The new tennis period is previously underway, but it is about to kick into higher gear. I hope you happen to be very well rested, for the reason that we are much less than a 7 days absent from the initial key of the year, the 2014 Australian Open up!
Right after the extremely transient off-season, it is really ultimately time to see all of our beloved players back on the similar phase and competing for the major prize in tennis. Unlike very last year, all the greatest stars in the men's and women's activity are all (fairly) balanced and hungry to start the yr with a shiny new addition to their trophy case.
So get ready for the upsets, the marathon matches, the controversies and, most importantly, the unhealthy quantities of slumber deprivation that are positive to accompany two wild months Down Underneath.
This is a glimpse at what is to come as the tennis tour normally takes more than Melbourne.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic Reign Supreme
2013 was, with the exception of Wimbledon, all about Nadal and Djokovic. Nadal's comeback, full with French and U.S. Open up titles, was the communicate of the tennis town and good adequate for him to end the tennis yr rated No. one. Djokovic, in the meantime, received the Australian Open up, designed two other Grand Slam finals and ended the year on a 22-match successful streak. Appropriate now, it's their tour. Everyone else is an underdog.
Andy Murray is Back again
Murray wasn't a factor just after profitable Wimbledon very last year, failing to make an effect for the duration of the U.S. Open up Collection, and then having "small" again surgical treatment after the U.S. Open and missing the relaxation of the 12 months. But, luckily, he is again in motion in Australia.
Legends are Taking In excess of as Coaches
Murray produced waves when he employed Ivan Lendl back in 2012 to be his mentor, but two Grand Slams later on it appears to be like he begun a craze! All through the off-season, Djokovic joined forces with Boris Becker and Roger Federer teamed up with Stefan Edberg. There is undoubtedly no absence of star energy in individuals pairings.
Can Anybody Beat Djokovic Down Beneath?
Djokovic completely enjoys the blue courts of Melbourne. He's received the title there 4 situations, which includes the final a few several years in a row. Until eventually he's officially dethroned, he's the King of Oz.
What Type of Variety is Murray In?
All right, so we have established that he's back again, but how will Murray play? The Brit misplaced early in his only heat-up tournament of 2014 in Brisbane, so he is pretty low on match perform. The small business end of the event would be a lot more pleasurable if Murray could make it there.
Will Federer Flip Again the Clock?
With Stefan Edberg by his facet, Federer has occur out with a spring in his phase in 2014, ready to try out new things&mdashincluding enjoying the heat-up celebration in Brisbane, the place he misplaced to the hardly ever-getting old Lleyton Hewitt in the last. Can Federer recapture earlier glories in Oz, or will he crash out early however once again in a slam?
Can Anyone Else Make a Breakthrough?
The men's video game has been stagnant at the major for the past five several years (or far more), and it is really over and above time for customers of the upcoming era, like Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic and Jerzy Janowicz, to develop into genuine contenders. With Federer getting old and Murray questionable, you will find home for some additional stars at the leading. But will they present up?
It was a tennis life span ago when, back in 2008, Tsonga danced into the hearts of tennis admirers just about everywhere as he produced his run to the Australian Open remaining. Tsonga is ranked No. 10 now, and coming off of a diamond-worthy general performance at Hopman Cup. He appears to be poised to, when again, make some sound in Melbourne.
Wawrinka had a job calendar year in 2013, creating the semifinals of the U.S. Open up and the Barclay's ATP Planet Tour Finals and finishing the yr ranked No. eight. He began this year by winning his fifth title in Chennai, and he would seem established to out-do his epic overall performance in the fourth round from Djokovic right here very last year.
You can find by no means a uninteresting second with Gael Monfils, as he proved the moment once again in the Qatar Open up this 12 months, where he shed to Nadal in the final. The electric powered Frenchmen is usually entertaining, an has the expertise to thrust any person to the brink.
Djokovic is driving a 22-match profitable streak on the ATP and has gained the Australian Open up 4 out of the previous 6 several years. Bet against him Down Less than at your individual peril.
Nadal is sitting down fairly at No. one correct now many thanks to his amazingly amazing operate on out of doors difficult courts in 2013. He is received in Australia before, and while he missed final year because of to a knee injuries, he created the closing the previous time he performed in 2012. He unquestionably has what it requires to conclusion the fortnight on a successful streak.
Juan Martin del Potro
We've by now reviewed Murray's questionable form and Federer's issues with agin. When both of individuals fellas have what it normally takes to win the title, I assume that 2009 U.S. Open up Champion Del Potro, now No. five, has a much better shot at getting the title if Djokovic or Nadal tumble. It can be time for the Argentinian to get again to the podium exactly where he belongs.
There Will never Be A further Nadal-Djokovic Ultimate
Even though it is really really hard to guess against both of them, I just have a really hard time looking at but a further No. 1 vs. No. two remaining having location in Australia. There will be a major upset or two alongside the way.
It Will Be An additional Negative Match for Us residents
John Isner, the major American, experienced to pull out of Hopman Cup last week with an ankle damage. Sam Querrey, our No. 2, is unseeded at this significant and still attempting to re-attain his kind after a rough 2013. Nobody else is on the radar. It truly is going to be another challenging event for the males in stars and stripes.
