A new season in any sport always brings a fair amount of excitement! Tennis is no different! Who will shine this season? Who, if anyone will break new records?
The men’s game will see a return after injury lay-offs for Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka! The big questions to put with that is, will Roger and Rafa maintain their level of 2017?
First of all, I am worried about Muzza, I can’t lie! I sincerely hope I am wrong! The groin injury is a great concern to me though. One ‘expert’ in New York told me back in August that he feared for Murray, so it has stuck with me since then! The worry is there is no smoke without fire! Fingers crossed that he is fine!
Stan has had a knee injury and these are never easy to come back from! Especially to hit the ground running! Rafa also has a knee injury currently and with it comes the same concerns as Stan, this is Nadal though and anything is possible!
I liked Djokovic’s chances to get off to a flyer! That was my hunch! An elbow injury has put that in doubt though with a pullout from the Mubadala this week! Federer looks to be in the best shape at the moment as he is fully fit. He has talked down his chances by saying that he doesn’t think he could replicate last seasons form!
It goes without saying it is a chance for other players to step up! Interesting! Personally, I would love to see Lucas Pouille go close and it will be fascinating to see how Goffin comes out this season after a fine finish to last year! Seeing if Grigor can step up over five sets is also massive this season!
Players from the last season’s NextGen such as Chung, Rublev, Shapovalov, Tiafoe and Coric will certainly continue to rise up the rankings barring injury, but I would still expect some inconsistent results! All these lads and Khachanov etc showed the talent they had at their disposal! Lower down your Fritz, Ruud and Felix Auger-Aliassime to name a few will look to get closer to the top 50!
Serena and Bartoli are two of the big names coming back in the Ladies! If anyone can, Serena can come back and just dominate! It is obviously a big, big ask to hit the ground running but if you can win a slam (emphatically) 8 weeks into pregnancy then you should never be written off! As long as the drive and desire are still there, she will be there!
Really pleased that Marion is joining us again! We will have to wait until Miami to see her though. If she expects to be at the level required then I have full confidence that will be the case! It was a great moment when she won Wimbledon and she always comes across as a top person!
Other players will fancy their chances of breaking new ground, such as Caroline Wozniacki who stands a great chance. Last season proved with Serena out that players fancied it, with Ostapenko and Stephens joining Muguruza in the winner’s box! There is plenty of talent in the younger generation who will like their chances this season. I am expecting to see improvements in rankings for Barty, Kasatkina, Kontaveit, Bellis, Vikhlyantseva, Vondrousova, Osaka, Haddad Maia, Sabaelnka and obviously Belinda Bencic!
Julia Goerges finished the season in blistering form and will be looking to continue that on the big stage. Coco Vandeweghe will be trying to find that extra bit of consistency over 2 weeks that has so far illuded her. Caroline Garcia will also like her chances having been superb towards the end of last season. It is also time for Elina Svitolina to make her move.
Andy Del Potro