Firstly, a belated welcome to 2017 from AllThingsTennis – it has been a difficult January so far, hence no posts before now.
The first major is playing its customary role of delivering enough drama to fill the entire season ahead, let alone a meagre week.
The off season has clearly been spent differently by some compared to others, before my tournament predictions – let’s look over week one’s highlights and talking points.
Kyrgios continues to cause controversy
How frustrating must it feel to be a Nick Kyrgios die-hard fan? The young buckaroo has so much potential, so much talent and so much explosive energy and yet squanders it nearly every time. Yes his off-season was plagued by difficulties and he is still without a coach (not for long I wager), but the manner in which he capitulated during that hugely entertaining second round night match with the admittedly always dangerous Seppi was really something.
A joy to watch, but a nightmare to support – let’s hope the enigma continues to delight and not destruct.
Novak sent packing by evergreen Istomin
Let’s be clear – on his day Dennis Istomin is still capable of top-30 level tennis, his current ranking is not indicative of his talents. But this was a huge shock which has understandably sent shockwaves through the draw. Is Djokovic really as finished as Pat Cash suggested earlier this week?
Not quite. Yes when you dig a little deeper into Djokovic’s form after completing the set in Paris last year it isn’t very pretty – by his usual standards anyway. But he will be back – just perhaps not for a while.
Serena looks impressive
A first round match-up with Belinda Bencic is never a nice prospect – the talented Swiss is still very much ‘the next big thing’ and caused all sorts of problems for all sorts of top tenners last year. Given her own 2016 season, it was even more impressive how she brushed aside the young challenger. If it does end up a late showdown with Kerber then you’d still fancy the German maybe. Still a joy to watch Serena on form.
Federer continues to cheat time
That masterclass against Berdych will go down in tennis history as one of the greatest performances. It was faultless – and all the more incredible given the Swiss’ time from the game and advancing years. Whatever your views, let’s enjoy this brand of tennis while we can because we will not see it again.
The title is now Murray’s to lose
With Novak gone, Stan still unreliable and Raonic, Nishikori and other young guns somewhat unproven, this is Andy Murray’s time to mop up the winnings -as I predicted late last year.
The Brits continue to impress
Dan Evans and Johanna Konta have made serene progress this week. Evans – fresh from his Sydney heroics – has been particularly impressive, dismissing Cilic and Tomic en route to the second week. He has still to hit the Big Time proper of course; at least on a prolonged basis. A proper everyman and all the more refreshing for it.
Konta – established in the top ten lest we forget, has lost none of her 2016 potency and deserves to be mentioned when discussing potential champions next week.
Week One heroes
Ivo Karlovic – Longest set in Oz Open history, the giant Croat prevailed over poor ZeballosDennis Istomin – Gutsy win against Djoko, went for his shots and pulled it offDan Evans – What wins this week, can he kick on now and make a season charge a-la JohannaMirjana Lucic-Baroni – Radwanska’s victor hadn’t won a match here for over a decade before this year
Week One zeroes