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As the 2023 ATP Tour season draws to a close, we ponder the future of the mens game.

Who are the players that are planting their flag in the ground to stake their claim to take over the top billing from arguably the greatest of all time who will turn 37 next May.

I’m going to break it down for you and give you the 5 athletes who can really elevate and start a power shift that is real. Djokovic has won 7 of the last 12 majors competed and been in the final in 9 of the last 12. Not a power shift that is just spoken about, but dethroning the Serbian's strangehold of making grand slam finals.

Carlos Alcaraz

A great year from Alcaraz by normal standards but expectations for this guy are anything but normal. A French Open disaster where he was slow out of the gates against Djokovic in the semi, only to play breathtaking tennis to win the second set. Minutes later it’s full body cramps that ruin his campaign.

He bounces back beautifully a few weeks later and lands the Wimbledon crown over Djokovic after another disastrous start. It was expected that a dominant second half of the year would be his, It wasn’t. Injury issues, erratic performances and a surprising semi final US Open loss to Medevedev derailed his campaign.

He couldn’t win the big matches. He was punished again in the semis by Djokovic at the ATP Finals. Huge expectations in the Alcaraz camp. Disappointing second half of the year and needs to get his body right. Has the power, has the speed, has the all court game. Still the top prospect to dethrone Djokovic.

Jannik Sinner

The Grand Slam puzzle has been a work in progress, making the quarter finals of all the majors heading into this year, where he stepped up the reach the semis of Wimbledon.

If the second half of his 2023 season is anything to go by then 2024 could be the year he knocks the gate down as the Darren Cahill effect is really gaining momentum, rising into the top four in the rankings.

Sinner has been on a tear since the US Open and you get the feeling that the confidence gained during that time if taken into 2024 could be the catalyst for Sinner to climb even higher. Beat Djokovic twice in the last month.

The only step to take is over five sets in the biggest matches. Seems ready.

Holger Rune

The Dane remains in the Top 10 and has all the physical attributes necessary to win Major trophies. His very best is good enough but in the second half of the 2023 season you never knew which Rune was showing up to the court.

Was it going to be the agitated, combative and petulant youngster or was it going to be the world class powerhouse that seems destined to compete for Slams and the #1 world ranking.

Needs to become more settled in 2024. Too much noise around him with his team and hopefully the addition of Boris Becker as the head coach can bring some stability and positive habits to the ambitious Dane. He is a real challenger to the throne.

Ben Shelton

Shelton exploded in 2023. A Quarter Final in Melbourne and a Semi Final in New York moves the ranking up the charts quickly. Played flawless tennis in October to win the Japan Open and with a monster lefty serve, big ground strokes off both sides, solid net game combined with first class athleticism, the total package is there.

Has the stability in his coaching team with his father Bryan in the main seat. It is all there for Shelton to make his move towards the Top 5. Has proven he can play over the long 5 set format.

Consistency in 2024 week in week out will be the key but Shelton well and truly deserves his standing here. Has the arsenal to unseat Djokovic and brings charisma and showstopper action. Scary matchup and you want to avoid him at all costs.

Sebastian Korda

Korda is probably one that will raise a few eyebrows. But go through the Top 25 and you tell me who is going to trouble Djokovic come the 2024 season. Most have had ample opportunity and at what point on Tour does a player plateau.

A player will tell you who they are after a few solid seasons. Korda is only getting started and he is scarily talented. It was on display in Melbourne 2023 when he picked apart and destroyed Medvedev on Rod Laver Arena.

That was a warning sign that when Korda can find some consistency of performance week in week out the sky is the limit.

Took out Shelton in Shanghai on a semi final run at Masters 1000 level and with some physical work in the off season an even better Korda will be ready for 2024. Tall and athletic, aggressive attacking style and a natural mover. Has the tools and package to be a major mover in 2024 and climb towards Djokovic territory.

The offseason is about to begin. But just as it ends preparations are in place for 2024.

For all players Djokovic dominates their thinking. How can I crack the Serbian puzzle?

But it is these five that are the next ones to go full throttle in 2024 to unseat the 24 time major champion. Djokovic knows exactly who they are. He knows they are coming for him.

They are super talented and super athletic. These are the ones to keep an eye on come 2024 who provide the most upside to unseating Djokovic in the big matches and the ATP Tour top spot.


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