2009 Projections - Part I

ATP HEADLINES

Long live the king!

2009 is sure to be a year plastered with highlights surrounding the Swiss maestro Roger Federer, and his ultimate quest of breaking the all-time Grand Slam record set by Pete Sampras. Securing a Grand Slam title in 2009 will be much harder than in past years, as pressure from the top players continue to mount. Despite 2008 being one of his worst seasons to date, Federer still has much to defend in 2009: a semi-final appearance at the Australian Open, runner-up at both the French Open and Wimbledon, and the US Open title. From where we stand, it seems unlikely that he will regain the coveted No. 1 position from Rafael Nadal.

¡Vamos Rafa!
And while we’re on the topic of Rafa, let’s talk about his chances of remaining at the apex of men’s tennis. After a near perfect 2008 season (French Open & Wimbledon Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist), the current “King of the Hill” will have a lot of ranking points to defend. If Rafa can manage to stay healthy and strong, it is our prediction that he will remain at the top of the men’s game.


Musical chairs anyone?
Novak Djokovic is now a tested player. And like Nadal and Federer before him, he will have to contend with the hungry new talent nipping at his Adidas wearing heel. Although we predict some success for the Serb, he will not reach No. 1 in 2009. Instead, sit back and watch as Federer, Murray, and Djokovic trade ranking positions throughout the season, engaging in a proverbial “musical chair” exchange. A very exciting spectacle for fans to follow (I’m already frothing at the mouth)!

The Roddick/Blake effect

With the Americans now on a downward spiral, Andy Roddick and James Blake will be forced to produce killer results this year to remain in the Top 10. If Blake’s recent result at the Hopman Cup in Australia is any indication of his longevity at the top of the sport, his fans are in for a disappointing season (he lost in 3 sets to Dominik Hrbaty, currently ranked 250). These one-time elite players will manage to hold on for just a bit longer before making their way towards the veterans’ lounge.

Time Machine
Nadal was not the only man in 2008 to have a tremendous year. After the Wimbledon Championships, Andy Murray had, what can only be called, a breakthrough year. Since then, he has matured both mentally and physically, and we predict that he will continue to ride the momentum he created in the later part of 2008. This will be the year Andy Murray wins his first Grand Slam, taking with him multiple titles and inching his way closer to the top of the world.

Starlight, starbright…oh the future burns so bright
Tsonga has finally proven his worth, and will continue to grow throughout the 2009 season. However, we believe it will be Juan Martin del Potro who will end 2009 in the Top 5. The true youngsters of the ATP tour, Japanese sensation Kei Nishikori and Latvian teenager Ernest Gulbis, each possess tremendous talent; their quality will soon be measured.

Last Cheers

Watch and cheer for your perennial favorites, Safin and Hewitt. These tried-and-true veterans will shimmer ever-so-brightly, sending their devoted fans into a heighten frenzy, giving us a temporary glance into their former glory. In the end, however, their brilliance will fade just as quickly as it sparked.

Final Bow
Who will make their retirement announcement first: Marat Safin or Fabrice Santoro?

Thread to Follow

Will Federer chase down the Pete Sampras Grand Slam record? We predict he will match the all-time record. But will he surpass the great mark of 14 in 2009?

We can hardly wait to see how 2009 will unfold!

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