The 2016 season starts with a promise : to see some of the mythical tennis records get broken. The protagonists ? The best of the best, obviously : Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Serena but also the eternal Bryan brothers.

The 2016 season starts with a promise : to see some of the mythical tennis records get broken. The protagonists ? The best of the best, obviously : Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Serena but also the eternal Bryan brothers.

 

The number of titles at the Australian Open for Novak Djokovic

The first big meeting of the season is the occasion for the world number 1 to conquer the Australian Open for the sixth time in his career. The Serb has already won it five times in Melbourne, in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015. Fun fact : he has never lost a single final ! With six trophies, Djoko, already the record-holder for the number of victories at the Australian Open - in the Open era (in front of Federer and Agassi, who each won 4 editions - would equal the local legend Roy Emerson’s record, six times winner between 1961 and 1967. The world’s most famous gluten slayer can therefore find the ideal incentive to launch a 2016 season, which he hopes to be in line with the previous one, with two new achievements in focus : a grand slam to accomplish over two seasons if he manages to finally win Roland-Garros, and a « perfect » on the circuit if he manages to add the olympic tournament and the Cincinnati tournament to his record next summer. These three tournaments are in fact the only ones on the ATP circuit in which he still hasn’t triumphed.

 

The number of titles at Roland-Garros for Rafael Nadal

On the Parisian clay, Rafael Nadal is already the absolute master. With 9 titles conquered between 2005 and 2014, he’s already ahead of the biggest names of the orange surface, from the old legends (Max Decugis and his 8 trophies won between 1903 and 1914) to the Swede Björn Borg and his 6 masterpieces between 1974 and 1981. What more does he need ? To win, once more, to push back the competition, keeping in mind that of the other players who have won Roland-Garros, only Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka are still playing. And both have only won the tournament once each ! If the Majorcan is the gambling type, he can also pile a few more records up in Paris : winning the tournament without losing a set for the third time (he has already done it twice in 2008 and 2010, like Borg in 1978 and 1980) or beat the record of the longest final ever played ( still held by Wilander who defeated Vilas in 1982 1/6 7/6 6/0 6/4 in 4h42).

 

The number of titles at Wimbledon for Roger Federer

Further on in the season, it will then be Roger Federer’s turn to express himself on the Wimbledon grass court. Having already won in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2012, the Swiss will be looking to become the first ever player to win the white polo shirts tournament on 8 occasions. With 7 trophies, he’s currently sharing the record with William Renshaw (between 1881 and 1889) and Pete Sampras (between 1993 and 2000). That would be the ultimate class-act. Other than that, Federer still has a few records to chase before retirement. For instance, with 9488 aces since his professional debuts, he’s not too far from the best in this exercise, Ivo Karlovic and his 10 442 aces. The only trouble is, the Croatian is still active on the circuit…He can already try to catch up with the second best server in history, another Croatian, Goran Ivanisevic and his 10 131 aces. And alike Novak Djokovic, he only has three missing tournaments to have a perfect record : Monte-Carlo, Rome and the olympic tournament, which already sounds like it will be particularly contested this year…

 

The number of titles at the US Open for the Bryan brothers

At home, in the US, the mythical Bryan twins will have the opportunity to definitely enter the legend of doubles. Indeed, if they manage to win again at Flushing Meadows, they would equal their fellow countrymen Richard Sears and Holcombe Ward with six titles at the US Open. However, these two have never won together (between 1882 and 1887 for Sears, and between 1899 and 1906 for Ward), unlike the Bryan brothers, who win everything together ! They have also won the Australian Open six times, which makes them the most prolific pair of the tournament in the Open era. Before the installment of modern tennis, the record held by Adrian Quist seams unreachable : 10 victories with different partners between 1936 and 1950. Other than that, there will be another nice goal to reach for the brothers in 2016 : becoming the only men pair to lift the olympic trophy twice in a row. They are the current titleholders after having won the gold medal four years ago in London.

 

The number of Grand Slam titles for Serena Williams

Last but not least, the biggest challenge in this tennis season is for the world number 1 Serena Williams, who could catch up with Steffi Graf and even overtake her mythical record. During her long career, the German had managed to win 22 Grand Slam titles. A performance which seemed almost impossible to match, but it was without counting on the talent and the longevity of Serena Williams, who currently counts 21 wins in the major tournaments. She must therefore win two of the four to finish the year as the greatest specialist of major tournaments. And the greatest of all time ? That is still in debate, as we shouldn’t forget Martina Navratilova’s amazing personal record. Although she has « only » won 18 grand slam tournaments, she, however, won an unbelievable total of 167 tournaments on the professional circuit, way ahead of the youngest of the Williams sisters, and her 69 titles.

 

By Régis Delanoë