ATP Overview – Novak’s World

Djokovic is still dominating

  1. Novak Djokovic is indeed still the man in the world of tennis.  His 60 Minutes interview helped introduce him to a broader audience.  He does not have the win-loss record he had at this point in 2011, but Novak has won the biggest event of 2012 and won one of the two other big tournaments of the year.  Also, Novak’s win over Andy Murray in Miami dispels any notions that Murray’s near miss in Australia and win in Dubai signal a change in the landscape of tennis.
  2. Roger Federer is alive and kicking.  Winning Indian Wells, Dubai and Rotterdam demonstrate that Roger can still string together great events.  Indian Wells and Dubai are two of the four biggest events of the year to this point.  Roger has to feel like he could win one of the next three slams.
  3. Andy Murray is still not on par with the three people ahead of him.  Near misses have to take a toll on Murray’s confidence.  I am not sure how he can look at his play in Melbourne, Dubai and Miami and not feel frustrated.  Still, I think Lendl is helping Murray.  As a friend recently stated, Murray just needs to stay sharp and be ready.  At some point, maybe a draw opens up or a player’s form dips.  If Murray is ready to capitalize, he can win.
  4. Nadal is a mystery.  Rafa has played well enough in 2012 to expect him to continue to be Nole’s top rival, but withdrawing from Miami and dropping off of the ATP council just seem odd.
  5. A legitimate fifth top tier contender has yet to emerge.  Milos Raonic has two titles and had one runner-up finish in 2012, but he’s been banged up and not yet won against top competition.  Juan Martin del Potro looks like a top 10 player, but his four losses to Federer and loss to fifth ranked David Ferrer tell me Delpo still needs to traverse a gulf to contend for slams again.  David Ferrer has played well in 2012.  He just lacks the weapons to be on the level of the top four.  Finally, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ended 2011 on an upward trend and won Qatar to start 2012.  Since then, he’s been at best sadly uneven.

WTA – Vika’s Rise, Kvitova’s Malaise and Maria’s Near Misses

WTA Execs would like to see more of the above in 2012

  1. Victoria Azarenka has banked a lot of momentum and computer points.  I think Azarenka will finish 2012 number one and likely win a second major before the year ends.
  2. Petra Kvitova has not maintained the level of play that led to her strong finish from 2011.  The WTA needs Azarenka, Kvitova, and maybe Wozniacki to produce big stories in the next few years.  WTA executives would feel better if these big stories started now and not in 2013 or 2014.
  3. Maria Sharapova is struggling to close out events.  In one sense, Maria has had a great 2012.  She has been more consistent than anyone other than Victoria Azarenka.  She has backed up her number two ranking.  However, she has not come close to looking like anything other than second best.  Even when she served well Sharapova lost the Sony Ericsson final in straight sets.  Asking what could have been too many times is not good for a player’s mind.
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