Four different Grand Slam winners in 2010? Top bookie predicts a thrilling tennis season The tennis year of 2010 promises to be a thrilling one and the bookmakers around the world prepare for a hectic season.
- I do expect a year with possibly four different Grand Slam champions and a very tight raise for the Nr 1 spot, says Stefan Widén, tennis bookmaker at Expekt.com.
We took a chat with the experienced bookie, who has priced tennis since nine years.
Stefan, looking back at 2009, what do you remember mostly from that tennis year?
- My 3 best memories are;
1. Juan Martin Del Potro winning the incredible final against Roger Federer in the US Open final, grabbing his first Grand Slam event. 2, Robin Söderling beating Rafael Nadal in round 16 at French Open, Nadal’s first loss ever at the Roland Garros.
3. Kim Clijsters making a comeback after a 1.5 year break and winning the US Open just a few weeks after her comeback.
What do you expect from 2010 tennis wise?
- I expect a year that will be the most interesting year for some time, both for the men as for the women. I will start with a short run up from what I expect from the ATP tour 2010. In all honesty we have had some great tennis years during the last 5-10 years with especially Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal being the two main guys, always delivering great tennis and being a class act week after week. Then we had Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic knocking on the door to greatness.
- For 2010 we still have these four champions in the loop but also booming stars such as Juan Martin Del Potro, Robin Söderling, J-W Tsonga, Marin Cilic and a few more talented players that all can win any event throughout the year.
- For these above reasons I do expect a year with possibly four different Grand Slam champions and a very tight raise for the Nr 1 spot.
- For the women I foresee the most interesting year for about 10 years. The reason for this is that both Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin have made a comeback. This will add a lot to the rather boring WTA tour. Now we have these two players, all the Russian’s with Maria Sharapova finally being fit again. Add to that the Williams sisters still going strong and we have a very good mix of veterans, talents and also a good mix of playing styles which has been lacking on the WTA tour as of late.
- Personally I do expect a lot from Yanina Wickmayer, Caroline Wozniacki and Sabine Lisicki who all should be up there among the absolute best at the end of the year.
- All in all as a tennis lover I am super excited about the 2010 season! We should all follow the action from start to finish. Australian Open starts the Grand Slam season.
Why do we often see big surprises there among the finalists and winners?
- Hmm, I don’t fully agree, since 2004 Roger Federer has won 3 times, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Marat Safin has won once. But I see your point, Baghdatis and Tsonga made the final of this event which was very surprising at that time. The reason for this happening is mainly because Australian Open is the first main event of the year and it is being played under extreme heat. If you mix all the nerves together with the heat a lot of things can happen. We should also consider that this event starts when all the players have had 4-7 weeks off season. Talented players and the ones that train extremely hard can improve a lot during this period of time and therefore “shock” the world.
Will Federer dominate this year’s calendar?
- My immediate answer has to be no, the reason for this is that Federer has won everything you can win apart from the Davis Cup so motivation could be a slight problem. He recently became a father for the first time and his priorities must have changed a bit.
- But obviously Federer is the king and if he still has the desire needed to be a champion he will have his chances for sure. The main factor here is mainly that all other players are hungry and improving their game all the time.
Can we say the same for RF? Will Nadal be back as World nr 1?
- Yes, I think so, if he stays fit for most of the season. Even though he lost against Davydenko in the final of Doha this year, I was very impressed with his play. He has quite a lot of points to defend for the first six months of the year, so I would think that he will be the world nr 1at the latest after Wimbledon.
- Actually since the Davis Cup final he has played very good tennis again. He has also changed his strings for this season which I believe is a very good move on his part. He needs a bit more pop in his shots and I can clearly see a difference from the back court and also in his serving.
- This is also because he is feeling better in his shoulder that gave him some problem over the latter stages of the last season.
- He is still the toughest player to beat of them all since you have to work so hard for every point during any match of the year that he plays.
What must Djokovic do better to win a Grand Slam tournament again?
- Main thing is that he improves his mentality which would allow him to play more relaxed at important stages. He has got the skills to beat anyone as it is now, everyone knows that but he seems to be the only one that sometimes doubts this.
- Secondly he needs to improve his first serve percentage and also his forehand play, but this is quite critical of me.
Will Andy Murray win Wimbledon?
- I knew I would get this question *smile*. I think Murray can win Wimbledon, already this year. But he needs to do something big before, and then I think he has the mental strength to win his home slam.
- For this reason my answer will be that he won’t win Wimbledon as his first Grand Slam, but if he wins another Grand Slam I actually think he can dominate the tour.
- It is such a mental game at this level and as it is now, both Roger and Rafael are way stronger in this department.
- I know Andy has trained six hours a day for the whole off-season and his motivation is extremely high.
Swede Robin Söderling, will he become a top-5 player this year?
- If he is not top-5 in the world before French Open starts I would be very surprised. I would actually bet a lot on Robin being top-5 before the French Open. But I don’t think he will end the year top-5.
- The first five months of last year was quite terrible for Robin, during this period he had a 2nd round finish at the Aussie Open and he only won four matches over five Master Series Events!
- In other words, he should collect a lot of points until the French Open starts and therefore being in the top-5. He could even reach the top-3!
- But after the French Open he will most likely loose a lot of points and probably be around 10th in the world when the year is finished. He has to defend so many ranking points over the last 6-7 months that he will play under more pressure then ever in these events. Hopefully he can make it, but I am doubtful.
Are there any new players to look out for?
- Of the ones the public don’t know much about, it has to Marin Cilic! He has all the skills to do really well. Cilic seems to be focused, determined and calm for such a young age, he is 21 years old and ranked 14 in the world.
- Jeremy Chardy is another Frenchman that has all the tools to do well, although he seems a bit weak mentally at this stage of his career.
- Two of the biggest climbers on the ATP Tour ranking could be Pere Riba of Spain and Aussie Bernard Tomic. Both are young and extremely talented.