Ultimate Tennis Blog wishes everyone a happy, healthy, and successful new year full of memorable tennis moments. Yesterday the new tennis season got underway in Doha, Brisbane, and Chennai.
The 2017 tennis season is a new beginning in the sense that Federer and Nadal are back while Djokovic is trying to reassert his dominance which he lost in the second half of 2016.
That attempt almost had a disastrous beginning when Djokovic went down 0-4 to Struff in his opening match in Doha. Struff was blasting winner after winner while Djokovic was hitting short and making one unforced error after the other.
It was a very shaky start to the year, to say the least, but Djokovic recovered very well as he won the first set 7-1 on the tiebreak. After the Becker breakup, I feared the worst but it was nice to see Djokovic find his rhythm as he won the second set 6-3 after getting the second break at 5-3.
Djokovic added Dusan Vemic to his team after he split up with Becker who he knew since childhood and who has been part of his team before. Djokovic is just keeping things very simple at this point and we will see how that works out for him.
- The Importance of the Australian Open for Djokovic
It won’t take very long to find out either because the Australian Open is a key event for him. He needs to make a statement by winning his most successful slam or else he may struggle to ever overtake Murray again.
So maybe it is a good idea to keep things simple for now because it’s probably not wise to experiment before such an important event. Remember that even when he began working with Becker that they lost the Australian Open in 2014.
So actually I think it is quite wise to stick with Vajda and Vemic at this point. He can always think about adding someone else when things have calmed down a bit. For now, he needs to win the Australian Open which would solve all his problems.
When Djokovic won the French Open last year he was well on his way to chasing down Federer’s 17 slam titles. The fact that he slumped after that was understandable but if he still has hopes of chasing down Federer’s record he needs to snap right out of that slump with an Australian Open title.
At the top of tennis, things can change very quickly as we have seen in the last six of months. That means things can change very quickly back to the way they were before Djokovic’s slump too, but for that, he does need to win in Melbourne.
If that happens then people will assume that the slump was only a temporary thing and that Djokovic is back to dominance, even though he most likely won’t be back to number one right away.
Murray, on the other hand, will have to deal with the pressure of being the top dog for the first time. He is also playing Doha this year and won his first match against Chardy 6-0, 7-6(2) today.
- The Return of Federer and Nadal
Then you have Federer and Nadal back which is another important factor. Federer is playing at the Hopman Cup where he defeated Evans 6-3, 6-4 in his first match while Nadal is playing in Brisbane where he defeated Dolgopolov 6-3, 6-3 today.
These two will always be a danger to anyone as long as they set foot on a tennis court. With Djokovic’s recent slump they will want to take advantage while Djokovic will look to find inspiration from their return as well.
As you can see there is a whole new dynamic to the top of the men’s game at the start of 2017 and I think it is an intriguing situation. No one is quite sure how things will play out at the Australian Open and it is quite open for a change.
I think many fans are quite anxious as well but this week’s tennis in Doha especially can already tell us quite a bit. Hopefully, we get a Djokovic vs Murray final again in which case it will be interesting to see if Djokovic can put in an improved performance from the World Tour Finals last year!