• New season is new opportunity for Tomic, others

    12/19/12 6:38 PM | Ricky Dimon
    New season is new opportunity for Tomic, others Every year, there will always be surprise success stories on one hand and major disappointments on the other. It's time to take a look and five players who need to get back on track in 2013.

    Bernard Tomic - Tomic reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2011. So when he opened this season by reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open (and the semis of Brisbane before that), huge things were expected of him. Instead, the 20-year-old Aussie spent the rest of his 2012 campaign getting blown out of winnable matches, mired in off-the-court controversy, and failing to give his best effort on the court. It may get worse before it gets better due to big points to defend in January, but talent-wise, there is no reason why Tomic can't get back to the Top 30.

    Ryan Harrison - Like the 52nd-ranked Tomic, Harrison registers at a respectable ranking of 69th. Still, a lot more was expected of the 20-year-old American who had climbed from No. 173 to No. 79 in 2011. A rise of a mere 10 spots is not going to cut it at this point. Harrison started off well enough, but he slumped when he should have been at his best. From the beginning of the U.S. Open Series to the end of 2012, he did not make it past the second round of any event.

    Ernests Gulbis - No player since Gulbis' arrival late in 2007 and throughout 2008 has any player underachieved more, relative to their talent, than the Latvian. A brief hot stretch allowed him to peak as high as No. 21 in the world in 2011, but a disastrous 2012 has him down at 136th. Gulbis dealt with poor play, diminishing motivation, and a series of injuries--all of which led to a sub-.500 17-18 record at the ATP level. The 24-year-old, who compiled a 2-4 record at slams, is skipping Melbourne and will instead take to the Challenger circuit in January. Needless to say, it's a long road back.

    David Nalbandian - Nalbandian finds himself at the other end of the career spectrum, but that doesn't mean he can't be considered a 2012 disappointment. Nor does it mean he is incapable of turning things around next season. The 30-year-old Argentine should be ranked higher than No. 82, but he lost all of his points from a Queen's Club final (could have been a title, as he got defaulted midway through it). Nalbandian won only a single match the entire rest of the season. If he can stay healthy in 2013, a return to prominence is possible.

    John Isner - Isner wasn't a disappointment overall, but he underachieved in a major way at the majors. The 6'9'' American won a mere five matches in four appearances, losing in the third round in Melbourne, second round of the French Open, first round at Wimbledon, and third round in Flushing Meadows. With scalps of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, Isner showed that he can beat the best players in the world. Now he needs to get up for matches he is expected to win--especially at Grand Slams.

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Of those 5, I think Nalbadian and Isner will have the best 2012.

scoot , 12/21/12 4:44 AM

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