Top 10 tennis players in the world

For the next few months, we'll be switching from a hard court to a clay court so that we can get a better feel for who is truly the superior player.


IF you really stop to think about it, tennis season is amusing. After one Slam, we are already a quarter of the way through the year. For the next few months, we’ll be switching from a hard court to a clay court so that we can get a better feel for who is truly the superior player.

This is fantastic, mind you. These athletes are true pros. Raise the difficulty level! Keep things interesting! However, it makes the performance of players towards the end of March irrelevant.

Let’s evaluate this form, though. Now that the clay-court season has begun, let’s take a look at which tennis players have been performing the best as of late. I used a player’s skill with clay as a future-proofing tiebreaker if I couldn’t decide between them.

There is a distinct “top three and everyone else” feeling on both the men’s and women’s circuits at the moment, albeit with a potentially menacing and intriguing No. 4. Both tours’ top 10 finishers are listed below.


  1. Iga Swiatek

WTA ranking: 1

Tennis Abstract ranking: 1

2023 record (vs. top 50): 16-4 (9-4)

The world’s best player remains on top despite falling in straight sets to Barbora Krejcikova in Dubai and Elena Rybakina in both Australia and Indian Wells (not to mention missing the Miami Open due to a rib injury). On clay, she has won 41 of her last 45 matches, and she will be defending three titles in the next few weeks. (Stuttgart, Rome and Roland Garros). Between now and Wimbledon, she will be favoured in every competition she enters.

21-year-old Swiatek has had a strange 2023. Twenty matches have been played by the reigning French Open and US Open champion, and not one of them has gone the distance. She has won 19 of her 32 sets by a score of 6-2 or less, while she has lost 5 of her 8 matches by the same score. It works perfectly or it doesn’t at all. Even while she is still very likely the best player in the world, her recent slumps have been significantly more severe than those of her rivals. Is this bad news for the next clay season? To be determined.

  1. Aryna Sabalenka

WTA ranking: 2

Tennis Abstract ranking: 3

2023 record (vs. top 50): 20-3 (14-2)

Even in 2022, her serve would occasionally go missing. However, her participation in this week’s Charleston Open was cut short due to a hamstring injury, which is otherwise the only thing holding her back. She has a 3-4 record when her double-fault rate is above 10% since the US Open, but a stunning 27-4 record when it is below 10%.

The 24-year-old has advanced to the semifinals or better at four of the last six Grand Slam tournaments she has entered. While the women’s side of Grand Slams has had its fair share of upheaval in recent years, Sabalenka is quickly becoming a fixture in the second week. Although she hasn’t been past the third round in any of her five French Open appearances, her success on clay in 2021 at Madrid and 2022 at the Italian Open suggests she could make a deep run at Roland Garros provided she can stay healthy.

  1. Elena Rybakina

WTA ranking: 7

Tennis Abstract ranking: 2

2023 record (vs. top 50): 21-5 (16-4)

There’s an argument to be made for a three-way tie for first place, but that’s no fun at all.

The reigning Wimbledon champion didn’t make things easy for herself during the Sunshine Swing, either, as she won 11 straight matches despite taking four of them to three sets and participating in six tiebreakers. But now she’s established herself as one of the women’s tour’s most steady competitors.

She started in Indian Wells and won against Swiatek and Sabalenka before moving on to Miami and defeating Jessica Pegula. Three out of the last five tournaments she entered, she made it to the last round. She has won six of eight matches against top-10 players, beginning with the Wimbledon final, and she has beaten Swiatek twice in straight sets. That’s absurdly amazing, and it looks like the 23-year-old will keep improving.

  1. Petra Kvitova

WTA ranking: 10

Tennis Abstract ranking: 6

2023 record (vs. top 50): 17-5 (11-5)

Is this an exaggeration of Kvitova’s impactful run to the Miami final? Maybe. Although she is only 33 years old, the future Hall of Famer looked phenomenal as she won in straight sets, sweeping Belinda Bencic and Anna Rybakina en route to her sixth WTA 1000 crown. Since her Doha loss to Coco Gauff, she has gone 12-3.

