2013 was nothing less than a five set thriller that had all of us at the edge of our seats from start to finish. There were stories that truly shook the tennis world both on and off the court. Andy Murray ended the British drought at Wimbledon and silenced his critics by annihilating Djokovic in the final. Marion Bartoli was the surprise package of the year who won her first grand slam and then immediately threw in the towel on her career. However the question that seemed to be on everybody’s mind was whether it is time for the most successful tennis player of all time to end his glorious career. Luckily for FedEx fans, the master chose to continue fighting.
That being said, 2014 is all set to be a dead set ripper and the proceedings start in Melbourne with the Australian Open. The Rod Laver Arena has seen some historic matches and has often witnessed major upsets. The men’s draw continues to be extremely competitive. The big four are all set to battle it out on the blue courts but there are plenty of other names in the list of contenders for the title. Tsonga, Ferrer and Berdych plan on challenging the dominance of the big four and will not go out without a fight. Out of the big four, Djokovic is being hailed as the favorite because of his hot run of form and track record at the Australian Open. The title race has evolved to a point where nobody is a true favorite and the draw is wide open.
On the women’s side of the draw, the obvious favorites for the title are Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka. Williams, who made a remarkable comeback after a major blood clot has dominated the circuit and is looking to equal the greats like Navratilova and Billie Jean King. Azarenka the young challenger has defeated Williams recently and is high on confidence. Many critics argue that the level of the women’s game has deteriorated because no player seems to have the necessary staying power. Asian hope Li Na is a possible challenger for the title and Aussie fans will be rooting for local hope Sam Stosur.
All in all it is hard to predict who will walk away with the first grand slam title of the year but there is no doubt that it will be a sporting spectacle. Don’t miss out on any of the action as the players serve, slice, drop and smash the ball starting on the 13th of January. It’s fair to call the end of the year ‘deuce’ and it will be interesting to see who takes the ‘advantage’ in the new year.
Image credit: sawyerpointtennis.com