Tennis is back! As some people already know, the first tournament of the year will take place in Australian, where number two player in the world and defending champion, Novak Djokovic, will look to make it four in a row.
1. Rafael Nadal-Rafa enjoyed a tremendous 2013 season, where he went 75-7 and taking home 10 titles. The Australian Open has not been all that nice to the number one tennis player in the world, as he only has one title to his name down under.
2. Novak Djokovic-contrary to Rafa, Novak has had great success in Australia, winning four titles and he will look to do the same in 2014.
3. David Ferrer-had one of his better showings in last year’s Aussie Open where he reached the semis, but got bounced by eventual winner, Djokovic. David had a great 2013 campaign that saw him climb all the way to number three in the world. He is never an easy opponent to beat.
4. Andy Murray-he took home the Wimbledon title, but other than that, it was a tough injury prone season for the Scotsman. Andy is always a contender to win it all.
5. Juan Martin Del Potro-Australian Open has never been kind to Juan Martin (has compiled a 16-7 record all-time), but he did enjoy a very good 2013 season where he took home four titles and finished with a 51-16 record in all tournaments.
6. Roger Federer-had one of his toughest seasons as a pro in 2013 where he really struggled and lost to some tennis players who he usually defeats. Hopefully Roger can turn it all around in 2014.
7. Tomas Berdych-did not win a single tournament last year for the first time since 2010, but he did take the Davis Cup with the Czech Republic team. Tomas’ form was very up and down in 2013 and with Andy and Rafa returning to full health, he will need to step it up.
8. Stanislas Wawrinka-enjoyed a fine 2013 season where he beat some of the heavy hitters (Raonic, Murray, Tsonga, just to name a few), and he made it very difficult for some of the top seeds to take him out. Stanislas was eliminated by Novak in the round of 16 in last year’s tournament.
9. Richard Gasquet-took home three titles last year, which is the most for him since the 2006 season. Richard has matched his highest ranking ever (9th).
10. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga-he is at his lowest ranking since 2011, but he is still a very tough player with a fantastic serve. Tsonga has had success in Australia and he will be looking to take his first title down under.
(20) Jerzy Janowicz-has a fairly good draw, even though he has the possibility of meeting Youzhny in the third final, but I believe that Janowicz can defeat the Russian born player. I have Janowiczfacing Dolgopolov in the round of 16, a player who he has already lost to in 2014. Time for a little revenge.
Early match-up to watch
On Nadal’s side of the draw there could be quite a few good match-ups to keep an eye on. Cilic/Brands could very well be a match we may see in the 2nd round. This would be Cilic’s first match at a Grand Slam since his suspension. Last year Brands defeated some very good players including: Seppi, Federer and Monfils…three times. Brands also played Nadalvery tough last year. Raonic/Dimitrov is another match-up we should see in the 3rd round of play. Both of these players are up and comers in the game of tennis and they can both be very fun to watch.
(1) Nadal vs (50 Del Potro
(13) Isner vs (10) Tsonga
(7) Berdych vs (20) Janowicz
(8) Wawrinka vs (2) Djokovic
(1) Nadal vs (10) Tsonga
(7) Berdych vs (2) Djokovic
(1) Nadal vs (2) Djokovic
Note: I think that 2014 will be a year, where a handful of the veteran players take a step back in their career (Federer, Ferrer etc.) with all the up and comers coming on strong.
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.