As well as a personal trainer in London, I’m a big fan of tennis, both to play and to watch. I love following the fortunes of the world’s top ten, and there’s been a lot of ‘changing of the guard’ in the last couple of years, with the retirement of Roger Federer, the near-retirement of Rafa Nadal, and the rise of Carlos Alcaraz.
Behind every great player there is a great coach (and these days, an entire coaching team including fitness coaches and mental coaches). Here’s a snapshot of the current ATP top ten ranked male players and their coaches:
One – Carlos Alcaraz (SPAIN)
The meteoric rise of Carlos Alcaraz has taken the tennis world by storm. Aged just 20, he has already got two Grand Slam titles under his belt, the US Open in 2022 and Wimbledon 2023. His coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, is a former world number 1, and won the French Open 2003 and 16 ATP Tour titles in his career.
Two – Novak Djokovic (SERBIA)
Arguably the greatest of all time (although Federer and Rafa fans would disagree), Djokovic is still going strong at 36 years old. A consummate professional, he is meticulous in practice, fitness training and nutrition, and he probably has at least another couple of years at the top of the game.
Novak’s coach is the Croatian Goran Ivanisevic, 2001 Wimbledon champion, who has helped Novak develop an incredible serve. Marian Vajda was Novak’s long-time coach, then Goran joined the coaching team, until Goran took over as sole coach in March 2022.
Three – Daniil Medvedev (RUSSIA)
The mercurial and dry-humoured Medvedev, 2021 US Open champion, holds 20 ATP Tour singles titles. He was world number 1 in February last year, and is keen to return to the top spot.
Daniil’s coach is the Frenchman Gilles Cervara, who has been hitting-partner to several top players over the years.
Four – Holger Rune (DENMARK)
Fresh-faced Holger Rune (who looks very much like the cartoon character Tintin) has risen fast in the last couple of years, thanks to his fanatical dedication and natural talent. He has won 4 ATP singles titles but has yet to win a Grand Slam.
Holger’s coach for 6 months up to May of this year was one of the world’s best coaches, Patrick Moratoglou, and Holger trains at The Moratoglou academy in the French Riviera. Moratoglou has a stunning CV, having coached Simona Halep and Serena Williams. His academy, just outside Nice, is regarded as one of the best in the world.
Five – Casper Ruud (NORWAY)
Yet to win a Grand Slam (he has been runner-up at the French Open 2022, the US Open 2022, and this year’s French Open), Ruud has ten ATP Tour titles to his name.
Casper is coached by his father Christian Ruud and also fellow Norwegian Joachim Bjerke.
Who are the other contenders in the top 10?
The Italian Jannik Sinner is number 6, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece is number 7, Andrey Rublev of Russia is number 8, and the Americans Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe take the next two spots.
What’s good to see in the current top ten is the broad spread of eight different countries represented. Interesting to note that there are no Frenchmen in the current top 10.
I suspect that in the next 5-10 years we will see representation from China in the top 10, an ambitious country whose government is starting to invest seriously in professional tennis, and in grassroots tennis which now has over 30,000 tennis courts across the country. (For comparison, the UK has 24,000 tennis courts as at 2018/19, according to the LTA). Two Chinese male players (Zhang Zhizhen and Wu Yibing) just squeezed into the ATP top 100 in the last 2 years. India currently has no male tennis players in the ATP top 100, due to lack of investment and poor tennis infrastructure in India.
(Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London and an online nutrition coach)