After over a decade of Russian dominance on the women’s side, the ATP tour witnessed a revolution of its own in 2021, culminating in four Russian men finishing inside the Top 30—the most since the days of Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin.

“We have better and better players like rising up and being closer to Top 10,” noted Karen Khachanov this fall. “I think that's one of the best years again for Russian tennis to shine again. That's just great.”

Led by US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, the quartet can boast major titles, Olympic medals, and showed phenomenal synergy to book-end the year with team victories at the ATP Cup and Davis Cup.

Looking ahead to the new year, let’s power rank the Top 4 Russian men by who is most likely to succeed:

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Khachanov was one of one of five Russian medalists at Tokyo Olympics when he won a silver in men's singles.

Khachanov was one of one of five Russian medalists at Tokyo Olympics when he won a silver in men's singles.

4. Karen Khachanov (No. 29)

Khachanov rounds out the foursome, ranked just inside the Top 30—having been ranked as high as No. 8 in 2019.

The 25-year-old undeniably peaked at the Tokyo Olympics, where he guaranteed himself a medal with an emphatic win over Pablo Carreño Busta. Coming away with a silver medal, Khachanov appeared poised for a major push after narrowly missing out on the Wimbledon semifinals, falling in five sets to Denis Shapovalov.

Instead, he won back-to-back matches just three more times in 2021, enduring a five-set loss in the first round of the US Open to Lloyd Harris.

Khachanov is a wonder to watch at his best, but his extreme forehand grip buckles too often when out of position, and at 6’6” is far from the most natural mover.

Still, the Muscovite has proven potent on all surfaces with quarterfinal runs at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and can only move up in 2022 thanks to his Olympic result earning him no ATP ranking points. All of that makes him one of the more dangerous third-round opponents for the game’s best—provided he gets there.

Rublev earned a slew of new fans with his blistering ground game and comedic personality.

Rublev earned a slew of new fans with his blistering ground game and comedic personality.

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3. Andrey Rublev (No. 5)

Whether or not Khachanov’s charismatic countryman had an amazing season all depends on what one values. At 24 years old, he won an emotional Olympic gold medal in mixed doubles with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, reached his first two Masters 1000 finals, and ended his individual season at the Nitto ATP Finals for a second straight year.

For all those “un-bweh-lievable” successes, there was plenty about Rublev’s second half of 2021 that was left lacking, especially after his Monte Carlo breakthrough and epic win over Rafael Nadal.

Rather than focus on a deep run at Roland Garros, Rublev raced right to Barcelona the following week and never quite looked the same despite a runner-up finish in Cincinnati four months later. On the brink of breaking out of the round-robin stage in Turin, he lost to Casper Ruud—a player he’d led 4-0—from a set up. With significant points to defend from the start of next season, he will have to hit the ground running to maintain his career-high ranking.

Though his results ebbed and flowed, his quirky personality remained a constant, making many feel hopeful he does just that.

The ever-serious Karatsev had plenty to smile about after a scintillating 2021—might he have an even happier 2022?

The ever-serious Karatsev had plenty to smile about after a scintillating 2021—might he have an even happier 2022?

2. Aslan Karatsev (No. 18)

The ATP’s Most Improved Player will start 2022 at the site of his greatest career success, and the pressure to replicate his Happy Slam semifinal run will make it hard for the sometimes-sullen Karatsev to smile.

Those who knew Karatsev when he was an unknown qualifier were less surprised by his fairytale fortnight than by how long it took the former prodigy to get there. Blessed with easy power and supported by two enormous calves, the Russian managed to maintain a great deal of his Melbourne level, such that those 745 points make up well under half his ranking total.

Winning two titles in Dubai and Moscow, Karatsev is among the few to perform on an elite level across all three disciplines, reaching two doubles finals with Rublev and pairing Elena Vesnina to finish runner-up at Roland Garros and the Olympic mixed event.

A year of big matches ought to help him fill in some of his patchier results and reverse the scorelines that got away from him in 2021, including a five-set defeat to Jenson Brooksby at the US Open. Though it’s tough to picture a second straight semifinal Down Under, Karatsev could win the long game over Rublev and find himself pushing towards the Top 10 this time next year.

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With a US Open title under his belt, Medvedev is in a class of his own as he eyes the overall ATP No. 1 ranking.

With a US Open title under his belt, Medvedev is in a class of his own as he eyes the overall ATP No. 1 ranking.

1. Daniil Medvedev (No. 2)

It speaks to just how stellar Medvedev’s year was that he can even stand as a credible Player of the Year candidate against a rival who won three of the season’s four major titles. Novak Djokovic can boast a 27-1 record at the majors, but Medvedev was a clean clay swing away from wresting the No. 1 ranking away from the vaunted Serb, who is yet to explicitly declare his intent to play in Australia.

All but unstoppable on hard courts, Medvedev has his own points to defend early in 2022, but like Karatsev can make in-roads on the specialty surfaces that threatened to derail his season. From giving him fits in the spring, he made peace with the terre battue long enough to reach the Roland Garros quarterfinals, and a more mature approach ought to see him go even deeper in the future.

How will Medvedev deal with the pressure of playing as a major champion? If his fall record is anything to go by, it appears not too much has changed for the philosophical 25-year-old, who can still be pugnacious when the mood strikes.

“Everything I do on the court is what I feel at this moment, so it's real,” he said at Davis Cup. “People should like it then.”

By far the best of his countrymen, Medvedev won’t have to worry about remaining Russian No. 1 if he is able to top the entire ATP rankings.