The 2023 ATP season was a special one, but a huge reason for this – and there is no secret about one player who will make this year’s Mount Rushmore in men’s tennis – is that Novak Djokovic won three more Grand Slams and won another ATP Finals. Because of the majors Djokovic won, he is now the sole all-time leader with 24 Grand Slam victories. But aside from Djokovic, who else will be on the 2023 ATP Mount Rushmore?
Before I go there, a couple of honorable mentions. Daniil Medvedev is not on this list. He is a great player who could win a few more Grand Slams, but I am not sure his personality, or more importantly, his nationality, allows him to elevate the sport. Because of the war with Ukraine, Russian players are not allowed to attach their flag to the names and that causes confusion with some tennis fans.
I am also pretty sure I might not ever have Alexander Zverev on a list like the one that follows. His off-court issues are such that he might always have a blemished name. While we can hope any domestic violence situations did not occur, there have also been multiple allegations.
But who is on the 2023 Mount Rushmore of men’s tennis? I offer these four suggestions.
Four players, including Djokovic, that make up the ATP’s Mount Rushmore for 2023
OK, as I said, this one is obvious. Not only did Novak Djokovic lose just one Grand Slam this year, he also did so in a five-setter to Carlos Alcaraz. The Serb cemented his year-end No. 1 ranking with one match win at the ATP Finals. He reached 400 combined weeks (and counting) atop the ATP rankings, likely on his way to nearly 100 more weeks than any other player ever. The biggest question is how more majors Djokovic will win in his career, further setting an all-time high beyond his current 24.
The 20-year-old overtook Djokovic for number 1 for a number of weeks in 2023. He did get a little help due to the Serb not being able to play in some tournaments last year and Wimbledon not awarding points in 2022, but there is no reason to detract from Alcaraz’s greatness early in 2023. Though he did not win a tournament after Wimbledon in July, he still finished the year as the clear number 2 in the ATP rankings and he won a career-high six titles, second only to Djokovic.
I realize Rafael Nadal did not play a tournament after January, but the reason he is still on the ATP Mount Rushmore is every move he makes still makes huge headlines. His name is more important than almost any other player and tennis fans are going to care about his comeback more than they care about a random tournament or three. Thankfully, Nadal’s return this coming January is going to be one of the major stories in tennis in early 2024.
No player, not even Djokovic, finished on a higher note than the Italian. Sinner won three ATP tournaments after July, but he also was the biggest reason Italy won the Davis Cup. Twice in late November, Sinner defeated Djokovic and he will be a force on the ATP in 2024. He could potentially even rise to number 1 should he continue the form he finished the year with.