Djokovic “Tremendous N ° 1”? The file for Serena? 10 questions for a season (half 1)

By Rémi BOURRIERES, Laurent VERGNE and Maxime BATTISTELLA

Discover half 2 on Friday.

Djokovic will he turn into the “Tremendous n ° 1”?

On this 12 months 2021, a number of information regarding the place of world No. 1 are inside gun vary of the Serbian. One in all them, and never the least, will fall for positive: that of the overall variety of weeks spent on the throne. He’s at the moment owned by Roger Federer (310 weeks) however with at the moment 302 weeks on the clock, Djokovic will exceed this milestone in early March. And no matter his consequence on the Australian Open for the reason that coronavirus led ATP, allow us to keep in mind, to change – briefly – the principles for calculating the rating, now established on the premise of the outcomes of the final 24 months (as an alternative of 12). Bearing in mind solely the perfect consequence obtained in the identical match.

This new calculation system, in drive for the second till the first week of March, in addition to the freezing of factors which had been decreed between March and August 2020, clearly did the enterprise of Djokovic, who grew to become No. 1 for the primary time nearly ten years in the past (in July 2011). They may additionally propel him greater within the hierarchy of gamers who’ve remained No. 1 for essentially the most consecutive weeks: he’s at the moment at 122, not so removed from Ivan Lendl (157) and Jimmy Connors (160). However, Federer’s 237 straight weeks appear out of attain.

Lastly, there stays one other main problem for Djokovic: that of ending for the seventh time in a season as No. 1. He would thus be the one holder of a file that he shares in the interim with Pete Sampras. However right here we’re nonetheless removed from it. As a result of even when he nonetheless enjoys a superb margin, Djokovic should stem a pack of rabid pursuers and if he doesn’t regain the arrogance that inhabited him till – it appears – his disqualification on the ‘US Open, will probably be difficult, if not hypothetical.

However, will probably be understood, all this additionally is determined by the well being state of affairs and its influence on the 2021 calendar, on which the world rating is immediately dependent.

Do Humbert and Ferro have the makings of leaders?

Fully. They’re already considerably so, furthermore. Fiona Ferro, who completed the 2020 season in forty second place, is already No. 1 in France – actually a small place forward of Caroline Garcia – whereas Ugo Humbert (thirty first) was on the finish of the season the person sturdy in French males’s tennis, even whether it is nonetheless “solely” quantity 3 behind Gaël Monfils (eleventh) and Benoît Paire (twenty eighth).

If the Niçoise just like the Messin should not the sort to roll mechanics, there may be completely nothing, at dwelling, appears limiting. Neither their approach, nor their speech and even much less their way of thinking. The tennis they performed on the finish of the season in France, at Roland Garros for Fiona (who additionally received a title in Palermo when the second spherical in August), and on the Rolex Paris Masters for Ugo (who had simply triumphed in Antwerp after having additionally received the Auckland match firstly of the season), is a tennis that brings them nearer to the perfect on this planet. And even the easiest.

Past that, each appear to have made this set off previous to any nice future: that of getting utterly appropriated their challenge. Actually, this has resulted specifically in a proactive method within the seek for a brand new coach, Emmanuel Planque for Fiona now greater than a 12 months in the past, and extra not too long ago Nicolas Copin for Ugo throughout the All In. Academy.

Changing into leaders in French tennis, after all, doesn’t utterly rely on them. We all know plenty of them who nonetheless have a say. On the boys’ facet, Gaël Monfils, till confirmed in any other case, nonetheless holds the bar firmly. Among the many women, the battle may nonetheless rage with Caroline Garcia, whose immense potential stays intact, but additionally Alizé Cornet and Kristina Mladenovic.

So, if Ferro and Humbert don’t take the management of French tennis this 12 months, it’s as a result of others can have been stronger. However actually, for them, it would solely be a matter of time …

Is Serena going to get her twenty fourth Main?

1. Serena Williams is at all times aggressive.

2. The extra time passes, the extra its possibilities diminish.

The dwelling legend of American tennis, and the largest star of girls’s tennis within the twenty first century, will have a good time his fortieth birthday this 12 months, like a sure Roger Federer. He nonetheless solely lacks a “small” Grand Slam victory to tie Margaret Courtroom’s all-time file for twenty-four main singles titles. To be clear, Serena would not want this to make historical past. No matter occurs, it would depart an indelible mark. This file hunt consists of part of folklore however, as a superb competitor, she would additionally prefer to win (or in any case to not lose) this battle over time.

