2017 has sprung not one but quite a few surprises. A 35-year-old Federer and a 30-year-old Nadal sharing a majority of the year’s titles between them have caused tennis fans to go into a frenzy. Interestingly, the two of the Big Four have won their tournaments without having to face the other two. Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic who have been dominating men’s tennis for some years now have not lived up to their expectations.
Soon after completing a career slam and becoming the first person since Rod Laver to hold all the four slams at once, a drop of form saw Novak Djokovic give away his Wimbledon and US Open silverware. His agonizing run right after reaching the summit continues well into 2017. The second round loss against wildcard Dennis Istomin was followed up by defeats in Mexico and Indian Wells against much lower ranked opponents. His withdrawing from Miami citing an elbow injury might have raised the hopes of his fans of a rejuvenated clay court season.Sadly,quarterfinals was where his quest of the Monte Carlo title came to an end. Critics have called it his descent after scaling the peak. They are being proven right with each passing day. He is a far cry from the unbeatable player he was last year. A French Open title will be more than enough to redeem his place at the top but with the kind of form the King of Clay Rafa Nadal is in, it is easier said than done.
Andy Murray, on the other hand had started 2017 as the world No. 1 having won the year ending ATP World Tour, ready for the season (seemingly). Hence the defeat against Mischa Zverev in the fourth round of Australian Open was touted as a one off thing, just a bad day in the office against a charged up opponent. A title in Dubai raised people’s hopes and many thought 2017 was going to be Andy Murray's year. They were heavily disappointed to say the least. Indian Wells ,never his favourite , he lost against a player ranked outside the top 100. The start of the clay court season did not offer any respite either. He gave himself a second chance in Barcelona after the failure at Monte Carlo. There ,he was within one win away from having an encounter with Nadal- the two sides of the penny called the Big Four clashing for the first time this year. A determined Dominic Thiem put an end to it.
With their downfall at the Australian Open, expectations were high for the next big name in tennis to announce their arrival. The likes of Berdych, Del Potro, Raonic, Nishikori and even the young Alexander Zverev were being looked forward to. The Big Four however remains unbeatable. The older generation has stepped up , with younger ones’ drop of form. Whatever it is, we are still looking forward to the first ‘resurrected old vs back to form new’ contest of the year! Present scenario props Nadal as the hot favourite to complete his flurry of 10,s by winning the Big One at French Open to go along with his Barcelona and Monte Carlo titles.