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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday January 5, 2020


The 2021 season is upon us and we’ve got hope that it will mark the beginning of a return to normal—at some point. Until then, we can dream, and that’s what we’ve done below, putting together a list of the things we’d like to see over the course of the 2021 tennis season…

Tennis Express

1. Andreescu return to form

It’s been well over a year since Bianca Andreescu played a WTA match, but she’s planning to be there in Australia for the first major in 2021. How good will it be to see this phenomenal athlete finally make her return to the court? Here’s hoping that her 2021 can be even more awe inspiring than 2019.

2. Roger Federer at Wimbledon and Olympics

Roger Federer is out of the Aussie Open, and that’s okay. We’re just hoping that the mighty Fed gets healthy in time to work his magic at Wimbledon and the Olympics in Tokyo. He came back from a long layoff and ruled the sport for a spell in 2017, and while it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to make the same splash four years down the road, is there anyone out there that doesn’t think Federer can be a difference maker at Wimbledon in 2021?

3. Sinner Top 20

Jannik Sinner is one of those kids that you just can’t help rooting for. He’s got style. He’s got manners. He’s a wicked skier and he’s sponsored by Parmigiano Reggiano—seriously, what’s not to like? He displays respect for his elders while at the same time maintaining healthy desire to take them down. And he’s making a beeline for the Top 20. If it doesn’t happen in 2021, it will soon enough.

4. An Italian to win Rome

Since we’re getting all gung ho for Italy, why not take it a step further and have an Italian taking the title at the Foro Italico later this year. Could it be Sinner? Fognini? How about the suddenly relevant Martina Trevisan? Not sure it matters a whole lot, as long as there is a packed house at the Foro Italico and a clay season in full swing…

5. Serena 24th major title

Serena’s gonna turn 40 this September, which is absolutely wild. There’s not a ton of sand in the hour glass for this great champion, but she’ll tell us when it’s time to hang up the Wilson racquet. Let’s hope that when she does she has 24—or 25—major singles titles to her name.

6. Medvedev or Rublev major title

Russia’s on the rise in men’s tennis and 2021 could be the year that we see a Russian man win a major for the first time since Marat Safin in 2005. Can Daniil Medvedev do it? How about Andrey Rublev? And if Karen Khachanov finds his game it’d also be nice to have three Russians in the Top 10 at the end of the year. All three of Russia’s ATP stars are dedicated professionals who push each other to be better each year. Why should 2021 be any different?

7. Fans come back for second half of season

The start of 2021 is going to be a lot like the end of 2020. We know about the quarantine in Australia and nobody is really confident about things with regard to the pandemic at the moment. But here’s hoping that the vaccine will put us on the path to normalcy for the second half of 2021.

8. FAA first title

Felix Auger-Aliassime won his first doubles title with Hubert Hurkacz in Paris in November, but the Canadian is still 0-6 lifetime in singles finals. That blemish on his record is going to be eradicated swiftly, as long as Felix keeps putting himself in position to win trophies. 2021 is going to be the year that FAA breaks the duck, we’re sure of it.

9. Coco Gauff slam semi

Coco Gauff had a solid 2020 and caught her breath a bit on tour after a whirlwind 2019 that saw her smash onto the stage as the darling of the WTA Tour. In 2021 we’re hoping she takes the next step and makes it to the semis of a Slam as her ranking continues to rise. The 16-year-old certainly has the game and the attitude to get it done.

10. A 21st men’s major title

How about a 21st major title for an ATP player. Roger? Rafa? Both? Obviously Nadal is the more likely to win another Slam, but wouldn’t it be the most amazing farewell if Roger Federer won Wimbledon and announced that the was going to retire at the end of the season?

11. Olympic return from del Potro

First of all, we’re praying that the Olympics in Tokyo go on without a hitch. And if they do one of our biggest dreams is to see Juan Martin del Potro back on court, playing his heart out for Argentina. We just need to see Delpo get a few more years at peak health, so he can a) do some damage on tour and b) go out on his terms.

12. A Greek Grand Slam finalist

How about a Greek Grand Slam finalist in 2021? We love the strides that Greek tennis has made with the help of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari. Now it’s time for the next big step!

13. One last deep Slam run for Stanimal

Stan Wawrinka has talked about pushing himself to return to form for one last major push up the rankings. It’s getting late in the game for Stan—he’ll turn 36 in March. We’re hoping he can show us that vintage Stanimal at a Grand Slam this year. He doesn’t even have to win one but it would sure be great to see him making a deep run at a major and striking fear into the heart of the big three again.

14. Translated books by Petko, Cornet, Simon, Fognini

In 2020 we learned of new books by Andrea Petkovic, Alizé Cornet, Gilles Simon and Fabio Fognini. In 2021 we are hoping that they all get translated to English so we can devour each one.

15. A (super) mom wins a major

2020 was a big year for moms as Victoria Azarenka and Tsvetana Pironkova made huge waves at the US Open, Kim Clijsters began her comeback and Serena Williams pushed for her 24th Slam. In 2021 we’d like to see that trend continue. We want Kim to rise up the rankings, Serena and Vika to threaten for major supremacy, and more inspiring stories from all of the moms on the WTA Tour.

16. Nishikori finds good health and form

2020 was a drag for Kei Nishikori but he’s still got a lot of brilliance in him if he can JUST. STAY. HEALTHY. So for Kei we’re wishing for good health and we’re pretty sure the rest will take care of itself.

17. Novak Back to Business

It would be nice to see Novak Djokovic make some headlines for the right reasons in 2021. Like breaking the all-time record for weeks at No.1, which he’s set to do in eight weeks, and how about a record seventh year-end No.1 ranking and maybe a Slam or two to keep the Goat debate entertaining?

18. A Kasatkina revival…

Is there a way back to the Top 10 for Russia’s Daria Kasatkina? She starts the season at No.72, but this ultra-talented shotmaker is still only 23 years old. Time—and talent—is on her side. The higher her ranking goes, the more we’ll get to witness her unique, surreal brand of shotmaking.

19. Nadal and Muguruza mixed doubles at Olympics

One of the many mixed doubles pairings we’ll be looking forward to at the Tokyo Olympics is Rafael Nadal and Garbiñe Muguruza. Garbi says she really wants to do it this year, and Nadal will likely be more willing to commit now that he’s won the Gold in singles and doubles already. Let’s hope it happens.

20. Murray back in the mix

What is Andy Murray’s ceiling in 2021? It’s been a struggle for the great Scot over the last two seasons, but with perseverance perhaps he can achieve a higher level and start to put up some consistent results. It would be nice for him to have one more season that is acceptable by his own lofty standards, before he rides off into the sunset.

21. Dimitrov Slam title?

Yeah, it seems absolutely insane, but how dreamy would it be if it happened? The Bulgarian is one of the sports’ all-time good guys, and he’s such a joy to watch. Sadly many will likely look back on Dimitrov’s career as a bit of an underachievement, but that would all change if he pulled off the unthinkable at a Slam.

 

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