Here’s some non-breaking news: Professional tennis players play the sport to make money. We know that Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, and Iga Swiatek aren’t hurting for lunch money. But based on the latest WTA and ATP rankings, Alexei Popyrin and Clara Burel are on their way to buying your dinner one day too.
On the ATP side, Alexei Popyrin had the biggest rankings rise. He moved up 33 spots to move to number 57. Much of this is due to Popyrin brilliant play at the Croatia Open last week on his way to winning the title in a 6-7 6-3 6-4 victory over Stan Wawrinka in the final.
The 23-year-old Popyrin remained calm in maybe the biggest win of his life. He should have won the final in two sets as he was clearly the better player in the first set, but due to a few key mistakes, Wawrinka took the set. That Popyrin was able to collect himself and come back to dominate the final two sets likely speaks volumes about his future.
Alexei Popyrin and Clara Burel are the biggest rankings risers of the week
He has a great forehand and his serve is already powerful and will likely improve. He now has two tour wins, but the last came in 2021 on a hard court. After winning the Croatia Open on clay and after playing well enough to make the round of 16 at the ATP Masters in Rome before losing to seventh-ranked Holger Rune in three tough sets, he should have a lot of confidence heading into 2024’s clay court season.
As far as Clara Burel goes, she’s been on a bit of a run in July. The 22-year-old started the month by winning the ITF/Tennis Europe, followed by making it to the quarterfinals in the 34 Palermo Ladies Open, and then lost in the finals of the Ladies Open in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was the second time she reached the final in Lausanne.
She still has a ways to go to make her game more versatile, but the bounce up 23 spots to number 61 on the WTA should give her some confidence. She’s also young enough to grow her game and become a dangerous player on the tour.