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Players who are most likely to win the ATP Fans' Favorite award once Federer, Nadal & Djokovic retire

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Stefanos Tsitsipas with Roger Federer at the 2021 Laver Cup
Stefanos Tsitsipas with Roger Federer at the 2021 Laver Cup

Roger Federer recently won the ATP Fans' Favorite award for the 19th year in a row, cementing his position as the most popular male tennis player in the history of the sport.

In fact, such is Federer's popularity that only two players excluding him have won the prize since its inception in 2000 -- Gustavo Kuerten and Marat Safin.

And Federer's stock is likely to amplify even further given that he only has a year or two left on tour. As such, one can expect him to keep winning this prize for as long as he plays.

You've voted and @rogerfederer is your Favourite Singles Player for the 19th year in a row! 🙌#ATPAwards

But once Federer retires -- and so do Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal -- this prize will be up for grabs for several players on tour, given that no single player is as popular as any member of the Big 3.

Having said that, once Federer calls it a day, this prize will likely go to Nadal and Djokovic for as long as they keep playing.

It is also pertinent to note that this award is adjudged based on the total number of votes received from fans, which means that the bigger a player's fanbase, the greater his chances of winning.

But what helps increase one's popularity and fanbase? A few things come to mind in the shape of on-court success, style of play, overall personality, behavior with peers and fans, what they say in their media interactions, and general viewpoints, among other factors.

Perhaps on-court success is the most important aspect needed to achieve popularity, which leads us to assume that all players mentioned in this list won't be too far apart in terms of laurels won.

On that note, let's look at the five likeliest candidates to claim this prize once Federer, Djokovic and Nadal call it a day.

#1 Dominic Thiem's empathy and charm give him an edge

Dominic Thiem at the 2021 French Open
Dominic Thiem at the 2021 French Open

Many fans already consider Dominic Thiem to be one of the nicest guys on tour, if not the nicest. Not only is the Austrian friendly and funny, but he is also attentive towards several social and environmental causes.

Thiem's charming on-court demeanor also makes him a tough player to dislike for those who are not fans of the Austrian.

Moreover, the former US Open champion is usually on good terms with a majority of peers, which has placed him in the good books of their fans.

Add to that his stylish and power-packed tennis, Thiem is already a big hit amongst most casual viewers, let alone hard-core fans.

These factors have and will continue to help Thiem steadily build a solid fanbase, which in turn could help him win the Fans' Favorite award once Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal retire.

The end will surprise you 😅@ThiemDomi https://t.co/d2a7OLmMHL

#2 Stefanos Tsitsipas's eagerness to interact with his fans regularly could hold him in high stead

Stefanos Tsitsipas at the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi
Stefanos Tsitsipas at the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi

Stefanos Tsitsipas might have earned the wrath of a few players and their fans for his toilet breaks, but he has kept his fanbase steady in recent months.

Tsitsipas chats with his fans on Twitter on a regular basis and keeps them engaged with his slew of social media posts.

The Greek also seems to have a love for music and vlogs, which can help him reach out to more across the globe.

Like Thiem, Tsitsipas is also entertaining to watch, and he also has a penchant for playing high-quality long-drawn matches, especially on clay. While he might have failed to win the Barcelona Open or Roland Garros, his performances against Nadal and Djokovic would have earned him several supporters.

#3 Daniil Medvedev's sense of humor could come in handy for the Russian

Daniil Medvedev during the Davis Cup Finals 2021
Daniil Medvedev during the Davis Cup Finals 2021

Daniil Medvedev is known to speak his mind both on and off-court. But more often than not, he does so with an incredible sense of humor, which fans have begun to appreciate.

The Russian uses sarcasm to great effect, and his blunt approach in interviews is usually fun to watch. The World No. 2 is also immensely popular amongst Djokovic fans, given that he is always effusive in his praise for the Serb.

While many are of the opinion that the reigning US Open champion's tennis is not the most appealing, his exciting personality means that he could amass a large enough fanbase to help him win this award once the Big 3 call it a day.

#4 Andrey Rublev has the tennis as well as the charm

Andrey Rublev at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals
Andrey Rublev at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals

While Andrey Rublev is yet to set the tour alight when it comes to Slams, he more than certainly possesses the quality to win multiple Majors. Assuming the Russian fulfills his potential, he will feature on the list of top contenders to win the ATP Fans' Favorite award, given that his personality is among the most endearing on tour.

The 24-year-old exudes a sense of innocence, warmth, and intelligence at the same time, both on and off the court. Rublev is also one of the wittiest players in press conferences, often giving the catchiest and most exciting responses to questions.

#5 Carlos Alcaraz could win a fair few ATP Fans's Favorite awards in his lifetime

Carlos Alcaraz won the Next Gen ATP Finals this year
Carlos Alcaraz won the Next Gen ATP Finals this year

It might be a while before Carlos Alcaraz wins the ATP Fans' Favorite award, given he is still 18, but he has all the ingredients to be one of the most popular stars in coming years.

By the time Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal all retire (assuming in another 4-5 years), Alcaraz will likely have established himself amongst the top five players in the world, going by his progress in 2021.

The Spaniard, who is often likened to Federer and Nadal, plays some sumptuous tennis and is also highly passionate on court like his compatriot. The teenager showed plenty of heart and quality tennis in his five-set win over Tsitsipas at the US Open, which saw his popularity soar in the weeks that followed.

Alcaraz also has a humble demeanor, meaning he is likely to attract more fans with the help of his good nature.

Notable absentees: Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini, Casper Ruud, Jannik Sinner, Hubert Hurkacz, and Felix Auger-Aliassime are the notable absentees from this list.

Zverev is the biggest name among those, given his fanbase is as big as the likes of Tsitsipas, Medvedev, and Thiem, if not more. However, given his alleged involvement in domestic violence against former partner Olya Sharypova, it is unlikely he will be voted for in throngs unless his name is cleared.

Berrettini is already quite popular with over a million followers on Instagram. However, many think that his tennis is very one-dimensional and mundane, which could affect his popularity once Rublev and Alcaraz keep improving.

Jannik Sinner, however, has the tennis to gain popularity, but many fans have pointed out that they do not take well to his ice-cold on-court demeanor.


Also Check Out: Complete ATP Cup 2022 Schedule

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Edited by Sarbajaya Bhattacharya
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