Grand Slams 2020
The biggest blow yet to the 2020 season came at the start of April when it was announced by the British tennis authorities that Wimbledon would not be played in 2020 due to the current global crisis. The cancelation further throws into doubt the possibility of the French and US Open’s being played this year.
Like other popular sporting and cultural events, the game of tennis has been thrown into disarray by the unparalleled goings on of 2020. How different times were back in early February when Novak Djokovic claimed his 17th Grand Slam title at the expense of Dominic Thiem, and Sofia Kenin secured her maiden Grand Slam title, both at the Australian Open. It may now transpire that Melbourne will be the next venue for a Grand Slam tournament – in 2021.
A host of bookmakers and betting sites are already turning their focus to the 2021 edition of the Australian tournament, despite the fact that the French Open organisers have announced that the event will be run in October, having seen its usual May scheduling totally ruled out. Likewise, organisers of the US Open are optimistic that their event will be held this year in its usual August timeslot, but again this seems hugely optimistic. Best guesses currently remain that both the 2020 ATP and WTA Tours will be completely cancelled, or just a handful of minor tournaments will be held.
Attention turns to Australian Open 2021
With all that in mind, what kind of predictions can be made for the Australian Open 2021 seeing as that tournament is still many months away?
The great news for the game of tennis, and for all tennis fans, is that Roger Federer seems determined to play on into the 2021 season despite serious rumours of the great Swiss player retiring. Upon the announcement of Wimbledon being cancelled, the player’s agent confirmed that the all-time men’s leading Grand Slam title winner, with 20, was determined to come back to play on grass in 2021. Considering Federer reached the semi-finals last time out in Melbourne, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see the player return for another crack at an event he has won six times already, even at the age of 39.
No matter what Federer decides to do, Novak Djokovic will be the overwhelming favourite to claim another title down under. Other likely contenders for at least another semi-final berth, according to form and the opinions of the betting sites and bookmakers alike, are Rafael Nadal, seeking to equal Federer’s milestone of 20 Grand Slam titles, last year’s finalist Dominic Thiem, and another semi-finalist from last year, and the player tipped to take over the mantle of best player in the world, Alexander Zverev. Four from those five seems most likely.
As for women, things are a little less predictable. Serena Williams is set to continue into another season as the American seeks to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles. It’s a feat Serena has been chasing for some time now and considering she will be 39 by the time the event comes round, it may prove a bridge too far. Current world number one Ashleigh Barty was beaten in the semi-finals in her home event in 2020, but looks a great shout to add to the French Open title she won last year. Reigning champion Sofia Kenin and world number two Simona Halep are other strong contenders to reach the semi-finals at least. All eyes on 2021.