For the first time since I have been following tennis I feel the absence of a player, Serena Williams. Perhaps it’s not so much the person, but what she brought to the sport: “the desire to be consistently dominant“. While Roger Federer has been a dominant player, he does not emanate that aura of raw dominance that one senses when Serena steps on court.
She not only wants to win, you get the impression that Williams wants to dominate her opponents in the process. The first major of the season is about to get underway in a few days; which players will dominate at this year’s Australian Open?
Rafael Nadal is the number one seed; however, he is battling a right knee injury and no one except for his team knows how serious it is and the impact it will have on his game. Federer, the defending champion, has been prone of late to back issues; how far can he go with the plethora of big serving opponents that he may potentially encounter en route to the final?
The top two seeds in the women’s draw have never won a major. While there is no lack of talent, there seems to be a lack of ability to handle the pressure. Can Simona Halep step up to the expectations of being the top seed and win her first major? Will Caroline Wozniacki ride the wave of confidence she gained from winning the biggest title of her career (WTA Finals) at the end of the 2017 season and win the Australian Open as her first major?
There are no clear-cut favorites; while, the draws are not completely wide open, I struggle to pick two or four players to get to the finals. With the lack of dominance on the WTA Tour and the preponderance of injuries on the ATP Tour, there are quite a few players who can get to the final on both sides.
Being a top seed does not guarantee that you will get to the second week. Thus, it should be exciting to see which players will rise to the occasion and handle the pressure of a major better than their opponents.
MEN: Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev, Denis Shapovalov, Lucas Pouille, Juan Martin Del Potro and Grigor Dimitrov.
WOMEN: Jelena Ostapenko, Maria Sharapova, Julia Goerges, Simona Halep, Venus Williams and Caroline Garcia.
As much as I am a huge Nadal fan, I am convinced that his injury is more serious than he is letting on.
SOURCE OF IMAGES: serveandrally originals (Fred Stolle and Ken Rosewall – former Australian tennis players)