Winter is here and that means professional tennis players are hard at work training (on indoor tennis bubble courts, hopefully) in preparation for the 2017 season. While 2017 is only a few days old, fans have already begun to speculate on who might dominate the courts in the coming year.
ESPN asked their writers around the world for their thoughts on who might come out on top for 2017.
Since we ended 2016 with a roundup of the year in tennis, this week we weigh in on what the ESPN experts had to say. This may help you to decide which players to root for during this year’s tournaments.
The Australian Open
This tournament starts the season and takes place in the latter half January. The consensus is that on the men’s side, Andy Murray will dominate despite having lost the final match in this tournament five times over the past 7 years.
On the women’s side, it could be a tossup between Serena Williams and last year’s champ, Angelique Kerber.
The French Open
Occurring from the 28th of May to the 11th of April, the second Grand Slam event looks to be an interesting one. The predictions are a little less definitive, but it looks like Rafael Nadal might be the one to come out on top. He seems to be the most deadly on a clay surface.
Last year, Serena Williams lost to Garbine Muzura in last year’s final at the French Open. Because of Garbine’s strength on the clay, most writers agreed that it could likely be a repeat from last year.
The famous English tournament is happening from the 3rd to the 16th of July this year and it looks to be another doozy. For the men’s, Murray is naturally a top pick for some, but a couple others are picking the veteran, Roger Federer. If Roger wins, it would be his 18th Grand slam title—an achievement that just might motivate him enough to give it everything he’s got left.
It looks like Serena Williams is the by far favourite for this tournament, taking place on her strongest surface: grass. It would be a surprise to see her lose a tournament she’s been so successful at in the past.
The US Open
The bookend Grand Slam event will be starting on the 28th of August and ending on the 10th of September. Historically, Murray hasn’t done his best at this tournament, but a couple writers think he may just turn it around. The other top pick is Juan Martin Del Potro, who just might find himself at home on this surface.
For the women, the writers don’t really have a favorite, so it looks like this one could be anyone’s tournament. Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova, Angelique Kerber, Maria Sharapova… Be careful if you’re betting on this one!
What do you think? Are ESPN’s predictions on target? It will be fun to look back at the end of 2017 and see just how close they were!