- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has been a factor in men’s tennis at least since the 2008 Australian Open. His two consecutive titles to start 2017 bode well for his continued presence in the top 15. Tsonga fights hard and plays an attacking style of tennis that is fun for fans. I know the Aussie Open is over, but Good On Ya.
- Dominic Thiem captured his 8th career title and is still clearly in the rising category of players attempting to break into the upper echelon of the game. It is also always nice to see Guga around the sport as he was at the trophy presentation in Brazil.
- Elina Svitolina is also a two-time winner in 2017. This year should be a fun but turbulent reshuffling of the deck on the WTA Tour. I think Angelique Kerber will have a good year but will not match 2016 in 2017. Serena Williams is likely to play a selective schedule. That leaves a lot of room for players to move up and claim ranking points throughout the season. Add in the eventual returns of Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka as well as the sorely missed Petra Kvitova and this season could be unpredictable.
- Jack Sock grabbed a title and 250 ranking points by taking the Delray title in Florida. Milos Raonic defaulted over injury concerns following his semifinal win on Saturday evening. I don’t begrudge Milos Raonic at all for doing this. I do think tennis needs to have something in place for the fans who bought tickets for a final. I am not sure what that would be (senior tour events running concurrent to tour events?). Any ideas on this front are welcome. I would not feel great about watching Courier-McEnroe if I paid for an ATP final, but I would not feel great about not seeing singles either.
- Roger Federer got off to an early win in Dubai, but I would not be shocked if he suffers a “surprise” defeat in his 2nd tournament back on tour. Dubai will see Roger Federer having to play 5 times in 7 days to win. Also, an opponent will only need to win two sets to spring a victory/upset. A 3 of 5 set format with days off between matches gave Federer time to figure out an individual match as well as time to recover from a match. No one would be shocked if Federer wins his 8th Dubai title, but I also don’t think anyone should be shocked if he losses to someone unexpected in Dubai either. Andy Murray and Roger Federer are slated for a semifinal duel. The world #1 is in theory the favorite on paper verses everyone, but who doesn’t want to see that match?
- I intended to push more content on Tennis Abides last week after a somewhat slow February. A nasty round of stomach ailments hit my children and then me so this week is now set for an amping up of content. Thanks for sticking with me!