Australia’s search for the record books is beginning once more, though later than anticipated in February as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
And in all probability, the 12 months will start with Novak Djokovic successful the 18th Grand Slam title that he ought to – his petulance apart – have received at this 12 months’s US Open.
That would depart him two shy of each Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and the proven fact that he has received seven of the final 10 editions of the match will mark the world No.1 as the overwhelming favourite for victory in Melbourne, in explicit. with an damage that governs the Swiss. exterior.
The two principal caveats are Nadal and Dominic Thiem. Nadal completed final season wanting recent and injury-free, which might’t typically be stated about the Spaniard at the finish of a punitive marketing campaign, whereas Thiem believes he can reverse the one among the big three on laborious courts now in addition to on clay.
The US Open champion knocked out Nadal in final 12 months’s Australian Open quarterfinals and pushed Djokovic to 5 units in the last.
Additionally, he ended the 12 months as a match participant with Daniil Medvedev, dropping the ATP last to the Russian in an in depth last.
But too typically these finals – final contested in London in November – have acted like a false daybreak, its latest winners – Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas – all grappling with kind, kind or consistency in the following 12 months.
But Medvedev and Thiem appear genuinely unfazed by the variety of Grand Slam titles in their opponent’s again pocket. Could 2021 be the 12 months the triumvirate is lastly overthrown?
Of these big three, Federer is the most doubtful so as to add to his complete of 20. He hinted that even a delayed Australian Open might come too quickly for his knee after a double operation, and even dared to confess that As her fortieth birthday approaches, the finish may need come. And but, if he can get in form for Australia, there may be nonetheless a menace there.
As for the different Grand Slam tournaments, if they’re in fine condition, it’s tough to look a lot past Nadal at Roland Garros, Thiem is the solely participant who has a sensible probability of beating him on Roland’s clay. Garros.
And then comes each Wimbledon and the US Open, probably ripe for Djokovic to search out himself in 20 Grand Slam tournaments at the finish of the season, or an opportunity for Medvedev, Thiem or one among the different members of their era of do it.
Next 12 months additionally asks the query of Andy Murray. His victory over Dan Evans in the Battle of the British earlier this month confirmed he was getting there – however will his hip ever permit him the 5 consecutive setters required for a Grand Slam?
Serena Williams, as Federer 40 in 2021, stays on her personal quest for the record books in 23 Grand Slam tournaments and one behind Margaret Court.
But it was in early 2017, pregnant along with her daughter, that she final received a Grand Slam. Four finals have been and are gone since and final 12 months she solely made it by means of the third spherical of a Slam as soon as, with a race to the US Open semi-final.
Ash Barty is beginning the 12 months as world No.1 after being absent for a lot of 2020 as a result of the pandemic, with Simona Halep simply again in second after making a delayed return to touring. Naomi Osaka is a kind of capable of battle for the first place in the world after ending her 12 months by successful the US Open.
And on the British entrance, Johanna Konta hopes to regain her earlier heights after reuniting with former coach Dimitri Zavialoff.