An opinion piece now, and some more of my terrible predictions. Last year’s Australian Open was on one side an indication of what was to come with the men, but was something of a red herring as far as the women’s tour was to play out.
Serena’s pregnancy left the door open of course for some new blood to take the biggest spoils (Ostapenko), as well as some surprise packages (Stephens) and established ‘next-gen’ stars (Muguruza). Wozniacki’s tour finals triumph proved a fitting indication of what was to come this past fortnight.
Dimitrov’s own ATP finals victory aside, 2017 belonged to Fedal.
So, what of 2018?
A fascinating and enthralling women’s Australian Open gives me hope for another competitive season with more young guns rising up and some current stars delivering on their promise. There’s no reason why Wozniacki cannot continue to press on and dominate, but I expect Halep, Kerber and Muguruza to have a serious say all year. The likes of Konta, Pliskova and Sharapova won’t trouble them and last year’s surprises Ostapenko and Stephens will falter I fear.
Williams? Who knows, certainly not counting her out, but a family may well prove the biggest distraction of all from a career with nothing left to prove.
Roland Garros – Halep
Wimbledon – Muguruza
US Open – Wozniacki/Williams
Perhaps harder to predict. Just what state Djokovic, Nadal, Wawrinka and to a lesser extent Murray’s injuries are dictates who will challenge Federer. Not that the Swiss will run away with any title.
Despite his brilliance, he very much looks and plays like a 36 year old now, and the likes of Cilic, Del Potro and maybe finally Zverev – when they’re playing at their best of course – should hurt him.
His current schedule looks to omit the clay yet again, but if the aforementioned names continue to struggle with injuries and consistency, is another Roland Garros going to prove too tempting?
It will be fascinating to find out (just how wrong I’ll be!)
Roland Garros – Nadal/Zverev
Wimbledon – Federer/Cilic
US Open – Federer/DelPo