It is far from normal but the tennis season is going to start. Not on Monday as we were used to, but on Wednesday. However, with a limited number of tournaments available, we will see good tennis from a start (barring unexpected withdrawals due to covid).
Let’s jump into week one of the season with a quick preview of all three tournaments that start this week.
WTA 500 Abu Dhabi
January, 6 – January, 13
Financial Commitment: $565 530
Draw size: 64
The only WTA tournament in January will be quite an event. Four WTA Top 10 players and twenty-two of Top 50 will take part in a packed event.
It is hard to guess a winner at the first tournament of the season with such a crowded draw. As at every ladies singles tournament we see from twenty to forty possible favorites.
If I had to bet I would pick Fiona Ferro. She had an amazing summer 2020 on clay, then she did not travel to the US Open. I think she will make a move up in the rankings this season. Top 20 is in the reach from the current 42nd place.
Who to watch: Kenin, Pliskova Karolina, Svitolina, Sabalenka, Muguruza, Rybakina, Mertens
Our worth the money call: Ferro
ATP 250 Delray Beach
January, 7 – January, 13
Financial Commitment: $418 195
Draw size: 28
Florida is a spot where a lot of players practice during the off-season. Therefore, the Delray Beach Open attracted a fine group of players.
It seems that hard hitters will prevail with Raonic, Isner, Opelka, and Querrey in the draw. However, I would consider also their northern neighbor: Vasek Pospisil.
Canadian Pospisil showed some spectacular performances indoors in Europe last season. And now it is time to go on.
Updated: Raonic and Pospisil withdrew from the tournament, which forces me to change my calls 🙂
Who to watch:
Raonic, Isner, Opelka
Our worth the money call:
ATP 250 Antalya
January, 7 – January, 13
Financial Commitment: $361 800
Draw size: 32
The second ATP tournament of this week will be played in Antalya, Turkey. Again, it has a pretty good field of players for the ATP 250 level.
The strong Italian team (Berrettini, Fognini, Travaglia, Caruso) will be challenged by David Goffin and Alex de Minaur. De Minaur is the guy I trust the most. His year on year progress is stunning and this season can be excellent for him.
Who to watch: Berrettini, Goffin, Fognini
Our worth the money call: de Minaur
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Next Week Schedule:
Australian Open Qualifying in Doha, Qatar (January 10 – January 13)