Tennis: Things to look out for in 2016

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December 23, 2015 9:05 pm

This year unfolded another glorious chapter in the history of tennis. While Serena Williams cemented her place at the pinnacle of women’s tennis, Novak Djokovic began scripting an era of his own, giving a season that will be considered among the greatest in open era.

It saw the game’s finest gladiator Rafa Nadal struggle at his beloved crushed bricks and witnessed gut wrenching moments when Roger Federer succumbed at the last hurdles of Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows.

The likes of Gabrine Muguruza and Belinda Bencic proved that they might be the next big thing and Vinci produced one of the greatest upset of our time. In all, 2015 has laid exciting prospects to look forward to in 2016.

Here, we look at the 5 most anticipated records, stories, or events you may call them, that the world is focussing on.

The Calendar Slam

It was a sunny afternoon at Paris as Djokovic made his way to complete, what many believed was a mere formality of wrapping up the final against Stanislas Wawrinka. By the end of it, it was the biggest shock of the year (only to be overshadowed by Serena’s defeat at USO later).

Wawrinka denied Novak a career slam, stretching his long wait and reduced the Serbian to tears. Djokovic ended the year with three slams, thanks to Stan there was no calendar slam.

But the chances for this elusive benchmark are much higher in 2016. The level that Novak is playing at is far more superior than any of his competitors. And it won’t be a surprise if he ends up doing something that was last achieved by the great Rod Laver.

Having said that, we all know it will be extremely difficult for him to repeat the heroics of 2015 and we also know his love for challenges and monumental expectations. The Serbinator is surely the machine to beat in 2016.

Check out all the records Novak made his own in 2015

Federer’s quest for elusive eighteenth

13 slams since Federer added to his tally of 17. There was a time when he won 9 out of 13 consecutive majors. That’s father time for you, it waits for no one, not even the mighty Swiss.

Image Courtesy: www.skysports.com

2015 proved a crucial year for Roger, in the twilight of his illustrious career, Federer reached consecutive GS finals and polished his rusting mojo with the help of his childhood idol Stefan Edberg. How much majority of us ardently wished that he wins again, lifts another major trophy. And he would have, had he faced anyone not named Novak Djokovic on the other side of the net.

Come 2016, and Federer would begin his quest again, for his fans, this time with the help of Ivan Ljubicic. His best shot? Definitely at Wimbledon.

The Swiss needs to improve his break point conversion rate and play the big points better than Novak in order to have any chance of beating him in a major final. His game otherwise is still good enough to win majors and to achieve unprecedented heights.

Return of El-Matador

For the first time in 10 years, Rafael Nadal failed to win a grand slam. It’s something for which he must be praised, but that was not the case this year. His struggles were apparently clear, and critics took no time in writing him off after he failed to defend his throne at Paris.

2016 will probably be the most crucial year of Nadal’s journey. It may see him go past Pistol Pete’s 14 or it may be the final nail in the coffin for his grand slam glories. Rafa showed glimpses of his brilliance towards the end of the year and chances are that he might very well be on his way back to the top. His best chance still remains at Roland Garros, the only hurdle he might face will be in the shape of Novak Djokovic, someone who has demolished him on all courts in recent past.

It’s a long and tough year with a stiff test that awaits Rafa and his fans, something that the entire world is waiting to unfold.

The Olympics

It’s the golden year and athletes have already set their sight on the ultimate honour in sports. Among the Big Four, only Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray have a singles gold to their name, something that Djokovic and Federer would love to achieve too.

Image Courtesy: www.espn.co.uk

But what has really spiced up things, is Federer’s association with veteran Martina Hingis. Both will compete in the mixed doubles for Switzerland.Martina Hingis had a splendid year with her Indian partners, Sania Mirza and Leander Paes, and looks in a formidable shape. The Swiss team will be the one to watch out for in Brazil.

Federer will also team up with good friend Stan Wawrinka in Men’s Doubles.

Keep an eye on…

Gabrine Muguruza of Spain

Belinda Bencic, Gabrine Muguruza, Nick Kyrgios, Kei Nishikori, Borna Coric, David Goffin. These are few names who deserve your attention in 2016, as they have announced their arrival in fine style.

Bencic dislodged the might Williams en route to her premier WTA title. While Muguruza reached the Wimbledon finals and impressed many with her game. The strongest contenders who can win their maiden GS title this year are Simona Halep and Kei Nishikori.

The Japanese Kei, whose terrific run to the US Open final in 2014 could not be replicated this year and who had a below average season due to injury issues, will be the one to watch out after the Big Four and Stan. The Swiss sensation Bencic is taking long strides and has entered the top 20. She is capable of improving her already impressive record of 2015 next year.

Simona Halep of Romania

Romanian Halep will also be looking to break her GS duck after losing to Maria Sharapova in the finals last year.

 

Sameer Bharti

Watches tennis, cricket and football. Mostly tennis.

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