Andy Murray Will Drop in the Initial 7 days
I appear forward to the day when Nadal, Murray and Djokovic all go deep at a event once more, but I worry it will never be this month. Murray's loss to Florian Mayer in Brisbane lifted a large amount of pink flags, and there just isn't really time for him to locate his top rated variety ahead of the important receives underway.
It is Nonetheless Serena's Planet
It can be been a fast paced off-year, but matters have not adjusted that much: Serena Williams is nonetheless the Queen of the WTA. Coming off the most comprehensive year of her occupation at the age of 32, Serena showed no signals of slowing down in 2014&mdash she took out rivals Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka to get the title in the course of the initially week of the period in Brisbane.
Coaching Carousel Proceeds
The women's coaching variations have not been as headline-grabbing as the men's have been, but they are nevertheless considerable. Most notably, Maria Sharapova has teamed up with Adidas mastermind Sven Groeneveld,  Sloane Stephens has hired former Federer coach Paul Annacone and Caroline Wozniacki has brought Sharapova's former mentor Thomas Hogstedt to her staff. It really should be pleasurable to see how it all plays out.
Maria Sharapova Has Returned
Following producing the French Open up closing very last calendar year, Sharapova only played a few matches for the relaxation of the year, pulling the plug on her time following a next-spherical decline to Sloane Stephens at the Western & Southern Open up in Cincinnati owing to shoulder bursitis. But she has a new coach, Sven Groenfeld, by her facet, and appeared to be in respectable variety creating the semifinals of Brisbane in her 1st match back. The tour is much more entertaining with her all over.
Can Serena Remain Healthier?
2012 and 2013 ended up both extremely prosperous years for Serena Williams, but both of those of them saw her come up short at the Australian Open up, a tournament she's received five times. In 2012, Serena hurt her ankle during the heat-up function in Brisbane and at some point shed to Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round of the Australian Open up. In 2013, she twisted her ankle in the very first round and eventually missing to Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals.
Look at out for her footing this calendar year&mdashturns out, obtaining two healthy legs is essential even for the very best.
Can Sloane Stephens Repeat 2013?
Very last year Stephens broke through below in Australia, building her very first significant semifinal and earning the attention that comes with knocking off Serena. This year is distinctive, even though, as all eyes will be on her to see what her encore will be. How will she tackle the anticipations?
Can Azarenka Earn Back the Crowds and Go on Dominating?
Sad to say, Azarenka's medical timeout against Stephens in their semifinal final calendar year ended up overshadowing Azarenka's 2nd-straight Australian Open up title. The No. two will be looking to gain back again more than the Australian crowds the ideal way she appreciates how: winning.
Kvitova has been a bit of a wildcard (to place it mildly) considering that her amazing general performance successful Wimbledon in 2011, but there are reasons to think that the erratic Czech is ready to be a contender yet again. Her incredibly general public relationship with ATP player Radek Stepanek appears to be to have focused her, and she appeared fitter than ever at Hopman Cup this calendar year. A healthful and centered Kvitova is unquestionably a single to enjoy.
Even with being the No. 4 seed, Radwanska is eternally beneath-the-radar. When the crafty Pole might not have the electrical power to choose out Serena or Azarenka, she is a constant and authentic menace if both of them falters.
As Sloane Stephens had the flashy results final year, eighteen-calendar year-aged Madison Keys slowly and gradually and certainly climbed up the rankings, all the way to her present spot at No. 36. With a killer provide, a go-for-broke forehand and a modern earn more than No. 11 Simona Halep, Keys is a hazardous floater in the draw that could do some serious hurt.
The 17-time Grand Slam Winner is chasing heritage, and, right until demonstrated if not, this is Serena's tournament to win.
Azarenka has gained the Australian Open two a long time in a row, and is serious about going for a 3-peat. She has not lost to anyone not named Serena at a really hard-court docket Slam considering the fact that the 2011 Australian Open, and will be a hard out for any person in Melbourne.
The 2008 Australian Open up Champion can by no means be counted out&mdashunless it is in a match against Serena, who she's dropped the last fourteen in a row to. But Sharapova will be hungry after investing the final 5 months on the sideline, and her competitiveness need to not be underestimated.
Li Na may possibly be the defending Winner if it wasn't for her two falls in very last year's remaining versus Azarenka. The 2011 French Open Winner is a two-time finalist at the Australian Open, and is a hazard to every person in the attract&mdashincluding herself.
Sloane Stephens Will Not Make the Second 7 days
Stephens is working with a wrist damage that produced her retire from Hopman Cup to start the period, and is not likely to seize the magic&ndashor reward from the generous attract&mdashthat served her make the semifinals very last 12 months. Stephens will have excellent times in 2014, just not fairly nonetheless.
There Will be Two Us citizens in the Quarterfinals
While the American gentlemen will probable go on battling, I assume dazzling issues from the American ladies in Melbourne. Irrespective of my prediction of Stephens losing early, I consider that possibly Venus Williams, Jamie Hampton, Madison Keys, Varvara Lepchenko, Bethanie Mattek-Sands or Allison Riske will be part of Serena in the quarterfinals.
We Will Get the No. one vs. No. 2 Remaining
Bold, I know, but I think that Azarenka and Serena will continue on to confirm that they are a move above the rest.
Serena Williams Will Get.
I consider that the only man or woman who can prevent Azaernka in Melbourne is Serena. And I assume that she will.
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