Tennis Headlines in Early 2017
January 13th 2017
Words By: Erick Hayes
One of the best things about tennis is that you don’t have to wait long for the first Grand Slam of the year. The Australian Open is just around the corner, and there are a number of intriguing storylines to follow. Everyone will be watching to see if Novak Djokovic and Angelique Kerber can defend their titles. Of course, everyone will be watching to see if there are any big upsets. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have a potential third-round matchup. Take a closer look at these storylines to watch as the action commences Down Under.
Andy Murray with the Number One Ranking
Perhaps the most shocking thing that happened last year was the fact that Murray was able to snatch the No. 1 ranking from Djokovic. After he won his fifth Australian Open title in six years, it looked like Djokovic was primed for another big year. Although he won the French Open, after that he went into a tailspin. He went out in the third round at Wimbledon, losing in a shocking upset to Sam Querrey.
Murray won Wimbledon and his second consecutive Olympics singles title to finish 2016 as the hottest tennis player on the planet. After losing to Djokovic at the French Open, Murray finished the year with a 45-3 record and the number one ranking. He has never found triumph in Australia, and everyone will be watching to see if Murray can finally find success Down Under. Djokovic will be gunning for him and looking to snag his sixth Australian Open title in seven years.
Angelique Kerber Looks to Defend Her Title
Kerber had the kind of breakthrough season that players dream of last year. It all began at the Australian Open. After surviving match point in the first round against Misaki Doi, Kerber stormed forward to win the tournament in a thrilling final over Serena Williams. Kerber also won the title at the US Open last year and is currently ranked number one in the world. All eyes will be on the 28-year-old German as she looks to defend her title in Australia.
Serena Williams Looks for Redemption
Squarely in Kerber’s path sits Williams. It will be fascinating to watch whether Williams can rebound from her crushing defeat to Kerber last year if they find themselves in a rematch this year. Kerber seems to be the one player on the WTA Tour who can give Williams fits. Kerber’s counter punching prowess is the ultimate weapon to handle the power that Williams puts on the ball.
At age 35, Williams is entering the twilight of her career. Perhaps we saw the first strong signs of aging in her performance last year. Other than her victory at Wimbledon, she looked vulnerable to Kerber. It may be that Williams might never win another Grand Slam outside Wimbledon’s speedy grass courts. Her performance at this year’s Australian Open will go a long way towards determining if Williams is getting ready to fade into the sunset.