As the 2012 tennis season wrapped up I was thankful for a breather from tennis. It was such a great, great year, but not only did the players need a break, I did too! Its now mid-December and I am fully craving tennis once more and ready to rock and roll with my predictions!
The first week is packed with 3 WTA events, 3 ATP events and of course, the Hopman Cup in Perth. The women will start 2013 in Brisbane, Auckland and Shenzhen in China, which will host a new International event. Year on year, Brisbane’s field of player has been improving and this year is no different as they have managed to attract eight of the top ten including the big three in Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, which could give us some early indication of form going into the Australian Open. They are joined by Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova and home favourite, Sam Stosur.
Auckland has attracted the world number three, Agnieszka Radwanska and a host of quality players too. The defending champion, Zheng Jie, Julia Goerges, Mona Barthel and sure-to-be resurgent Russians, Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova will be battling for the title. Li Na will headline the Shenzhen Open along with fellow Chinese player, Peng Shuai, Marion Bartoli and Jelena Jankovic. It is also worth nothing from a British persepctive that Heather Watson will open in Auckland, meanwhile Laura Robson will be a seed in the Shenzhen draw. Auckland is one of my favourite International events and it should be a wide open draw this year.
Moving onto the ATP, Brisbane is a joint event and Andy Murray is returning to defend the title he won last year. He is joined by a number of talented up-and-comers with Milos Raonic, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Kei Nishikori all starting their season in Brisbane. Doha looks considerably weaker this year compared to previous years as Roger Federer will play no warm-up tournaments before the Australian Open. Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer are the top two seeds with only four of the current top 20 taking part. The final ATP event takes place in Chennai, India where a respectable top four of Tomas Berdych, Janko Tipsarevic, Marin Cilic and Stanislas Wawrinka are the only highlights of a line-up that lacks any strength in depth with a number of players outside of the top 100 making the main draw.
The Hopman Cup is one of the most unique events on tour and one of my favourite too. Eight nations consisting of one female and one male player will battle it out in a series of encounters featuring two singles matches and a mixed doubles match. The tournament, which will be contested at a new 15,500 arena features a stunning line-up; Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) are the top seeds, but will be hotly chased by Venus Williams/John Isner (USA), Andreas Seppi/Francesca Schiavone (Italy) and Tommy Haas/Andrea Petkovic (Germany).
I will be continuing with my blog all throughout 2013 and do hope you will continue to read… please feel free to leave comments in response to all my predictions 🙂