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January 2022

This year promises to be a fascinating one for tennis.

In the men’s game, there has been a shift at the top in the last few years, where the younger players are starting to end the dominance of the Big Four, with the likes of Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev winning Grand Slams in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

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Could we see another new Grand Slam champion this year?

Alex Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas have come close before, and have won big titles in the past, such as the ATP Finals, and Zverev defeated Novak Djokovic on the way to winning the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo last year.

Speaking of Djokovic, will his grasp on the World No.1 spot finally end this year? And will other young guns relatively new to the tour, such as Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz, make big strides in their development this year and challenge at the very top?

The women’s game also enters an interesting period. It is a big year for arguably the most dominant force on the WTA Tour in recent years, Naomi Osaka.

How will Osaka respond after her breaks from the tour last year? There have been many first-time Grand Slam champions recently, will there be more this year? Could World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka be one of them?

It is also a huge year for Britain’s Emma Raducanu. Can Emma back up her incredible run all the way to the US Open title last year? She has hardly played on the WTA Tour in her young career, and there will be significant pressure and media spotlight on her, so how well will the 19-year-old handle it?

Australian Open 2022

The first Grand Slam event of the year kicks off just two weeks into the season, so there really isn’t much time at all for players to find some form before then. There is the ATP Cup; a team event similar to the Davis Cup which sees the likes of Medvedev, Zverev and Tsitsipas representing their country.

The British Davis Cup team consists of Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans, Joe Salisbury, Jamie Murray and captain Liam Broady. There are also warm up events for men and women in Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney.

The main topic of interest in the build-up, is whether World No.1 and defending champion Djokovic will participate. It is a requirement for players to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, unless they have a medical exemption. The Serb has in the past declined to confirm his vaccination status, and has suggested that he isn’t vaccinated. He recently pulled out of the ATP Cup.

If Djokovic doesn’t participate, it could pave the way for World No. 2 Medvedev to win his second grand slam title and move closer to Djokovic in the world rankings, or for someone new to get their hands on a first slam title. Alternatively, it could allow Rafael Nadal to get his 21st Grand Slam title and move ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer, with all three men currently on 20. The Spaniard has confirmed that he will be fit to play the Australian Open, and has entered the Melbourne warm-up event, after having injury difficulties towards the end of last year and getting Covid-19 last month.

In the women’s event, it remains to be seen whether Osaka can defend her title, having not played since losing in the Third Round of the US Open last September. Top seed for the event is Australia’s Ash Barty, who has won the French Open and Wimbledon, but is yet to win her home Grand Slam. It will also be a first Australian Open for Raducanu, and her first grand slam appearance since winning the US Open title.

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