If there wasn’t a budget cap, we’d all be building teams packed with Andy, Angie, Serena and Novak. But there is a cap and we can’t afford all the superstars. Where else should you be looking at in your quest for Fantasy Tennis League glory? We take a look at the players who won’t break the bank, but will help you wrack up a heap of points.
The solid point scorers:
They might not be known for Grand Slam glory, but these players are consistent performers who are almost guaranteed to top up your points tally.
Timea Babos (value: $6.83m)
Solid. That’s the best way to describe Babos. If you’re looking for a tournament winner then the Hungarian might not be the player for you. However, if you are looking for a proven points scorer then Babos delivers in spades.
Viktor Troicki (value: $6.48m)
If you’re looking for a steady stream of points then Viktor Troicki is your man. The Serb, who has battled his way back inside the Top 30, is a threat to players at all levels and is a consistent presence in the later stages of most tournaments.
Roberta Vinci (value: 6.03m)
The Italian enjoyed one of the best years of her career in 2016, entering the top 10 for the first time at 33 years old. She is a dogged competitor and will fight for every point. Always consistent and extremely good value for any team.
Steve Johnson (value: $5.38m)
American Steve Johnson had a breakout season in 2016, becoming American No.1 for a fleeting period. The big server is a consistent performer who will rack up plenty of points at 500 and 250 level.
Take a punt: Genie Bouchard (value: $6.1m)
A former world No.5, Bouchard lost her way somewhat for 18 months. The signs are promising that the Canadian may be ready to begin the road back towards the top 20.
Picking your Fantasy Tennis League superstars
On the comeback trail
There are a number of players who have a point to prove in 2017 after struggling with injury or form last time around:
Mischa Zverev (value: 4.85m)
The older of the Zverev brothers made a stunning return from injury in 2016. He made the quarterfinals at the Shanghai Masters, where he took a set off Novak Djokovic. Not to mention a semifinal appearance in Basel. If he maintains that form he is great value at 4.85m.
Grigor Dimitrov (value: $8.09m)
It’s been a while since anyone referred to Dimitrov as ‘Baby Fed’ without invoking a little nostalgia, but the Bulgarian is back. After 18 months in the tennis wilderness, Dimitrov enjoyed a stellar second half to his 2016 season and carries a modest price tag for his prodigious talent.
Lucie Safarova (value: $4.03m)
A French Open runner-up in 2015, Safarova suffered from a wretched run of form in 2016. While there are no guarantees about her form, she looks good value at just over $4m.
Alexandr Dolgopolov (value: 4.65m)
The Ukrainian ended his season after the US Open with a back injury. Should he come back and play the tennis that brought him to No.13 in the world, he will be a solid scorer for any team.
Monica Puig (value: $6.6m)
The golden girl of the Olympics, Monica Puig’s unexpected run to Rio glory was one of the highlights of 2016. While the remainder of the season was less spectacular, there’s no doubt that the Puerto Rican has the game and guile to rack up serious points in 2017.
Belinda Bencic (value: $4.46m)
There was a time when Belinda Bencic was the next ‘big thing’ in women’s tennis. A broken finger seemed to be the trigger for a run of injuries that disrupted her progress. If she comes into 2017 100 per cent fit then she’s a value buy.
Grab a bargain: Vasek Pospisil (value $3.15m)
Once upon a time Vasek Pospisil was mentioned in the same breath as Milos Raonic. Injuries took their toll on the Canadian and he’s now languishing outside the top 100. However, with his body starting to play nice, there’s every reason to think Pospisil will be back up there in the near future.
Young and dangerous
Fewer years on tour = lower price tags. If your budget is running low and you fancy backing some young blood, check out these talented teens.
Borna Coric (value: $5.15m)
Coric has been on the radar ever since he walloped Rafa Nadal in Basel back in 2014. The entertaining Croat has been threatening to break through for a season now, and 2016 could well be his year.
Hyeon Chung (value: $2.72m)
It’s been a long time since South Korea had something to cheer about on a tennis court, but they do with Hyeon Chung. With a solid all-round game, the 20-year-old has been steadily climbing up the ATP rankings.
Daria Gavrilova (value: $6.53m)
If the young Aussie can maintain the form that she took into the off-season, there’s every reason to think that 2017 will be a stellar year. A talented counterpuncher, she’s got the game (and attitude) to build a hefty points tally.
Daria Kasatkina (value: $7.26m)
A quiet achiever, Daria Kasatkina has been steadily working her way up the rankings in the past couple of years. After hitting a career-high of 24, the Russian is well-placed to notch up some solid points in 2017.
Karen Khachanov (value: $6.07m)
Burst onto the tour last year claiming his first career title in Chengdu. The 20-year-old reached a career high of 52 in the world in November and without many points to defend early in the year, he is a strong chance to rise into the top 40.
Grab a bargain: Denis Shapovalov (value: $1.8m)
This former junior No.2 made waves at the Rogers Cup when he ousted Nick Kyrgios. Although he is still battling in qualifying on the ATP, expect to see the big-swinging Canadian rack up solid points in 2017.