For a few years now, the ATP tour has been a bit predictable at times. The domination of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic – and, in the last couple of years, Andy Murray – has become an inevitable occurrence. To date, 2017 has almost seen men’s tennis go through a time warp with the return to power of Federer and Rafael Nadal. Just what is going on?
The 2016 season was almost one of two halves. Up until Wimbledon, it was all about Novak Djokovic, with two Grand Slam wins to his name, with Andy Murray runner-up on both occasions. Then Murray won a second Wimbledon championship and the US Open saw Stan Wawrinka defeat Djokovic in the final. Murray dominated the final months of the year, so much so that he ended up being awarded a knighthood.
2017, though, has been a totally different story for the game. A look at the Race to London standings makes for very strange reading. If on January 1st, you’d have told anyone that in the week leading up to the French Open, the top two would be Nadal and Federer, with neither Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic in the top ten, they likely wouldn’t have believed you.
Just what is happening this year and what can we expect from the upcoming French Open? We could be in for a fascinating tournament, and according to the latest tennis odds, Nadal is 4/5 to win the title. It certainly won’t be a Roger Federer win in Paris as he’s already withdrawn. With the Australian Open already in his pocket this season, he is doing everything he can to win another Wimbledon title.
Nadal Back on Top
Rafael Nadal is top in the Race to London and it’s great to see him back in form after so many injury problems in recent years. There’s still that fear that you will check the news and see that he’s injured but the Spaniard has had a strong season on his beloved clay with wins in Monaco, Barcelona and Madrid on the clay and three runs to finals including the Australian Open. He’s strongly fancied to go all the way at the French Open with his main rivals’ form rather questionable at present.
Andy Murray is the world number one but he’s certainly not playing like one at present. He’s had a series of disappointing defeats and has a major job on his hands to get his form back in time for the French Open. With a good warm-up at Queen’s, he will be a major force at Wimbledon though.
Novak Djokovic had an amazing first half of 2016 but it’s all been a bit patchy since then. Three Grand Slam tournaments without a win and even sacking his coaches hasn’t yet worked with a disappointing loss to Alexander Zverev in the final of the Rome Open. Will the hiring of Andre Agassi bring about a return to form for the former world number one?
All this uncertainty is at least making the men’s game exciting again. No longer do we go through a two-week tournament just counting down the days to the inevitable win of either Djokovic or Murray. Shocks are starting to happen and the consistency that the top two have had in recent years isn’t there at present. Will it return or could we see a return to the old days when Nadal won the French Open and Federer was triumphant at Wimbledon?