Monday, December 30th
The year 2019 is not completely over yet, but the 2020 tennis season has already started in the southern hemisphere, with, on the menu of this first week of competition, a new tournament played in teams: the ATP Cup in Australia, in Nick Kyrgios’ home (who’s recently been elected the second most hated sportsman of the decade, behind Oscar Pistorius), a sort of 2.0 version of the Hopman Cup, which is reserved to men. Naomi Osaka and her friends of the WTA circuit can relax for a few more days. Sharon Stone, on her side, was expelled from a dating website, as the admins thought it was a fake account. Let her flirt, for crying out loud!
Tuesday, December 31st
For the last day of the year, the New Year’s resolutions will have to wait: Pope Francis coldly rejected a clingy admirer during one of his public appearances, and an amateur video showed Neymar on a beach in Brazil, appearing to be drunk and a little fatter than usual, a few days before going back to training with his club, PSG. In more sober news, the players taking part in the ATP Cup arrived one after another in Australia, like the Russian delegation composed of Daniil Medvedev, Kharen Khachanov et a Marat Safin who almost looked like a junior in comparison with his two heirs. Wawrinka, on his side, arrived in Doha to play the Qatar Open.
Wednesday, January 1st
Five, four, three, two, one, zero… HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! The entire world celebrated entering 2020 and many players like Nadal, Zverev and Serena Williams (during training) presented their best wishes. We’re hoping that this tennis season will be as great as expected. Will Ashleigh Barty confirm her leadership? Will Serena Williams finally win another (and last?) Grand Slam tournament? Will we see Roger Federer’s final moments on the courts? Will the Next Gen dominate the trio Djoko/Nadal/Federer? Meanwhile, the fail of the 2020 best wishes goes to the football club of Nancy, France, who sent a card to its fans with geographical indications referring to a… graveyard, instead of their stadium.
Thursday, January 2nd
« I might not even win a match. » Having announced her return to competition this year, Kim Clijsters had a funny way of reassuring her admirers… It was probably a way of putting down the expectations for the Belgian, who withdrew from the Australian Open, the first big meeting of the year, just like Murray, Nishikori, and probably Del Potro. But the most worrying thing in Australia at the moment is the gigantic bushfires which are destroying the country. Novak Djokovic posted a message of support and many players promised to give part of their prize money earned at the ATP Cup to help the rescue services.
Friday, January 3rd
There were a lot of emotions during this first day at the ATP Cup, as the bad boy Nick Kyrgios couldn’t hold back his tears when it came to speaking, after his win against Jan Lennard Struff, about the fire which has affected his city of Brisbane (where the sky is filled with smoke, as we can see in a picture posted by Kvitova, who arrived there to play one of the first WTA tournaments of the year, next week.) There was a small blunder for the start of the competition as the Moldavian anthem was replaced with the Romanian anthem. The flags are quite similar and the countries are close geographically, but still… In sporting news, Australia, Canada, Belgium and Norway all won.
Saturday, January 4th
« What do you enjoy most, off court, about starting the season here in Australia ? », the speaker of the ATP Cup asked Benoît Paire. The player’s answer? « A lot of things, the girls here are very nice! » And vive la France! In more romantic fashion, Gaël Monfils and Elina Svitolina are still showing their love for each other on social networks, with humorous pictures. On the courts, Djoko and Nadal lead Serbia and Spain to a first win in the ATP Cup, just like Japan, Croatia, Argentina and France. In other news, while things are getting tensed between Iran and the US, the Canadian army was the « victim » of an invasion of Pokemon Go players, as the app displayed some Pokemons in one of their training camps. Gotta catch’em all.
Sunday, January 5th
After many months without rain, the bad weather finally helped the inhabitants of the zones destroyed by the bushfires in Australia, and the firemen fighting the flames. Some good news which didn’t stop the big family of tennis from mobilizing: Ashleigh Barty announced that she will give all of her prize money earned in Brisbane to help the victims of this tragedy. As for Djokovic, he claimed that postponing the Australian Open would be « conceivable » in regard to the context. At the ATP Cup, the matches of the day were won by Bulgaria, Great-Britain, Italy, Germany and Australia in front of its crowd. In women’s tennis, things kicked off as well, with the first matches being played at the Shenzhen Open, where Belinda Bencic is the top seed. This time, the season is finally on. Place your bets!
By Régis Delanoë