The old vs the new; the experienced vs the up-and-coming, 2019 will be an exciting year in the world of tennis
For many of the world’s leading tennis players, the 2019 season is already underway. And for the rest, the official start of the men’s and women’s tours begins next week in 2019 – and here’s just a bit of insight on what to expect in the coming year:
Thirty is the new Twenty in Men’s Tennis
Before the new generation attempt to take over we predict there will be a number of comebacks from the more ‘experienced’ players. The younger players had success in the latter stages of 2018. Zverev, Edmund, Osaka and Sabalenka were just a few of the players who won significant titles. However, heading into 2019, a number of the old guard will be in better shape and gunning to return to the top.
Andy Murray who had hip surgery never made it to the start line in Melbourne this year. Meanwhile, Nadal ended the tournament nursing a hip injury, while Djokovic found out he would need an operation on his elbow. So, Djokovic will be eager to return to what has been his most successful Grand Slam event. Similarly, Nadal has been working hard in Majorca following his ankle surgery last month, and Stan Wawrinka’s form picked up through 2018.
Stan Wawrinka had a forgettable year after sustaining injuries. As a result, the 3-time Grand Slam champion is currently ranked 66 in the world. Stan will be looking to rediscover his silken touch in the Marseille Open early in 2019.
“It used to be that hitting 30 was the sign that a player’s career was winding down,” Wertheim says. “But Federer and Nadal have changed other players’ expectations for how long they can keep playing their best tennis.”
Andy Murray has gone through remarkable lengths to improve his fitness since his hip injury. The 31-year-old’s schedule shows that he is expecting 2019 to be busy. The former No.1 opens his campaign in Brisbane next week and after the Australian Open is expected to play indoors in Montpellier and Marseille and outdoors in Dubai before heading for the “Sunshine Double” of Indian Wells and Miami.
New Grand Slam Winner
As it stands, there has been no Grand Slam winner below the age of 30, but there are many contenders in line to win a Major. Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev are at the top of that list.
While thirty is the new twenty, the up-and-coming are stronger than ever. Nadal is adamant tennis has a healthy future with the proliferation of the younger stars emerging.
The previous generation probably, they were not enough good,” Nadal told CNN.
“But now, yes, in my opinion, we have a new generation that is very good. It is just a question of time, that’s my feeling. It’s just about time that they are going to win grand slams.”
“[Alexander] Zverev, [Dominic] Thiem, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, [Denis] Shapovalov, [Karen] Khachanov, [Andrey] Rublev, all these guys are good. [Nick] Kyrgios, [Alex] De Minaur.
“All these guys are good, very good.
“So they are going to be there and they are going to fight for important things for probably the next five, six years.”
Dominic Thiem reached the final of Roland Garros, while Zverev won 4 titles in 2018 – including one Masters 1000 title in Madrid and the ATP Finals in London.
Other rising stars are Karen Khachanov, who won his first Masters 1000 title in Paris. Borna Coric, Stefanos Tsitsipas, David Goffin, Nick Kyrgios and Kyle Edmund. All of whom could very well win this year’s title.
Since 2005, only on nine occasions did either Federer, Nadal or Djokovic not win one of the grand slams on offer. To say it has been one-sided would be a gross understatement. If one of the younger players wins a Grand Slam in 2019 they will officially announce the beginning of a new era in men’s tennis.
An exciting year awaits us.