Men’s Tennis on the professional tour in 2018 has resembled men’s tennis on the tour ten years ago, or even five years ago. That is, the first three Grand Slam tournaments of the year have been won by three of the greatest modern-era players: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic. Djokovic is back to his best, while Federer is still reeling from his shock Wimbledon defeat, and Nadal is looking to repeat a fairytale 2017 season. But unlike 2017, Federer is yet to win a Master’s 1000 title, while Nadal has won 2 of them – both on clay.

With 5 Masters titles and 1 Grand Slam left in 2018, let’s take a shot at predictions for each of these prestigious tournaments:

ATP World Tour-BookMyShow

Canadian Masters (August 6)

Defending Champion: Alexander Zverev
Young Zverev, despite his Grand Slam troubles, has scooped up a fair share of Masters 1000 tournaments in the last two seasons. He is a top-2 player when it comes to the best-of-3 format – a strength confirmed when he defeated favorite Federer in last year’s final. This season, however, there will be competition from a host of players looking to tune-up for the US Open. Andy Murray is back to competing professionally, though he might take a while to challenge the big guns again. Given the hard surface, expect the Americans, led by John Isner, to put up a fight. Federer is not playing at Toronto this year, and will instead play on his favorite super-fast Cincinnati surface a week later.
Prediction: Juan Martin Del Potro/Novak Djokovic (winner)

Cincinnati Masters (August 13)

Defending Champion: Grigor Dimitrov
Wisely, Federer has chosen this tournament over the Canadian Masters. Just as well, given his record here. He has won a record 7 titles here. He is difficult to beat on the quick courts and has dismantled everyone from Djokovic to Nadal in his years here. Expect the big servers and power hitters to mount a huge challenge here – the likes of Isner, Anderson, Del Potro, Tsonga and, most of all, Marin Cilic. Djokovic has reached a couple of finals but is yet to win this one – a gap in his star-studded CV, which includes all the other Masters titles.
Prediction: Roger Federer (winner)

ATP World Tour-BookMyShow
Novak Djokovic, Roland Garros 2018, Simple Messieurs, 1/4 de Finale, Photo : Julien Crosnier / FFT

US Open (August 27)

Defending Champion: Rafael Nadal
Given the slowness of the courts in Flushing Meadows, New York last year, expect the grafters like Nadal, Djokovic, and Nishikori to start as favorites. The stroke makers like Federer, Dimitrov, and Thiem might have a hard time in the heat and humidity but will hope for heavier balls to zip through and not bounce as much. Nadal was a surprise winner last year after Federer was dumped out by Del Potro in the quarterfinals in a 4-set classic. The lanky Argentine has a good chance here, except he can’t seem to defeat a fit Nadal on any court as compared to his dominance of Djokovic and Federer in the last few years. It will depend on the draw, of course. But Kevin Anderson’s surprise runs to the Final last year wasn’t a fluke. He is enjoying a second wind and will be favored to go deep again.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic (winner)

Shanghai Masters (October 8)

Defending champion: Roger Federer
There’s a bit of a lull between the end of the US Open and the beginning of the next big tournament a month later. But there are a bunch of Asian-circuit tournaments that will interest a huge chunk of players who will be fighting for ATP Ranking points towards the end of the season. The Beijing Open and the Tokyo Open a week before Shanghai is usually a hot-spot for those looking to get some quick points while trying to make the top-8 for the season-ending World Tour Finals in London. One expects guys like Murray, Raonic, Cilic, Djokovic, Kyrgios, and Nishikori to play the ATP500 tournaments before coming to Shanghai. It’ll be open season in Shanghai because Federer, as well as Nadal, will have recovered from the US Open. It is one of the rare Masters events in which everyone will be fit and looking for the final burst to make London.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic (winner)

Paris Masters (October 29)

Defending Champion: Jack Sock
Sock pulled off a miracle last season when he needed nothing less than a Masters title at the point to, against all odds, make it to the World Tour Finals. This is the point when one expects the older qualified players like Nadal, Federer, Djokovic to sit it out – leaving it open for the ‘best of the rest’ to take flight in Paris. It’ll be hard for Sock to defend his title.
Prediction: Alexander Zverev or Marin Cilic (winner)

ATP World Tour-BookMyShow

ATP World Tour Finals (November 12)

Defending Champion: Grigor Dimitrov
Last season in London was a welcome change from the ‘Big 4’ domination at this event. Nadal lost steam early on, while David Goffin shocked Federer in the semifinals, and Dimitrov powered his way to the biggest title of his career. The Bulgarian has always been ‘the next big thing’. But now well into his twenties, he is yet to reach a Grand Slam Final and has struggled against the big players on the big stage. He will want some luck from the draw again – but there is no escape at a tournament that invites only the top 8 players of the season. Dimitrov will first have to qualify in that bracket. As of now, Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, and Zverev look sure to be there. The other 4 could be between Kevin Anderson, Del Potro, Cilic, Isner, Thiem, and Nishikori. It will all depend on their bodies leading up to the biggest Masters event of the year. By now, many will have dropped out due to injuries or fatigue.
Prediction: Roger Federer/Novak Djokovic (winner)