Top 25: July 15

With a second Serena Slam done and dusted, Serena Williams can now turn her attention to completing the calendar-year Grand Slam. Her fellow No. 1 and dancing partner Novak Djokovic also triumphed at Wimbledon, putting behind him the disappointment of the French Open.

They, unsurprisingly, lead the way in this month’s Top 25. (For our previous rankings, click here.)

1. Serena Williams (Previous: 1)

For Williams, the turning point at Wimbledon came when she survived Heather Watson in the third round. From then on, her level soared. The Serena Slam, a 21st major, and becoming the oldest woman in the Open era to claim a Grand Slam title made for a trio of outstanding accomplishments. Bring on New York.

2. Novak Djokovic (Previous: 2)

He suffered a demoralizing loss at the French Open and didn’t contest a Wimbledon tune-up. None of that stopped Djokovic at his second most successful Grand Slam. The Serb has two majors in one season for the first time since 2011, and he’ll be expected to match his haul of three from four years ago come the U.S. Open.

3. Roger Federer (Previous: 7)

Federer will be 34 next month. Federer will be 34 next month. Federer will be 34 next month. That’s worth repeating. He can still produce absolute magic. After one of his finest Wimbledon performances in the semifinals, he pushed Djokovic in the final, too. The turning point might have been when he dropped serve in the first set after breaking for 4-2. Rest up, Roger.

4. Garbine Muguruza (Previous: 19)

Was Muguruza due for an extended outing at a major? Yes. She’d had a history of pulling off upsets at Grand Slams, and it was only a matter of time before the consistency kicked in. The well-grounded Spaniard was also saying all the right things before and after losing the Wimbledon final to Williams.

5. Maria Sharapova (Previous: 5)

How Sharapova must have willed Watson on when the British baseliner was two points from upsetting Williams. Had the American exited, Sharapova might have been the one holding the Venus Rosewater dish for a second time. But we all know what ended up happening. It’s 17 straight losses, and counting.

6. Andy Murray (Previous: 4)

If Murray has the opportunity to play Federer at Wimbledon again, safe to say he won’t choose to receive first if given the choice—the Scot dropped serve to end each set. But with Federer serving perfectly, Murray’s task was made much more difficult. It’s still a huge disappointment for Murray, who came into Wimbledon probably playing the best tennis of his career.

7. Stan Wawrinka (Previous: 3)

As last Wednesday developed at the All England Club, it looked like we’d have two dream men’s semifinals featuring the ATP Top 4. Wawrinka, however, blew a 2-1 lead in sets to a player not exactly known for his mental toughness, Richard Gasquet. There were far too many errors from Wawrinka and out went his (great) chance to land in a maiden Wimbledon semifinal.

8. Timea Bacsinszky (Previous: 8)

Grass wasn’t supposed to be Bacsinszky’s surface, and the Swiss didn’t contest any turf tournaments prior to Wimbledon. But by reaching the quarterfinals at SW19 and overcoming a foe who had given her trouble in the past, Monica Niculescu, it ensured a continuation of her excellent 2015 form.

9. Victoria Azarenka (Previous: 14)

Sharapova must be sick of seeing Williams in her section of draws, especially at Grand Slams. The same can be said of Azarenka. She gets close to Williams, but as we’ve seen, applying the knockout punch is hugely difficult. Her ranking will keep on climbing, which will mean facing Williams far deeper into tournaments. The sport will benefit.

10. Lucie Safarova (Previous: 6)

On the heels of making the French Open final, Safarova didn’t exactly capitulate at Wimbledon. Having downed Sloane Stephens, I thought she’d done the hard part and would appear in the quarterfinals. But failing to serve out the first set against CoCo Vandeweghe cost her in the round of 16. Top 25: July 15 Top 25: July 15


11. Agnieszka Radwanska (Previous: Unranked)

She’s long been a fan favorite, so it was nice to see the Pole recover on the grass and especially at Wimbledon. Losing to Muguruza in the semifinals was no shame—that match is always on the Spaniard’s racket. But let’s hope Radwanska can maintain her momentum on the hard courts.

12. Kei Nishikori (Previous: 9)

Nishikori can’t stay away from injuries, which may not be a surprise given his frame and high-impact game. The fans at the All England Club were thus deprived of seeing the Japanese baseliner’s tremendous shot making after just one match. Top 25: July 15 Top 25: July 15

  1. Richard Gasquet (Previous: Unranked)

Okay, so we all knew that Gasquet had virtually no chance of beating Djokovic in the semifinals at Wimbledon. And so it proved, even with the Serb far from superb form. But making a second Wimbledon semi was a fine achievement for someone who has been bothered by injuries in the past year.

