A LOOK INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL
Dec 20, 2011, 7:18:50 AM | by
We have already made it clear that 2011 was an eventful year in tennis. The women had four different champions at the majors while the men had just two of which one, Novak Djokovic cleaned up at three of them. A...
We have already made it clear that 2011 was an eventful year in tennis. The women had four different champions at the majors while the men had just two of which one, Novak Djokovic cleaned up at three of them. A mature age man made a break through (Mardy Fish) and some younger ones started to make some in-roads eg: Alexandr Dolgopolov, Milos Raonic and Bernard Tomic. So we now bid farewell to the season that was, Auld Lang Syne and all that and look ahead to 2012. What do I see in my crystal tennis ball and what do you think could happen? What will be the bench marks of the new season and will we see someone dominate the game the way we did in 2011? And which of the younger players will step up to the mark in an effort to be taken more seriously? I closed the 2011 year by starting with the women in my wrap up, this time I will go with the men first and certainly the focus is going to be on Djokovic. The pressure is well and truly on him to repeat what he achieved before. I just cannot see it happening again. What he did in 2011 happens once in a generation. Certainly others, namely Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, have won three Slams in a season but his achievement went beyond that. I think Djokovic will fall at the first hurdle and not defend his Australian Open title. My view is look to Federer to pick that up. Djokovic will stay No.1 for the better part of the year but I also think Federer will get the Pete Sampras record of most weeks at the top which means I feel he will get back to No.1. Nadal concerns me and I hope we see him get away from the frustrated person we witnessed. Andy Murray might reach a Slam final but again it will likely bring no bouquet. I don’t expect to see Mardy Fish have the season he had and that will vacate a spot in the top 10 which will be occupied by Juan Martin Del Potro. I also see Tomas Berdych and Nicolas Almagro leaving the top 10 and one of the new names to move in will be Dolgopolov. He could have a little bit of a slow start to the season but he is going to come on big time. He’s set his target for the top 10 and even qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals. I think the Ukrainian will be the revelation in 2012. Two young guns from North America have hinted at what they are capable of and they are Jack Sock and Ryan Harrison. Yes I have by-passed Milos Raonic who is very good but I’m not sure his body will hold up. From Australia it will be Bernard Tomic who has made it clear his target is top 20 and maybe even top 10 in 2012, and from Asia I expect Kei Nishikori to take another big step forward. Possibly leaving the tennis courts will be Lleyton Hewitt. One more injury, even minor, will be enough to hang up the racquets. And now to the ladies … I believe the No.1 ranking is going to show quite a bit of volatility and come year’s end Caroline Wozniacki might slip to three. Very early in the season Petra Kvitova will become only the second Czech woman and the first since Martina Navratilova to reach No.1. However the biggest mover will be Serena Williams who will make the doubters eat mud by getting back to the top spot and she will win the Australian Open. Kim Clijsters will definitely hit back but my concern is the negative vibe from Li Na who is in danger of taking a bit of a dive. Hope not because she’s so good for tennis. Certainly the likes of Victoria Azarenka will remain a threat to all players and so too will be Sam Stosur while Maria Sharapova may even threaten for No.1. However, I can’t see any player outside the bigger names in women’s tennis making any sort of in-roads which is disappointing. As an extreme outsider, maybe Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The highlight for 2012 will be the Olympics at Wimbledon and what a time that will be and I feel Federer will achieve a dream with a singles gold medal while Serena will pick up the women’s gold. So what are your thoughts? Do you agree with me or do you think the crystal ball I was looking into was clouded? Let us at We Are Tennis know who you think will win the four majors, the Olympics and who will be No.1 at the end of 2012. Now there’s an exercise for you before the end of 2011. It’s not long to go now before it all kicks off again. In the meantime I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a brilliant New Year and you can be sure we will be serving it up all over again here on We Are Tennis in 2012.