It's been a while since I've made a post.
I was thinking to myself the other about how excited I am for the 2017 tennis season. 2016 ended on a high note with the World 1 ranking being clinched by Murray over Djokovic in the Barclays ATP World Tour Final. This was the first time that the year end ranking was determined in the final match of the season between the number 1 and 2 players.
Looking ahead to 2017, I think there are a few things to watch out for:
1. Murray as World No. 1 - Andy finished 2016 as year end world number 1 by defeating Novak in the Barclay's ATP World Final in London. Now he will be the first seed in the Australian Open and favorite. Let's see how he deals with the pressure and approaches the new number 1 title. He's always done well in Melbourne, but has never won the tournament.
2. Djokovic as Number 2 and Break Up with Becker - Novak finished 2016 as number 2 to Andy. After winning the career grand slam at the French Open, he had quite the lackluster and sluggish second half of the year. He has also broken u with Boris Becker as coach citing personal and family matters as his main priority. Let's see what he does in the Australian Open where he has won 6 times! Will he have the hunger to retake number one and win more grand slams in 2017...I think so, but we'll have to wait and watch.
3. Roger Federer, The Maestro is Back - The last match Roger played was at the 2016 Wimbledon where he lost to Milos Raonic in five sets in the semifinals. He's has some injuries over the past few years such as the back and the knees this past year, and needed some time to rest his body and mind so he could come back rejuvenated and fresh. looks like from his Twitter and Fcaebook posts, hes been practicing and playing well with players like Lucas Pouille in Dubai. one thing to note is that Roger will now have a lower seed in this year Australian's Open as he slipped out of the top 10 in 2016. So he will have to meet Murray, Djokovic, Raonic or Wawrinka in the round of 16. The latter two aren't an issue as Federer can still beat them regularly, but Murray and Novak do pose the real threats.
4. Vamonos Rafa and Welcome Carlos Moya - Rafael Nadal will also be back in action in 2017. The one big change is that he has lifelong friend, competitor, mentor and countrymen Carlos Moya in his coaching box now. I thin this is a fabulous idea given that Moya just recently split with Raonic, and he has someone helping him whom he has known for ages and id close with on and off the court. The fact that Moya is a former world number 1 and French Open champion does wonders as he understand the pressures, situations, and rigors Rafa faces. I think it also helps to have another voice besides Uncle Tony and Francisco Roig that can offer new insights and a different spin on things.
5. The Young Guns - 2016 was an exciting year with guys such as Lucas Pouille, Alexander Zverev, and Nick Kyrgios making big strides and achieving their highest rankings. Lets see how they deal with the limelight and pressure now as this is really where the hard work starts, and if we look back at tennis history, we observe that there were so many former players that had growing pains and other issues when rising up the rankings. Guys under 21 years old to watch out for include Zverev, Borna Coric, Karen Khachanov, Taylor Fritz, Francis Tiafoe, and others. What is brilliant is that the ATP Tour is creating a new tournament in Milan for the "Next Gen" players that are under 21. Let's see how the next generation fares in 2017 and who makes the biggest strides!