Federer Still on Top as New Decade Dawns

by John on January 4, 2010

A new decade begins in men’s tennis today. The 2010 ATP Tour kicks off with tournaments in Brisbane, Chennai and Doha. Back atop the world rankings is Roger Federer, who won two Grand Slams last year and supplanted Pete Sampras as the all-time leader in major championships with 15. Federer reclaimed the World No. 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal on July 6 after winning Wimbledon and the French Open. Nadal had held the top slot for 46 weeks, having ended Federer’s 237-week reign at No. 1 in September of 2008. The Spaniard, winner of the Australian Open, was plagued by injuries much of 2009. Tendonitis in Nadal’s knees contributed to his fourth-round loss at the French Open, where he was the reigning four-time champion, and prevented him from defending his title at Wimbledon. What the new season will bring is anybody’s guess. But, in my opinion, there is a sense of predictability at the top. I see only six players in the mix to win a major this year. Who ends up No. 1? Roll the dice since no one will dominate. Key questions. Can Federer maintain the form and drive to remain at the top of the pack and add another major to his resume? Will Nadal shake the injury bug and regain his status as Federer’s chief nemesis and the pre-eminent player on tour? Can Novak Djokovic prove to be more than a one-hit wonder and win his second major? Is this the year Andy Murray finally breaks through and wins a Slam? Will Argentine Juan Martin del Potro build on his victory at the U.S. Open and become a force to be reckoned with? And is Nikolay Davydenko, the season-ending ATP Tour Finals champion, ready to bag a big one. Now for the crystal ball predictions. Davydenko takes the crown in Melbourne. The crafty Russian is a superb ball striker and master tactician. Davydenko has the game to dismantle the best and he proved it at The O2 in London. Roland Garros? If Nadal is healthy, it’s a slam dunk. After all he is the Clay Master. Federer is still the best on grass. He owns the lawns at the All England Club and should make Wimbledon his 16th major. Murray will get off the schneid and win at Flushing Meadows for his first Slam. Djokovic or Del Potro could surprise at Melbourne and New York. My long-shot picks to cause a ruckus are Marin Cilic, Robin Soderling and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Am I certain of any of this? No way.

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