We have already here the new season 2016. With tournaments in Doha, Chennai and Brisbane the official competition has started. And certainly the protagonists are looking forward to fight, because almost all the first swords, with the exception of Murray, have jumped to the court to try their forces in these first contests of the year.
The season starts with an undeniable king and, by the moment, undisputed. After his triumphal season through the year 2015, Novak Djokovic, far from being a “primus inter pares”, is a real dominator who is facing the challenge of endorsing his tyrannical leadership this year. That, with no doubt, will be his main goal.
But in addition, the Serbian has several challenges ahead. It is assumed that he will have marked three tournaments in his calendar: Roland Garros, the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and Cincinnati. Winning the French Open, Djokovic would finally get his long-awaited career Grand Slam. If he also imposed in Rio, he would not only reach the Olympic laurels, he would become the third man in history, after Agassi and Nadal, to achieve the Golden Slam. And if, finally, he could also succeed in Cincinnati would get a still unprecedented milestone in the history of tennis, win the title in absolutely all the tournaments of first line of his time: the four Slams, Olympics Games, Masters, Davis Cup and the nine Masters Series of the calendar. Something that not even Laver, with his 200 titles at the back and his two GS in the year, could get. The Australian could not win tournaments such as Monte Carlo and the Masters.
And if Djokovic can make history, Federer, in the last years of his impressive career, plays for it. The Swiss does not compete for the number 1, and his calendar, which dispenses with anything less than four Masters 1000, thus attests. Surely, the Swiss will attempt to arrive to his maximum in his two fundamental appointments: on one side, Wimbledon, where after two consecutive finals losses against Djokovic, he will try for the fourth time become the one and only record holder of the biggest tournament in the world winning his eighth title. And on the other, the Olympic Games where he will want to finally not become Olympic champion, he already is, but winning the individual tournament and aspire to the Golden Slam. The last time that Federer was raised so their goals, in 2012, the move came out almost perfect. Champion at Wimbledon and Olympic silver medal, also in London.
Rafael Nadal also has his own historical milestones ahead. It is true that his main challenge will be, as he recently stated to Canal + Spain, return to have options in winning a Grand Slam. And certainly, after seeing him in Abu Dhabi, in thetennisbase we believe that it is more than likely that the Spanish could be the main rival of Djokovic in 2016. Apart from this, the Manacorí has three opportunities to make history again. First, in the Australia Open, which he could become the first player, after Rod Laver, in achieving a second Grand Slam. Secondly, he could put in May a “10” in the record book of Roland Garros. A number which, apart from perfect and round, would be unbelievable. And, finally, he could become in Rio de Janeiro the first double Olympic champion in individual male.
Murray, after having returned to Great Britain all the achievements that Fred Perry obtained, will play without the weight of British public opinion on his back. At the end, and after all, he is a real idol in his homeland. We will see how starts the season for the Scottish and if he can finally aspire to the tennis throne. If he is able to defend his Olympic title, he will become the first double Olympic champion of individual male, a challenge that he shares with Rafael Nadal.
The others players also have their own historical borders ahead. Attending only to the Grand Slam, Nishikori could become the first Asian in lifting a trophy in this category. Or Raonic, the first Canadian. Or Dimitrov, the first Bulgarian. In thetennisbase we will follow carefully these and other possibilities, not in vain, we love the history of tennis.
And we do not forget that what happens today will be history tomorrow.
Gabriel García / thetennisbase.com
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