If anyone were to make a prediction for who would be in the top ten at the end of the 2017 season this time last year, nobody would get it right. For starters, nearly everyone would’ve thought that Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic would be at the top of those rankings, and they both ended up outside the top ten entirely. People also wouldn’t have predicted just how strong a comeback Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal would make from their respective injuries. With those comebacks in mind, here I will attempt to answer the question, should we be expecting a similar type of comeback from Novak Djokovic in 2018?
This is a tricky question. Djokovic blamed injuries for his lackluster performance in 2017, which is what makes this very tough to predict. On one hand, if Djokovic truly was playing poorly only due to his injuries then he has a very good chance to return to form in 2018. On the other hand, it’s possible that Djokovic was slowing down with age, and honestly, it looked to me as if he had lost his mental edge starting in 2016. This brings me to my answer.
I personally don’t think Djokovic will ever return to the level of play we saw from him from 2011-2016. However, I do think he will come back and be highly competitive again. Next year I think will be split between Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic in terms of who dominates. I believe he will certainly return to the top ten, and I think there’s a very high chance he returns to the top five, likely three.
That being said, in terms of winning majors, I can’t see him winning over one. Honestly, I’d be surprised if a single player wins multiple majors in 2018. I realize it was largely because the big four were hurt, but I’m starting to feel a push coming from the younger men on tour now. There’s so much young talent on tour. I think the ultra-dominance we’ve seen from the likes of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic has to come to an end soon, and it will start with a push from the young guys. If there’s one thing that I do know, it’s that It will be exciting to have Djokovic back in the mix in 2018 and I look forward to watching his comeback.