During the Sunshine Swing, big hitters got their chance, with Kvitova defeating Rybakina and Sabalenka losing in the finals. So it stands to reason that one of the game’s most revered power hitters would be enjoying a strong season. Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, has been unable to advance past the fourth round in any of her last 10 Slam tournament appearances.

  1. Jessica Pegula

WTA ranking: 3

Tennis Abstract ranking: 4

2023 record (vs. top 50): 20-6 (12-6)

The 29-year-old Pegula is possibly the least likely player in the world to suffer an upset (or second-least probable behind Swiatek), and there is unquestionably competence in reliably making appearances and taking care of one’s own affairs. She is 6-14 all-time versus the players ahead of her on this list, and she has lost 14 of her previous 18 matches against top-10 opponents. It’s tough for her to compete when they’re on top form (and right now, at least three of them are).

  1. Barbora Krejcikova

WTA ranking: 12

Tennis Abstract ranking: 10

2023 record (vs. top 50): 15-6 (10-6)

After an injury-plagued 2022, one of the cleanest ball strikers in the world, the 2021 French Open champion, is back to looking like a top-10 player, if not a top-five player. She won Dubai, moving her up from 30th to 16th in the WTA rankings, and only lost to Sabalenka at both tournaments on the Sunshine Swing.

  1. Maria Sakkari

WTA ranking: 9

Tennis Abstract ranking: 11

2023 record (vs. top 50): 15-7 (10-6)

After a stellar 2022 campaign in which he reached five finals, Sakkari has had a decent but unspectacular 2023, reaching three semifinals and suffering upset defeats at the Australian Open and in Miami. Without many clay-court points to defend, she may be ready to climb the rankings once more, albeit doing so would require Grand Slam victory. She advanced to the semifinals of two Slams in 2021, but in the five Slams since then, she hasn’t even made it past the fourth round.

  1. Coco Gauff

WTA ranking: 6

Tennis Abstract ranking: 9

2023 record (vs. top 50): 15-5 (5-5)

Gauff has recently run into an intriguing wall: she is currently undefeated in 11 straight matches against players ranked outside the top 10, and she has lost six of her last seven matches against players ranked in the top 20. At the French Open, she must protect a sizable number of ranking points. (where she reached the finals a year ago). The time is right for her to rediscover her top-tier fitness level.

  1. Belinda Bencic

WTA ranking: 11

Tennis Abstract ranking: 7

2023 record (vs. top 50): 16-5 (6-4)

The 26-year-old has the finest career stats, with a 79% hold rate (fifth best on tour) and a 34% break rate. (second-best of her career). It’s important to note that she’s only 6-4 in Slams or WTA 1000s, despite having a 16-5 overall record. She has shown flashes of brilliance throughout her career, including an Olympic gold medal in 2021 and three trips to the quarterfinals at the US Open. (the semis once). Despite this, she has only made it to the semifinals of one of the last 23 1000-level tournaments she has entered.

  1. Marketa Vondrousova

WTA ranking: 83

Tennis Abstract ranking: 16

2023 record (vs. top 50): 13-6 (8-3)

Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open title, but was barred from the U.S. for the Sunshine Swing because of current vaccination rules. Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP Photo


  1. Novak Djokovic

ATP ranking: 1

Tennis Abstract ranking: 1

2023 record (vs. top 50): 15-1 (10-1)

After five competitions, he is 20-1. He only lost one set in seven matches at the Australian Open while playing with a torn hamstring muscle. His 2023 return stats aren’t as impressive, but he’s more than made up for it with a terrific serve and a 7-2 record in tiebreakers. When he performs, he is still the game’s ultimate boss, and with COVID limitations easing throughout the world in the coming months, he should play a full tour going forward.

