Speed makes a big difference in tennis, especially in the modern game. Players must track down balls and keep long rallies going to survive in a game that now takes place almost exclusively at the baseline.
Who are the fastest players on tour right now? It is tough to find a truly definitive answer, but the list below should be pretty accurate. Whether backed up by numbers or simply watching them play, speed around the court is one of the greatest strengths a player can have.
10. Grigor Dimitrov
Grigor Dimitrov has always taken fitness very seriously while on the ATP Tour. Known early in his career as “Baby Federer,” he has never quite lived up to those expectations. With that said, he is a better athlete than Federer was, and his top-end speed is very much deserving of a top ten spot right now.
If Dimitrov is ever going to put it all together and make a Grand Slam run, it will come down to his all-court coverage. He has the weapons to catch fire and be one of the more dangerous players on tour, and his underrated speed will be one of the major reasons he turns a corner if he does.
9. Guido Pella
One of the more overlooked players on tour right now, Guido Pella has put together a nice career that has helped him get as high as number 20 in the world.
He has only had one true stand-out performance at a Grand Slam event, reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2019. With that said, he can almost entirely thank his speed for the reason why he is playing at this high of a level.
Guido Pella does not have the shots as some of the other top players out there, but he tracks down everything. He is a relentless competitor who is always trying to extend a point, which allows him to beat players that he normally could not.
8. Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic is probably not as fast now as he was at the prime of his career athletically. That does not mean that he drops off his list entirely, but his highlight reel days might be over.
His speed on the court has always been a calling card, as he uses his quickness and flexibility to get to balls that very few others can. He does extremely well on returns, and his full-court coverage is a thing of beauty.
Anticipation also plays a huge role in his ability to appear faster in court than he might be. This drives opponents insane, as he gets to balls that very few others have a chance at.
7. Fabio Fognini
Fabio Fognini was never supposed to be this good at tennis. Known as a late bloomer, he kept on grinding on tour and focused on the little things to get him to where he is today. At age 33, he is still very much in his prime, and he is hoping to get back into the top 10 in 2021.
How has he been able to pull off a late-career resurgence? His speed and movement have not dropped off at all, so once he got the mental aspect of the game down, he started to see better results.
He is always going to be a pesky counterpuncher who seemingly gets to everything, but his focus on putting the ball where it needs to be has opened up a ton of opportunities for him in the last few years.
6. Rafael Nadal
Has Rafael Nadal lost a step throughout the years? Even his biggest fans would say that he has. Does that mean he is not one of the fastest players on tour? Not by any means. At his peak, many had him listed as the fastest player in the world, especially on his favorite clay surface.
He might not be able to track as many balls down as he did at the beginning of his career, but he still has outstanding court coverage and is nearly impossible to pass at times.
His ability to anticipate shots and change directions helps out tremendously. He also is one of the best clay-court sliders the game has ever seen, which allows him to appear even faster on that surface.
5. Dominic Thiem
The Grand Slam breakthrough finally happened for Dominic Thiem, as he was the winner of the 2020 U.S. Open. Focus mostly lands on his outstanding groundstrokes and his dominating one-handed backhand, but it was his speed and stamina that propelled him to victory in a five-set title match against Alexander Zverev.
Thiem is another one of those players who slide very well and growing up on clay helped him tremendously. He has improved a lot in controlling the game with more variety, which could open up other Grand Slam opportunities down the road.
4. David Goffin
Certain players in tennis appear faster than others. Maybe Goffin does not give out the appearance that he is one of the fastest players on tour, but the numbers will show otherwise. He is one of the more consistent players on tour over the last few years, and that mostly comes down to his reliance on speed.
As an offensive baseliner, he loves to move his opponent around the court. He also hits the ball very hard, which opens up opportunities for him to use his speed as well. As long as he stays healthy, Goffin is one of those guys who could spend quite a few more years on tour in the top 20 or 30 in the world.
3. Diego Schwartzman
To compete at the highest level of tennis at just 5‘7“ tall, Diego Schwartzman needs to have a few high-end attributes. His speed is certainly a huge weapon, as he can move well on any surface and grind out points at times.
Not only can Schwartzman get to balls, but what he does with them is truly remarkable. Sometimes facing players a foot taller than him, he can cut balls off and be smart with his movement so that he switches points in his favor. His top-end speed, as well as stamina, has turned him into an improbable top 10 player.
2. Gael Monfils
Gael Monfils has seemingly been on lists like this for his entire tennis career. All it takes is a simple search online to see video proof that he is one of the fastest the game has ever seen. His ability to track down balls is truly unmatched, and many consider him to be the greatest athlete the game is ever seen.
Like a lot of players to make this list, his ability to slide on any surface helps him with court coverage. He also is one of the taller players to make this list, which gives him the extra reach that makes him appear even faster. Ask any player on tour in the last decade who the fastest is, and Monfils is the most popular answer.
1. Alex De Minaur
The fastest tennis player on the ATP Tour is Alex De Minaur. Many are awaiting the next crop of tennis stars to make their true breakthrough on the ATP tour. While a lot of players have the skill, stand-out attributes will make the difference. For Alex De Minaur, his speed might be what ultimately propels him to a legitimate Grand Slam contender.
His court coverage sometimes even gets him in trouble, as he will play a little too defensively since he can get everything back. If he can turn his speed and agility into an offensive weapon, there is a chance that the guy they call a “speed demon” can take his game to another level.