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  1. Gilles Simon (Previous: Unranked)

Gilles, nice to have you back in a Grand Slam quarterfinal. When he made the last eight in southwest London, it ended a drought dating back to 2009 for the ever playful Frenchman. Simon didn’t claim a set off Federer, but he can at least say he was the player who first broke the world No. 2’s serve during the fortnight. Top 25: July 15 Top 25: July 15


15. Marin Cilic (Previous: Unranked)

I’m one of those who thinks Cilic’s win at the U.S. Open was no fluke. When his game is working, he’s a handful for anyone. (Mind you, I also thought he’d test Djokovic at Wimbledon). His 2015 disrupted because of shoulder issues, the Croatian’s quarterfinal showing at Wimbledon suggests more is to come this summer.

16. Kevin Anderson (Previous: Unranked)

Every player who wins a Grand Slam title seemingly has one match—at least—where they’re pushed to the limit. Anderson did that to Djokovic in the fourth round. One of the game’s hardest workers, Anderson continues to make steady progress in the rankings.

17. CoCo Vandeweghe (Previous: Unranked)

Did Vandeweghe have a point when she criticized Sharapova after their quarterfinal? Probably not. But stirring up the crowd and taking the five-time Grand Slam champion to a third set made for entertaining stuff. Vandeweghe had a tougher draw than fellow American youngster Madison Keys to get to the quarterfinals, upsetting both Safarova and another Czech, Karolina Pliskova.

18. Madison Keys (Previous: Unranked)

As mentioned, the draw was kind to Keys at Wimbledon. No one would argue there. But for a player not particularly in form, advancing to the quarterfinals—after reaching the semis in Melbourne—is another positive development for the 20-year-old. Top 25: July 15 Top 25: July 15

19. Petra Kvitova (Previous: 13)

Oh, Petra. The defending champion said she wasn’t 100 percent physically after suffering a bad loss to Jelena Jankovic at Wimbledon. Kvitova, though, still led by a set and break. She was cruising. And the bottom half of the draw was there for the taking. Will she ever find consistency?

20. Tomas Berdych (Previous: 15)

Losing in the fourth round at Wimbledon to Simon when the grass-court conditions favored the Czech was bad enough. Then the first question he gets asked during his press conference is, “Do you feel in good shape going into the quarterfinals?” He was none too happy. Nor should he be happy with his game.

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21. Ivo Karlovic (Previous: Unranked)

The British press tried to make an almighty fuss about Karlovic’s double-hit against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round. It was purely unintentional, and in any case, if the chair umpire thought the Croat did something wrong, he should have called it. Tsonga, to his credit, didn’t dwell on the incident. Karlovic’s fourth-round showing followed his record-setting performance in Halle, when he struck 45 aces in a best-of-three set match.

22. Carla Suarez Navarro (Previous: 12)

After such an uplifting start to the season, please don’t fade, Carla. Like Simona Halep, Suarez Navarro can win matches at WTA events but is struggling at the majors, falling in the first round of the Australian Open, the third round at Roland Garros, and first round at Wimbledon—capturing but two games against a newly turned 18-year-old making her Grand Slam debut, Jelena Ostapenko.

23. Rafael Nadal (Previous: 18)

Since winning last year’s French Open, Nadal hasn’t gotten past the quarterfinals at any Grand Slam tournament. Low on confidence and competing at the major where he’s been on the receiving end of some huge upsets made for a wicked combination, which was perfect for Dustin Brown, his latest Wimbledon conqueror. Is the question, ‘Can he recover?’ instead of, ‘When will he recover?’

24. Simona Halep (Previous: 17)

Quite simply, when it comes to majors, Halep can’t handle the occasion. Jana Cepelova’s ranking had fallen outside the Top 100, she hadn’t won a main-draw match since Charleston, and fell in the first round of qualifying at both Nottingham and Birmingham. But her form was plenty good enough to dispatch Halep, the third seed, in the first round. She might not have felt comfortable with coach Wim Fissette in 2014, but the results were there. Top 25: July 15 Top 25: July 15


  1. Vasek Pospisil (Previous: Unranked)

The likeable Canadian was the marathon man of Wimbledon, winning three five-setters in singles. It more than softened the blow of losing in the third round in doubles as the defending champion (with Jack Sock). It’s a pity injury rules him out of this weekend’s Davis Cup clash in Belgium.

Dropped out: Ana Ivanovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, David Ferrer, Sloane Stephens, Sara Errani, Karolina Pliskova, Jack Sock, Elina Svitolina, John Isner.

Ravi Ubha (@RaviUbha) is a freelance journalist and broadcaster who has written for ESPN, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.