Matches between these two have been cancelled due to Djokovic’s vaccination status and Carlos Alcaraz’s winter injury. The tennis world would benefit greatly from more matches between these two, especially after Alcaraz won their lone meeting in three sets in the Madrid semifinals last year. That ought to take place in the subsequent weeks.

  1. Carlos Alcaraz

ATP ranking: 2

Tennis Abstract ranking: 3

2023 record (vs. top 50): 18-2 (7-2)

In 2023, the average percentage of service breaks for the current ATP top 10 outside of Alcaraz was 24.1%. The current percentage for 19-year-old Alcaraz is 36.5. Alcaraz may be the best (and fastest) return man in the game, even if rusty Djokovic and completely fit Rafael Nadal were engaged. Since returning from injury, he has competed in four events, winning two of them (in Buenos Aires and Indian Wells) and losing the other two (in the final against Norrie in Rio and in the semifinals to him in Miami). (to Sinner in Miami). He went 38 and 7 in set victories.

After being out for over three and a half months, he returned statistically even better than he had been in 2022, the year he won his first Grand Slam (the US Open) and two ATP 1000s (Miami and Madrid) en route to becoming world No. 1.

Oh my goodness. Since Djokovic will not be participating in the Sunshine Swing this year, Alcaraz has a strong argument for being ranked first. It’s still Djokovic, after all.

  1. Daniil Medvedev

ATP ranking: 4

Tennis Abstract ranking: 2

2023 record (vs. top 50): 29-3 (19-3)

Although he was never truly absent, Medvedev has returned. From 2019 to 2022, the 27-year-old made it to the finals of four of the six hard-court Grand Slams, and in 2021, he won the US Open with a clean sweep over Djokovic. In 2022, he was on his way to being crowned “Best on hard courts, even when Djokovic is allowed in the country,” but he wasted a two-set lead to Nadal in the Australian Open final and, with the aid of a spring hernia operation, went into a slump that lasted the rest of the season. Both at the US Open (round four) and the Australian Open (round three) in January, he was eliminated.

However, he has gone on to win at Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai, and Miami since then, and he even made it to the finals in Indian Wells. In Dubai, he swept Djokovic, and in Miami, he beat Jannik Sinner in straight sets.

Medvedev has not yet solved clay, and the surface is currently changing. But at least he has left 2022 behind and returned to his position in 2021.

  1. Jannik Sinner

ATP ranking: 9

Tennis Abstract ranking: 4

2023 record (vs. top 50): 21-5 (7-5)

In the 1960s, when professional and amateur tennis tours were kept separate, a small number of professionals would travel from city to city, playing each other multiple times. For example, Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall faced off 51 times in 1963.

Not that I think we should go back in time, but after seeing Sinner and Alcaraz play, I could see the allure. This came up in conversation with several non-tennis friends this week, and I got a few different versions of the question, “Uh, is tennis always like this and I didn’t realise it?”

The obvious response is that no, it’s not always that way. But their “ping-pong tennis” (in Daniil Medvedev’s words) is amazing to witness, and they’ll be playing these kinds of points for a long time to come if they stay healthy.

Last week in Miami, Sinner defeated Alcaraz by playing Alcaraz’s game, but then he was beaten in straight sets by Medvedev. At age 21, Sinner has established himself as one of the game’s premier shooters. He can improve his flexibility via experience, which could propel him to even greater heights.

  1. Taylor Fritz

ATP ranking: 10

Tennis Abstract ranking: 6

2023 record (vs. top 50): 20-6 (11-4)

Fritz has been able to settle down and focus this year. After losing in the quarterfinals of the Indian Wells tournament in three sets to Sinner, the 25-year-old Californian saw his ATP ranking drop from fifth to tenth. Nonetheless, he is gradually learning to better avoid potholes and is holding his own against other great players (6-6 versus the ATP top 10 over the past year, 2-1 in 2023).

