Already In Entering 2016
Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Venus Williams, and Maria Sharapova entered 2016 with the status that only something devastating could prevent their eventual enshrinement.
Novak’s Nole Slam & Masters 1000 hauls, Serena’s 22nd major, Rafa’s gold medal in doubles, and Venus’ silver medal in mixed doubles all added to their credentials. Roger Federer did not hurt his chances with 2 major semifinals. Most of these players would still be enshrined even if they repeatedly got defaulted for time violations due to building forts out of their many racquets and tournament towels during changeovers.
Maria Sharapova’s suspension for using a banned substance at the Australian Open does raise some questions in terms of her Hall of Fame status. I would place Sharapova on a wait and see list as this situation is still playing out in my view.
Likely Already In Entering 2016
Andy Murray entered 2016 with 2 major titles in singles, a gold medal in singles, a silver medal in mixed doubles, a Davis Cup title, a slew of Masters 1000 shields, and a grasp on the title of best male player to not reach #1.
2016 saw Murray add a 2nd Wimbledon title, a 2nd gold medal, more Masters 1000 shields, a World Tour Final title, and the number one ranking. Andy removed all doubt this year.
Strong Possibility Entering 2016
Stan Wawrinka entered 2016 with 2 major titles, a Davis Cup title, a gold medal in doubles, and assorted other titles. Wawrinka added a US Open title to his resume in September. I think a 3rd major more or less assures his enshrinement, but Stan’s case is not as clear as Murray’s as 2016 closes.
Svetlana Kuznetsova entered 2016 with 2 major titles in singles, 2 major titles in doubles, 3 Federation Cup titles, 7 combined major runner-up finishes in singles and doubles, and over a decade of relevance on the WTA Tour. Kuznetsova’s resume is better than some already enshrined, but her flying under the radar career does not assure her of enshrinement. I think she will eventually be enshrined and her solid 2016 did not hurt her cause.
Petra Kvitova entered 2016 with 2 Wimbledon titles, 1 season ending championship, 4 Federation Cup titles, and 2 Madrid titles. Adding a bronze medal in singles, a 5th Federation Cup title, and the WTA’s 2nd tier season ending title all helped her resume. The horrific story of her being the attacked by a knife-wielding burglar puts many things in perspective.
Work Left to Do Entering 2016
Juan Martin del Potro entered 2016 with a US Open title and a bronze medal. He leaves 2016 with a silver medal and Davis Cup title. These certainly help his eventual candidacy, but I think JMDP has more work to do.
Marin Cilic entered 2016 with a US Open title. He added a Masters 1000 Shield in Cincinnati. Had Argentina won the Davis Cup, his candidacy would have gotten some of the boost that JMDP’s candidacy got in 2016. Cilic obviously still has work to do.
Not on the Radar Entering 2016
Angelique Kerber entered 2016 with no real claim to be a Hall of Fame entrant. She won the Australian and US Opens, was a silver medalist in singles in Rio, and was a Wimbledon runner-up. Kerber also claimed the #1 ranking at the US Open and holds it entering 2017. Whether she is already worthy of enshrinement is up for debate, but 2 majors, 1 major runner-up, a silver medal, and the #1 ranking are one strong opening statement.
Garbine Muguruza did post a spirited Wimbledon runner-up finish in 2016, but no one would say that put her in the conversation for Hall of Fame consideration. Winning the 2016 Roland Garros title certainly adds to her credentials and puts her on the radar. Her scattered results need to become more consistent, but Muguruza is a strong athlete who can play high level tennis. She has time to become more consistent and pile up more wins.
Ana Ivanovic has 1 Roland Garros title, 2 major runner-up finishes, and a stint at #1 that could get her into the Hall of Fame. I do not see Ana Ivanovic as a lock, but she could be enshrined. I do hope she enjoys her retirement!