Gasquet could be the big mover in 2008
Scott's Spot - Scott looks at who the movers and shakers could be amongst the current Top 10 players on the ATP and WTA tours
Instead of trawling through the 50-200 ranked players in order to find the big movers of the year, let's take a look at the top 10s and what I think they will look like come December 08.
1. Roger Federer. He lost nine times in 2007 and still had 1400pts to spare at the top of the rankings. And his main danger allegedly can't put in the legwork to make that step up.
2. Novak Djokovic. Getting ever closer to the top and still improving. Capable on all courts, leaving him more room to gather points. But is he now the hunted?
3. Rafael Nadal. Just three losses on clay in three years (107 wins), but the pack is getting closer. If Ferrer and Nalbandian can beat him indoors, then it's not impossible to see him being pressured on the clay. His chronic foot problems could be just an excuse in advance, or the ailment which may force him to space out his campaign.
4. David Ferrer. A big finish to 2007 on a range of surfaces make him likely to press for Masters Series titles and more.
5. Richard Gasquet. Once he gets his head right, he should be a permanent fixture in the top five. That's no guarantee though.
6. Andy Roddick. There are enough hardcourt events in North America for him to hang onto a ranking like this. Now if he could just do something on clay...
7. Andy Murray. A couple of semi-finals in Grand Slams and a final or two in the Masters Series events should push his ranking nice and high if he can remain fit. No Grand Slam victories just yet, but perhaps Olympic gold?
8. James Blake. Managed just one win last year in three of the four North American Masters Series events. 300 more points and he'd have been ranked one spot higher than this.
9. David Nalbandian. Showed enough at the end of 07 to believe that his knees aren't shot just yet. Had only strung three wins together twice all year before two Masters Series titles. Better than that if his body can hold up.
10. Paul-Henri Mathieu. Stepped up from 55 to 25 last year, and seems to have finally got that Davis Cup disintegration out of his head.
That leaves Davydenko, Gonzalez and Robredo to fall out. I think the burden of the match-fixing allegations will weigh the Russian down, not entirely, but back to a ranking in the low teens, and his tireless schedule must start harming his body soon. Gonzalez is ripe for a fall - replace that Aus Open final appearance with a loss in the quarters and he'd only be ranked 16. He's still not mentally sound enough to hang around at that level in my opinion. Robredo doesn't threaten in enough events to claim a top ten place for any length of time.
Now for the ladies
1. Justine Henin. The only thing threatening her is the perceived frailty of her body. Serena might trouble her a few times per year, but outside of that, she simply dominates the women's tour.
2. Ana Ivanovic. Closing in on the top ranks and the experience of getting close at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the year-end championships will serve her well. Expect to see her regularly in finals this year.
3. Maria Sharapova. Early signs are that her shoulder is back in full working order, which means look out for her opponents.
4. Jelena Jankovic. Has had nasal surgery in the off-season to correct breathing problems. How much can her body put up with? So many events, and so many thrashings by Henin. Not a lot of upside left for her unless she can start winning the big events, and that could be in the mind.
5. Serena Williams. Is talking up a big season by her standards, which means about 14 events. Unless she wins two Slams and stays fit, I can't see her going much higher.
6. Nicole Vaidisova. Plagued by injuries in 2007. Ranked as high as seven previously, she can regain that ranking and more, unless of course the Svengali effect of being engaged to Radek Stepanek turns into a curse.
7. Svetlana Kuznetsova. Just one title win last year, yet ranked two. Lost numerous finals and has plenty of points to defend. Can't possibly take the number one spot, so the only way for her is down unless she develops that killer instinct.
8. Agnes Szavay. Someone flicked a switch in July last year and away she went. Won at least two matches at every event where she reached the main draw, including qualifying runs at the Slams. Now she's not just in the main draw, she will be seeded.
9. Anna Chakvetadze. Impressive run throughout the last 15 months, I doubt there is any further she can go though, she just doesn't appeal as a contender in big tournaments.
10. Amelie Mauresmo. Missed large chunks of 2007 and was terrible after Wimbledon when not fully fit. There's still enough left in her for a return to the top 10 for one more year.
Falling from the top 10 I predict to be Venus Williams, Daniela Hantuchova and Marion Bartoli. Venus relies on winning Wimbledon to achieve a top ten ranking, and that can't happen every year. Hantuchova and Bartoli played so many events last year (27 and 31) that there is very little room for upside in their rankings and I feel both are quite limited in what they are capable of.
What do you think? Have you got a big call to make? Leave your comments below.....