Williams received his twenty third Grand Slam on the Australian Open in January 2017. 4 years now. It’s beginning to take a very long time. Since then, eleven totally different gamers (Ostapenko, Muguruza, Stephens, Wozniacki, Halep, Kerber, Osaka, Barty, Andreescu, Kenin and Swiatek) have received at the least one title. However not Serena. If the WTA circuit has struggled to search out itself a necessary patron to date, many (and sometimes younger, even very younger) have hit the nail on the top at the least as soon as. However not Serena. All this doesn’t encourage the best optimism about his probabilities of profitable this well-known twenty fourth crown.

Regardless of the whole lot, we’re speaking a few champion who’s at all times in a position, over a fortnight, to surpass herself and pose a menace. She was nonetheless within the semi-finals of the final US Open. If the American retains an opportunity to go to the tip, it’s in all probability at Wimbledon or the US Open, the place she performed, and misplaced, 4 finals in complete between 2018 and 2019. Excellent competitor, Serena Williams at all times has the need to play and, much more so, the need to win. However time is towards her.

Will Thiem go even greater?

Dominic Thiem is the metronome of development. Yr after 12 months, the Austrian climbs the ladder within the hierarchy. 2020, regardless of all its ups and downs, was one other 12 months on the rise for the native of Wiener Neustadt, who received his first capital title on the US Open, to which had been added two finals in Australia and the Masters . 4th on this planet on the finish of 2019, he has now settled on the rostrum. The summit shouldn’t be very far. Is it for 2021?

The duty is immense. In entrance of him stay two giants, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, an infernal duo nonetheless trusting the overwhelming majority of the principle titles on the calendar. Thiem’s ​​luck is to search out himself in a doubtlessly very favorable time window. It doesn’t belong to the Large 3 or Large 4 or to the NextGen. Positioned in a type of in-between, he could have on the daybreak of his 28 years the possibility of his life to determine himself because the sturdy man of the circuit.

Final 12 months, he may have completed much more and higher. In Melbourne, the Austrian could remorse having let slip a closing largely inside his attain towards Djokovic. Ditto on the different finish of the season, towards Medvedev, within the Masters closing. That is what nonetheless holds him again in his ascent: he nonetheless will get too caught in relation to concluding. Even in Flushing, imperial in the course of the fortnight, he appeared paralyzed within the closing towards Zverev. Happily for him, the German ended up “choker” much more than him.

However all of the items of the puzzle appear in place for Dominic Thiem. Now as sturdy on quick surfaces as on clay, he can win nearly anyplace besides turf. Tennistically and bodily, he reached his peak. If Djokovic and Nadal decrease their guard even slightly, he may effectively intrude with them within the standings, and even surpass them each. As it’s, he’s already in a position to look them within the eye.

Dominic Thiem is now a Grand Slam winner.

Credit score: Getty Photographs

Can Federer nonetheless hope for an incredible title?

Large query. All of it is determined by what you contemplate an incredible title. Are we speaking a few Grand Slam match? Olympic Video games? Masters? Or a “easy” Masters 1000? Within the first case, the enterprise will probably be, allow us to agree from the outset, on the very least tough. At 39 spring (40 subsequent August 8), Roger Federer now not has the legs of his youth, his proper knee reminded him of this, eradicating him from the circuit for a full 12 months (at the least).

We’ll solely see him on a courtroom at finest on the finish of February-beginning of March, he who performed his final match within the half of the Australian Open 2020. In Melbourne, he would be the huge absentee for the great and easy purpose that ‘he didn’t see himself as a winner. His capability to chain matches to the perfect of 5 units is a giant query now. In addition to, will the Balois come again? He himself could not understand it, even when his agent needed to reassure, explaining that the man had made nice progress in coaching for a return he hopes flamboyant subsequent summer time.

Roger Federer

Credit score: Getty Photographs

The Wimbledon-JO-US Open sequence makes her eyes smooth. In 2016, he had additionally proven that even on one leg, he may attain the final sq. on English grass (similar remark in Australia final 12 months). However from there to lifting the trophy, there’s a tough chasm to cross towards Nadal and Djokovic, in addition to the rise of the younger competitors. The Tokyo Olympic aim on a quick arduous courtroom, excellent for his aggressive tennis, appears to be like extra reasonable.

In 3 units, Federer will stay harmful. Tennistically, he proved it in 2019 by profitable specifically in Miami. There is no such thing as a purpose to imagine that he’s not but succesful. Particularly for the reason that motivation needs to be most as a result of the tip is inexorably approaching. Who is aware of if 2021 is not going to be his final lap? And as an emblem lover, what higher approach than to finish the loop with a gold medal round your neck, or a seventh and final Masters match within the cash? The assets of his future quadra physique will define the sphere of prospects. As a result of in him, the flame at all times burns for sure.

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