Like most other sports, tennis has been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with a large number of major tournaments either being postponed or canceled altogether. Such prestigious events as Wimbledon or the Olympic Games, participation in which is a very big dream for all athletes around the world, as well as important WTA - and ATP events were not held in 2020. However, the 2021 tennis season is slowly coming to life, even if the dates of some events are still uncertain and the new reality makes it difficult to predict anything. Nevertheless, some of the tournaments are confirmed, so tennis lovers will finally be able to enjoy the fights of their favorite players, especially after such a long break.
Find out if your favorite player is one of the tournament favourites:
One of the most spectacular events at the start of the men's tennis season is the ATP Cup. The 2021 ATP Cup will be the second edition of an international men's tournament between competing nations, to be played on February 2-6 on hard courts in Melbourne. It was originally supposed to take place with 24 teams, but due to the impact of COVID-19, the organizers have decided to only allow 12 teams.
Team Serbia is among the favorites this year as Novak Djokovic, the current world No. 1, is the leader of this squad and led Team Serbia to victory in 2020. The Russian team also has great chances as they have two top-10 players. Without a doubt, Spain is also a tough opponent, because Rafael Nadal, one of the most outstanding players in tennis history, plays there.
However, the most important event at the beginning of the tennis calendar, which will attract millions of viewers in front of the screen, is the Australian Open , one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. The good news is that a certain number of spectators will be allowed into the stadiums to enjoy the matches live, around 50 per cent of normal spectator capacity will be admitted this year. The tournament will be played on 25 hard courts at Melbourne Park from 8th to 21st February 2021.
You might be wondering who are among the favorites on both the ATP and WTA tours this year. Well, definitely Novak Djokovic, one of the best players in the history of the game, has great chances according to tennis specialists. There are several reasons for this: First, Djokovic is extremely good on hard courts, he has won 11 Grand Slams on this surface, second, the Serb holds a record 8 Australian Open titles and is the defending champion. In addition, he has never (!) lost in the final of the Australian Open and is considered the mentally strongest of all tennis players. Roger Federer, another outstanding player who won 6 Australian Open titles, will miss the tournament this year, hence Rafael Nadal is Djokovic's biggest rival in Melbourne. Nadal only won the title once but played in 5 finals and has almost equal head-to-head stats with Djokovic. Dominic Thiem, an Austrian player, will also surely be fighting for the trophy as he reached the final last year where he lost to Djokovic in a 5 set thriller. Russian player Daniil Medvedev also has great chances to go far as hard courts are his favorite surface and he had an amazing 2020 season winning the ATP Finals beating Djokovic, Nadal and Thiem in a row.
On the women's tour, Japan's Naomi Osaka is among the favorites due to her amazing results on hard courts and her 3 Grand Slam titles. Simona Halep can also go far as she is one of the most complete players and played in the final in 2018. Belarusian player Aryna Sabalenka could also have a chance of winning as she is the current number 7 and showed an excellent result earlier in the year, winning 2 tournaments and extending her winning streak to 15 matches.
Other major tournaments on the ATP and WTA tennis calendar include the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open. Unfortunately, the 2021 BNP Paribas Open, scheduled for March 8-21, has been postponed due to the coronavirus crisis, while the Miami Open is expected to take place in late March. Favorites include Novak Djokovic who has won 6 titles there and Roger Federer who owns 4 Miami Open trophies. On the women's tour, Serena Williams holds a record 8 titles and cites this tournament as one of her favorites.
The period from mid to late spring is devoted to clay court tournaments, mostly held in Europe. Major tournaments include the Barcelona Open, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, the Italian Open, which is open to both men and women, and the Madrid Open, which is classified as an ATP Tour Masters 1000 and WTA Premier Mandatory event.
All of these tournaments are a perfect preparation for Roland Garros , the second Grand Slam tournament to be played on clay courts in Paris, France. The biggest favorite for the French Open is undoubtedly the extraordinary Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who is rightly called the "King of Clay" with 13 Roland Garros titles. The clay court suits his playing style the most, which is why he is almost unbeatable in Paris. Top Austrian player Dominic Thiem, dubbed the "Prince of Clay", is also very dangerous on clay court and the French Open is his favorite tournament. It's no wonder he's one of the favorites at the upcoming Roland Garros, having already played in two finals there. Ashleigh Barty, a player from Australia, always has great chances at the French Open as she is one of the most complete players and moves well on clay, besides she has already won the title of Champion 2019.
One of the oldest and most prestigious tournaments, Wimbledon , played on grass pitches, is expected to take place in London in July. Wimbledon is the most popular and important tennis event for most players, there isn't a tennis player who doesn't dream of winning Wimbledon one day. Unfortunately the championship was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but will hopefully be held again this year.
The title of best player on grass in history belongs to Roger Federer, a genius Swiss player who has 8 Wimbledon trophies and is rightly called "unbeatable on grass". Despite his age, Roger Federer is a favorite for Wimbledon 2021 as grass pitches are ideal for his playing style. Grass courts favor serve-and-volley tennis players because serving plays an important role there, as does safe play at net. Also, players should have quick reactions and good footwork, Roger Federer has it all! But Novak Djokovic can also perform well on this type of surface; he holds 5 Wimbledon titles and will be the defending champion in 2021.
On the women's side, the best performer was Serena Williams, who currently has 7 Wimbledon trophies and is sure to do everything in her power to win another title in 2021.
The US Open, the last Grand Slam of the tennis season, is expected to take place in early September 2021. Hard courts give advantages to players with an offensive style and powerful serve, and there are many tennis players who possess these traits. Dominic Thiem, the defending champion who has shown outstanding results in recent years, is among them. Players of a new generation like Germany's Alexander Zverev, Russia's Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev proved that they can be dangerous opponents even on hard courts. Zverev and Medvedev were already in the US Open final while Rublev had an amazing 2020 season, winning 5 titles.
On the WTA Tour, Naomi Osaka is one of the favorites as hard courts suit her style of play the most and already has two US Open titles. Serena Williams, one of the best tennis players in tennis history, is also among the contenders for the win. She's not giving up hope of winning more Grand Slam titles and she also has home field advantage in New York.
Obviously the coronavirus pandemic has changed the tennis season and put many professional tournaments on hold, but in 2021 tennis is making a comeback. Hopefully all the big events will take place and bring spectacular fights and a lot of emotions to millions of tennis fans. Also, the Tokyo Olympics , which were canceled in 2020, are expected to take place in 2021. Without a doubt, it will be one of the most spectacular events of the year, where all players will do their best to play at the highest level and win a medal for their country. The 2021 tennis season is sure to be breathtaking as many entertaining events are planned to keep tennis lovers around the world looking forward to it.
What do you think your favorites list looks like?