I wait impatiently for the telecast of each of the Grand Slam Tennis Tournaments as the greatest tennis players in the world convene to vie for the prize won only by the strong. Each year brings a new and younger assembly to stir up the mix and make the contest all the more enjoyable.
The 2010 Australian Open will take place at Melbourne Park from January 18-31, 2010. It is the first of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, along with the championships at Roland Garros in Paris, Wimbledon in London, and the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
The people of Australia love tennis which is reflected in their support of the Open. They are a laid-back, fun-loving people who are fun to watch as they provide impromptu entertainment during and between the matches. The players also enjoy competing in Australia amidst the colorful antics going on around them.
Rafael Nadal is the men’s defending champion, having won the 2009 Australian Open men’s singles championship with a five-set win against Roger Federer.
Who will we see at the 2010 Australian Open and who will be left standing on the last day, January 31, 2010?
Roger Federer finally won the French Open in 2009 to complete a career Grand Slam, being only the sixth man to accomplish this feat . Of course, Rafael Nadal was sidelined with injuries and did not compete in Paris. We are left to wonder whether Roger could have beat Nadal if Rafa had been seeded at the French Open. Roger went on to win Wimbledon as well for his 15th Grand Slam title, the most of any man who ever played the game. He is ranked #1 going into the Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal – After his win over Roger Federer at the Australian Open in January of 2009, Rafa was plagued by knee injuries and an abdominal injury which took him out of the running for the middle part of the year. His year was capped, however, with a win for Spain in the Davis Cup finals agains the Czech Republic. He is ranked #2 behind Roger Federer.
Novak Djokovic won his first Grand Slam singles title at the 2008 Australian Open and followed this up by winning the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai in 2008. The Tennis Masters Cup was renamed this year as the ATP World Tour Finals. Novak’s performance has been less than stellar in 2009. However, he is ranked #3 in the world just prior to the 2010 Australian Open. Can he repeat his 2008 victory from down under? Probably not.
Andy Murray, although he is ranked #4, has yet to win a Grand Slam. He has won matches against the Grand Slam winners in the pack – Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Roddick. The British are looking for a new hero since Tin Henman retired, but they are constantly being disappointed as the Scotsman fails to live up to his ranking and his bravado. He may soon lose his #4 ranking as Juan del Porto gains confidence and experience as the year moves on.
Juan Martin del Porto, a 20-year-old from Argentina, caused an upset at the U.S. Open in 2009 by beating Roger Federer in the finals in five sets. He is surely a contender at the Australian Open which is also a hard court game. We have to put del Porto in the mix. He could be the spoiler. He is ranked #5 at this time.
Nikolay Davydenko is strong this year, having captured the ATP World Tour Finals this past November in London against Juan Martin del Porto. Davydenko won eight titles this year, beating all four 2009 Grand Slam winners. His ranking is now #6. He will prove a threat to the contenders in Melbourne Park if his momentum continues.
Dark horses in the top 10 include Andy Roddick, Robin Soderling who is capable of knocking off the best of them, Fernando Verdasco and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. On any given day, it is possible to topple a champion. Any of these ten men could hold up that trophy on January 31st.
My prediction for the final: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
My prediction for the winner: Sorry, too close to call.