Top 10 Matches on the ATP World Tour
Top 10 Matches on the WTA Tour
Top 10 Shots on the ATP World Tour
Top 10 Shots on the WTA Tour
Top 10 Upsets of 2017
Top 10 Outside the Lines 2017
Top 10 Rising Stars of 2017: ATP World Tour
Top 10 Rising Stars of 2017: WTA Tour
2018 Tennis Wishlist
2018 Tennis Wishlist
By: Joey Hanf
This one should be easy and that's why it comes in at #10. With the return of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Victoria Azarenka and many others(maybe Serena?), the 2018 Australian Open is set to be a wild ride. Once again the women's field will be wide open, with world no. 1 Simona Halep looking to claim her first major title, while a deep list of contenders will be hot on her heels. Can Roger Federer defend his title? Will Rafael Nadal's knee be ready to go 100%? There are so many questions surrounding this year's Aussie Open, which should make it one of the most exciting events of the year. Let's hope it follows through on it's promising potential.
9. Faster Surfaces
Funny enough, Melbourne was one of the first tournaments to speed up their courts in recent years. And as we saw, it allowed for a great variety of offensive and defensive tennis. Slow hard courts in particular have made for long, grueling matches that often to lead to injuries and a lower standard of play. While a few tournaments have taken the lead in speeding up their courts, let's hope more follow along. It helps a lot in the WTA, where the serves are not as dangerous as the ATP. Bottom line: surface speed variation allows for more players with different qualities to succeed.
8. A Great Final Year in Key Biscayne
With final details being worked out as we speak, it all looks set that the Miami Open will move to Hard Rock Stadium in 2019. It will sad to see the tournament leave Key Biscayne, one of the most unique settings for professional tennis in the world. Fans have always been loyal to the tournament, and they are the rowdy, energetic type that makes matches exciting for both players and TV. With the tournament having one year left on the island, let's hope all the top players compete and that the crowds come out in droves once again.
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Love him or hate him, Kyrgios is undeniably good for the game. Well, most of the time. He did a better job of reducing the tantrums in 2017, and managed to steer clear of any suspensions, which was an improvement. But as fans saw, when Kyrgios is engaged, he is not only one of the best players in the world, he's also one of the most entertaining. From tweeners to 135 mph second serves, you never really know what is coming next from the Australian. We hope he can continue to compete week in, week out; tennis needs him.
This wish is two-fold. First, young players need to continue not only reaching late stages of tournament, but beating the top players when it matters most. With so many iconic stars at the top of the sport for so long, tennis has enjoyed an incredibly successful decade. But these players cannot play forever, and unless a young crop of players cement themselves as top players, tennis will suffer from a lack of name recognition. The second part of this wish is that tennis fans begin to pay attention to players other than their longtime favorites; watch these young men and women compete. They are not only extremely talented, but they are also very entertaining personalities.
5. Laver Cup Growth
One of the most exciting weeks of the 2017 year was Laver Cup, a new event hosted by Team 8, Roger Federer's agency. The event saw top players from Europe take on the World in an exciting 3 day format that culminated in one of the matches of the year; Nick Kyrgios vs. Roger Federer. With the 2018 installment to be held in Chicago, let's hope that tennis bodies(ATP, ITF etc) and tennis fans in the states rally to make this team event even bigger next year. The event clearly was boosted by having legendary legacies like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal behind the event, and now is the time for Laver Cup to cement themselves as a premier event on the tennis calendar, regardless of the players competing.
4. A Realistic Timetable for Serena
While she is entered into the Australian Open, it's looking less and less likely that Serena will actually play the year's first major. She has committed to two speaking engagements that happen during the tournament, and while no official announcement has been made, she is unlikely to be competing in Australia. Our wish is obviously for Serena to return to the top, and the question is not "if" but "when". Serena has proved that no matter her age, she is the best player in the world when she's at her best. Our wish is to see Serena play it safe with her return to tennis, maybe starting her schedule in Miami?
I'd like to say tennis improved on this front in 2017, but that would be a lie. More doping suspensions were kept from the public(Sara Errani tested positive because of her "mom's spaghetti"), less testing information was released, and Maria Sharapova was welcomed back to the tour with relatively no tough questioning. This wish relies on both tennis governing parties and tennis journalists to step up their game, but the real secret is not them. To actually ensure that tennis is a transparent, clean sport, the FANS will have to demand it. The press doesn't feel the need to write stories, because currently tennis fans don't care. Until we show that a clean sport is something we care about, this problem will remain relevant.
For the first time in decades, tennis took a big step in the right direction in terms of innovation. Davis Cup is set for major restructuring, new rules were tested and are being implemented going forward, and tennis executives seem to be realizing the need for change in the modern digital age. While there will always be criticism, change is necessary to keep tennis relevant and healthy for years to come. So let's continue to introduce shot-clocks, electronic line calling and coaching from the stands at more tournaments worldwide. And don't be afraid to mess with the scoring format, other events like Laver Cup showed that shorter matches can still produce excellent product.
While we would love to wish for Federer, Nadal, Serena and Venus to stay on top in 2018, we would rather they just stay healthy. And with the return of so many great players, we need to appreciate the longevity of our current stars. Let's hope they play full, but smart schedules that allow them to play their best while maintaining good health. These players are pushing limits that tennis has never seen before, playing well into their 30s with rich success. Let's hope for more.
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