Fritz dropped seven matches in 2022 to players below the top 50, and he started 2023 with a loss to Alexei Popyrin, ranked 113th, in the Australian Open. Aside from a loss to a red-hot Yibing Wu in Dallas, he has won seven of his last eight such matches and advanced to the quarterfinals or better in each of the five tournaments he has entered since Melbourne. That’s how you consistently score in the top 10 every year.

  1. Stefanos Tsitsipas

ATP ranking: 3

Tennis Abstract ranking: 5

2023 record (vs. top 50): 12-4 (5-3)

The 24-year-old first appeared on the circuit in 2017 and has since broken between 19.5% and 21.5% of the time in six of those seven years. In 2021, he had a success rate of 25.5% after winning his first ATP 1000 title and coming within a set of beating Djokovic at the French Open. In 2022, however, he had fallen back to 20.9%. In 2023, he will have a 19.9 percent approval rating.

Tsitsipas has reached a stalemate if she doesn’t start making progress here. Although he is still capable of great things (he reached the final of the Australian Open this year after defeating Sinner and Karen Khachanov), he has been inconsistent and his serve has suffered from a shoulder injury. Since Melbourne, he has a 3-3 record.

  1. Andrey Rublev

ATP ranking: 6

Tennis Abstract ranking: 7

2023 record (vs. top 50): 13-8 (10-6)

One of the safer options in men’s tennis, Rublev has made a name for himself with his slamming strokes and general ferocity. Since 2020, he has advanced to at least the semifinals of four ATP 1000s and the quarterfinals of six of the 10 Grand Slams he has played in. And nine times in those 10 breakthrough competitions, he was eliminated in straight sets. When his serve is on point, he’s nearly unbeatable, but when it’s not, his mediocre return shows itself.

That is to say, the 25-year-old is an extreme No. 7, able to beat anyone on the right day but unable to consistently beat the top names. That led to his greatest two results of 2023: a run to the Australian Open quarterfinals (where he was swept by Djokovic) and a victory in the Tennis Tournament of the (swept by Medvedev).

  1. Cameron Norrie

ATP ranking: 13

Tennis Abstract ranking: 9

2023 record (vs. top 50): 21-5 (6-2)

The 27-year-old was on fire in 2023, winning at least two matches in each of his first five tournaments and went a perfect 5-0 in United Cup and Davis Cup competition before suffering a surprise loss to Gregoire Barrere in Miami. His serve may be a permanent weakness, but his return is world-class, and he is rock-steady on the court. For the past 17 months, he has been in the top 14, and like Rybakina, he would be higher than 13th right now if his best achievement of the past year (Wimbledon semi-finalist) actually counted for points in the ATP rankings.

  1. Karen Khachanov

ATP ranking: 11

Tennis Abstract ranking: 14

2023 record (vs. top 50): 13-6 (7-6)

Round of 16 at the US Open. Semis in the Australian Open. The Miami semis. The 26-year-old Khachanov is still erratic at times, losing three of four after advancing to the semifinals in Melbourne, for example, but he is increasingly making appearances at major tournaments. The clay-court season is over, and he has little points to defend in the ATP rankings.

  1. Holger Rune

ATP ranking: 8

Tennis Abstract ranking: 10

2023 record (vs. top 50): 14-7 (5-4)

After winning Acapulco a month prior, Alex De Minaur was dialled in on this location. Unfortunately, he went 0-2 in the Sunshine Swing. Seven of Frances Tiafoe’s last eight matches against top-20 players ended in defeat, while Felix Auger-Aliassime won six of those matches and Tommy Paul won four. Rune, who had previously won eight of nine matches against such opponents, is eliminated from further consideration. The 19-year-old’s scorching fall performance was out of character for the rest of the year, but he may find his groove in clay.

Notable examples include Auger-Aliassime, Alex De Minaur, Tiafoe, and Hubert Hurkacz, all of whom were close to making the cut. Fifth-ranked Casper Ruud drops to an abysmal 5-6 in 2023, while Nadal won’t return until he proves he is fully recovered from a hip flexor injury suffered at the Australian Open.

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