Just like any other year of ATP tennis, 2013 has had its fair share of unexpected events. Here is a look at five players who have surpassed expectations and five players who have been major disappointments.
1. Kevin Anderson- The South African is on a tear right now, and every time you think it is going to come to an end, he upsets another high ranked player. He has even posted great results on clay as his ranking reached a career-high of 26 earlier this year. Anderson started the year well with a record of 7-2 down under. Then as he went to the states his continued to play well, reaching the quarterfinals of Delray Beach and Indian Wells. In Indian Wells had his two biggest surprises of the year, defeating Gilles Simon and David Ferrer. On clay, where he has a career record of 15-19, he reached a final in Casablanca and defeated Jerzy Janowicz in Monte Carlo.
2. Tommy Haas- Haas provided us with one of the biggest upsets of the year this year with a win over Novak Djokovic in Miami and has seen his ranking rise to No. 14 in the world. The former No. 2 started the year poorly with a couple of losses down under following a season-opening win over Igor Sijsling. After that, the German went on a tear in the United States, compiling a record of 11-4. Haas reached the round of 16 in Houston, Indian Wells, and Memphis. He reached the semifinals in Delray Beach and Miami and played in the final in San Jose. Haas is now in a very good position to return to the top 10 with a good result in Roland Garros.
3. Tommy Robredo- The former world No. 5 turns 31 tomorrow as he continues his comeback on the ATP world tour. Almost 12 months ago, the Spaniard saw his ranking drop down to 471, but following a quarterfinal appearance in Barcelona last week, his ranking rose to 38. Robredo had a slow start to the year losing five of his first seven matches. But with today's win, he has now won nine of his last ten to bring his record on the year to 15-9. Robredo's ranking has risen 71 spots already this year.
4. Horacio Zeballos- Zeballos provided the biggest surprise in the tennis world since Lukas Rosol beat Rafael Nadal in Wimbledon by winning the title in Vina del Mar with a three-set win over Nadal. It took Zeballos almost three hours, but the Argentine came back from a set down to hand Nadal his first loss on a red clay court since 2011 in Rome.
5. Daniel Brands- Brands has not had an easy road this year to reaching No. 69 in the world at this points. The German has had to fight his way through qualifiers in every tournament he has played except for Bucharest last week. However, Brands has reached the main draw of every tournament he has competed in, and only needed one lucky loser. Brands is 15-1 in qualifiers this year and 9-8 in the main draws of tournaments. His best result came in Doha where he reached the semifinals with wins over Chardy and Monfils. He has also defeated Klizan, Youzhny, and Baghdatis, while improving his ranking 86 spots from 153 to a season-high of 67.
Honorable Mention: Fabio Fognini
1. Roger Federer- It has been a rough start to the year for Federer. The GOAT has failed to reach a final at any tournament so far this year. He only has one win and three losses to players in the top 10 on tour this year. He may be the No. 2 in the world right now, but it doesn't feel like it. Of all the players in the top 10, he is having the second worst season so far, which is far worse than we expected from the 17-time grand slam champion. His low point this year came in a quarterfinal loss to Julien Benneteau and there is nothing to suggest that he will be able to turn it around any time soon. Federer lost in the quarterfinals to Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells before opting not to play in Maimi or Monte Carlo.
2. Janko Tipsarevic- If you were wondering who in the top 10 is having a worse season than Federer, it is Janko Tipsarevic. He is lower on the list than Federer only because expectations for Tipsarevic were not nearly as high as they were for the GOAT, yet he still fell way short. Tipsarevic has a record of 10-8, which actually isn't bad for someone who went on a five-match losing streak. The Serb won the title in Chennai, but after that failed to reach the quarterfinals of seven events in a row. He finally ended the streak with a win over Santiago Giraldo in his first match in Bucharest before promptly losing to 87-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the next round. Tipsarevic is the No. 1 seed in Munich this week, so he has an opportunity to turn the season around, but if he misses this one, he may never see the top 10 again.
3. Juan Monaco- The Argentine has already had his ranking drop eight spots already this year, starting the year at 12 and dropping to 20. Monaco started the year cold as ice with five first round losses in his first five tournaments. Monaco has begun to find his groove, getting his record this season back up to .500, but that is not something to celebrate for a top 20 player, who has tons of points to defend coming up soon. Last year, Monaco proved he wasn't just a clay specialist by making his way to the top 10 following a semifinal appearance in Miami. However, this year, all nine of his wins have come on clay.
4. Alexandr Dolgopolov- Get ready to see the Ukrainian's ranking plummet over the next five months. Dolgopolov has over half of his points in just two tournaments, and less than 15% of all the points he has right now are from this year. Dolgopolov has already had his ranking drop five spots, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Dolgopolov is 5-7 in tournaments this year and four of his losses came to players outside of the top 50. Dolgopolov has not beat anyone ranked in the top 40 all year. It looks like his funky style isn't fooling anybody anymore. This could be a serious problem for Dolgopolov for his whole career. If his style doesn't fool anybody, then it might be time for him to reinvent himself.
5. John Isner- I remember reading an article on Isner around this time last year that claimed that he had a shot to win Roland Garros in 2012. That idea now is even more ridiculous than it was back then. Isner was struggling with a serious lack of motivation to begin the year, but it looks like he might finally be turning that around now. Isner has lost five first round matches this year, including a few weeks ago in Monte Carlo. However, at the beginning of April, Isner showed us that he might turn this season around and make his way back into the top 20. Isner won five solid matches in Houston for his first title of the year. He started the tournament with wins over young fellow countrymen Jack Sock and Ryan Harrison. Then he backed that up by cooling down the red hot Ricardas Berankis. He finished the week with his first two wins of the season over top 20 players in Juan Monaco and Nicolas Almagro to win the title.