Turin. As one of the players in favour of the move, I believe he will be motivated to win the inaugural tournament there.

What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments!

Main photo:
Embed from Getty Images

So there you have it – these are my predictions for ATP Tour in 2021. Towards the end of 2020 we saw hints of a change of the guard finally starting and I hope this continues next year as the constant “GOAT debate” regarding the ‘Big 3’ has grown rather tiresome and brings out the worst in the tennis fanbase. What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments!


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