Just 10 days into the new year and we are 4 tournaments down already. The best match thus far has been the Qatar Open final between Sir Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. Both the players picked up from where they had left last season. Djokovic seemed to be in control of the match before Murray won five straight games taking the second set. Djokovic went on to win the match, ending Murray’s streak of 28 wins. These two are perpetually at daggers drawn right now for the top spot and this could go on for the entire year.
Djokovic, one of the ambassadors of the game, still believes in venting his frustration by smashing rackets and firing balls at the crowd. This is something no other top player does. Djokovic might always go on to apologize after the match but that does not justify the act. One should be really careful of his on-court etiquettes when he knows that the entire tennis fraternity watches his matches and has an impact on the younger generation. Djokovic could have been disqualified from last year’s French Open (that he went on to win) for a similar act during his quarter-final match against Tomas Berdych.
Rafa Nadal is back and looks like he was never gone. He beat Milos Raonic in Abu Dhabi before losing to him in the quarter-finals of the Brisbane Open. He then played a Fast4 match against Nick Kyrgios in Sydney. He seems really confident going into the first Grand Slam of the year and is trying to play as many matches as he can before that. He lost in the first round at last year’s Australian Open and so, he actually has nothing to lose in terms of points. Should he make it to the second week, he’d find himself significantly higher in the ATP rankings.
The only question that everybody seems to ask Roger Federer these days is about his retirement. But even then, he comes up with a hilarious reply each time. Even though we know that he cannot play forever, we do not want him to stop. I believe that, ‘You should never ask a question, you do not want to know the answer to.’ Federer started his season by participating in the Hopman Cup alongside Belinda Bencic. Playing the Hopman Cup was the right decision for Federer to resume the tour because in a team tournament, one could go on to qualify for the next round even after losing a match. Federer lost his singles match against Zverev but Switzerland went on to beat Germany to reach the semi-finals. This gave Federer the opportunity to analyse his game and realize his shortcomings. Federer beat Gasquet in his next match but Switzerland lost to France 1-2. Federer is now preparing for the Australian Open, starting next week.
Due to their premature end to the last season, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal are ranked significantly lower than they have been in the last decade. They have contested eight Grand Slam finals including the 2009 Australian Open Final (Nadal’s only Australian Open title) and have five Australian Open titles between them. But when the draws are announced for this year’s Australian Open, Nadal could be seeded 9th while Federer could be seeded 17th. Being ranked so low means that Federer and Nadal would have to play the top players in the early rounds (which is good news to nobody). This would be welcomed by neither Federer and Nadal, nor the top seeded players and surely not by fans all over the world, who have been desperately waiting for these two men to bounce back.