Rafa Nadal wins Roland Garros, but will he play Wimbledon?

Rafael Nadal

Rafa Nadal reached his 14th final at Roland Garros. And, he has won them all. On Sunday he easily won, stepping on Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0.

He lost just six games. He played almost seamless. The new comer, Ruud, could not get in and find any kind of a solution. He was battered.

Nadal was already to sprint on the clay, and he poked it to take-no-prisoners.

Nadal, who now has won 14 majors in Paris, and overall, he has 22 Grand Slams. He is the current best player ever.

The “King of Clay” is ahead of Novak Djokovic, who has 20 Slams, and also, Roger Federer has 20, too. It is possible that Djokovic can win a few more Grand Slams, and if the Swiss returns at some point, the 40-year-old Federer will have a slight chance to win again, but that would be almost impossible because he has been seriously injured a lot in the past few years.
The 36-year-old Nadal is also hurt quite a bit. He has to decide to play Wimbledon in a couple more weeks, as his foot is very sore, so much so that he couldn’t feel it. The doctor helped him, each day, and he managed to not only smack his phenomenal forehand, but his backhand is so steady. Plus, at the net, he can just put it away, and at the drop shots, too.

Will Nadal go to Wimbledon?

“If I am able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes – to play with anesthetic injections, no. I don’t want to put myself in that position again,” Nadal said. “That’s what we are gonna try. If that works, I gonna keep going. If that not works, then gonna be another story. And then I gonna ask to myself about if I am ready to do a major thing… a major surgery that don’t guarantee me to be able to be competitive again and it gonna take a long time to be back.”

If he does not play, Djokovic will be there, the favorite [who Nadal beat him in the quarters at RG]. Alexander Zverev looked terrific at RG, and then he wrenched his leg and he retired against Nadal. It would be surprising that Zverev can actually play at Wimbledon.

England announced that Russia and Belarus cannot play there, due to the terrible Russian invasion into Ukraine. So at least right now, the No. 2 Daniil Medvedev won’t be there, as well as Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov, among others.

It is early, but in a few weeks perhaps that Stefanos Tsitsipas, Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime will ready to touch on the grass.

Rafa Nadal wins the Australian Open, now has 21 majors

Rafael Nadal, Rafa Nadal

Who would have guessed that the Spaniard Rafa Nadal would keep moving, trying, throw in some new shots. He was down two sets to love against Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open, and it looked like that the Russian would continue to dominate.

While the 35-year-old Nadal will always to continue to fight, mentally, here and there, he got frustrated.

But not now.

Oh, he just wanted to push himself until the cows come home. And he did, minute after minute, and eventually, the No. 21 Grand Slam winner won it, 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

“If we put everything together, the scenario, the momentum, what it means … yeah, [it’s] probably the biggest comeback of my tennis career,” Nadal said.

Oh really, considering that he won some amazing matches in the finals of Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open. However, he said that the reason is because he could not play for five months due to an significant injury. So, when he came down to Australia, he wasn’t sure of himself, but he really wanted to attempt it.

He was not fantastic at the beginning, but each day, he started to be more consistent, and then he began to hit harder.

“I think during all my tennis career I have been improving in all the surfaces. That was always my goal, no, be better player in general terms,” said Nadal. “On hard? I think during the years I needed to adapt a little bit my game to it because I had a lot of problems, physical problems, so I needed to find a way to be competitive and to play sometimes more aggressive because I was not able to move that fast like in the beginning.”

He has improved so much. His backhand, at the net and his returns — which has always been very good — but now even though he is way back close to the back fence, he can hit it pretty deep.

The 6-feet-6 Medvedev really likes to play on the baseline, crosscourt, down the middle, and to re-adjust. His first serve is a blaster, and he only bounces the ball one to three times. He knows he can close his eyes.

However, in the fourth and the fifth set, he began to get nervous and he made some strange errors. It was 5-5 in the fifth, and he was there, tripping Nadal, but he backed off. The Russian was shocked that he lost, and later, when he talked in the press conference — before the questions began — he said: “I’m just talking about few moments where the kid stopped dreaming, and today was one of them. I’m not going to really tell why,” Medvedev said. “From now on I’m playing for myself, for my family, to provide my family, for people that trust in me, of course for all the Russians because I feel a lot of support there.

“I’m going to say it like this. If there is a tournament on hard courts in Moscow, before Roland Garros or Wimbledon, I’m going to go there even if I miss the Wimbledon or Roland Garros or whatever. The kid stopped dreaming. The kid is going to play for himself. That’s it.”

However, even though he was drained, he said that while he lost, he thinks that Nadal is so jaw-dropping when he puts on the show.

“Rafa is a lefty. Next time I’m probably going to say when two sets to love down,’Just do it like Rafa did against you,’ ” he said. “We all know Rafa fights. It’s not going to be surprising if I say this, ‘Suddenly, wow, Rafa fought today in the final of a slam.’ The way he managed to play throughout all these sets, even in the tough moments, for him it’s for making the history. Even for sure he tries not to think about this, it must have been somewhere in his head. Huge respect. Yeah, huge respect for beating me because I tried my best.”
Nadal now has two Grand Slams at the Australian Open, 13 majors at Roland Garros, two Wimbledon, and four at the US Open.

He is extremely happy, that he won, and now eventually, he can win another titanic tournament. But this week, it is all about joy.

“Of course, for me it’s amazing to achieve another Grand Slam at this moment of my career. Just means a lot to me. Of course, I know it’s a special number, 21. I believe today is an unforgettable day,” Nadal said. “I never will say I deserve, because I think a lot of people fight and a lot of people deserve. But I really believe that I hold a very positive spirit. For the last six months, I really fought a lot to try to be back on court. Have been very, very tough moments, moments to really. … Conversations, tough ones, because you don’t know if I going to have the chance to be back on the tour. I feel honored. I feel lucky to achieve one more very special thing in my tennis career. I don’t care much if I am the one or not the one or the best of the history. Means even more to achieve the second Australian Open more than any other thing.”

Shapovalov: ‘I’ve been doing much better, as I’ve grown’

Denis Shapovalov

Canadian Denis Shapovalov played many tournaments last year. He traveled the world, probably too much, so he needed some time off. Even last year, he grabbed some big matches, such as the Wimbledon semis. But he would be mediocre, and he lost. In 2021, he was pretty good, but not great, yet. He won 30 matches, and 23 losses.

But this week, he grew up fast, with his strong forehand and backhand, and his return, too. On Saturday, he stunned Alexander Zverev 6-3, 7-6, 6-3. Going into the tournament, the German had a chance to win a Grand Slam, but in Melbourne, that day, the No. 3 was very flat. Yes, there were a few moments, when he began to turn it around, but he dumped in a number of key errors, and then he started to slid
But not so for the No. 14 Shapovalov, who was totally focused. He would bend down, he would jump in the air, and smack the ball. He kept on going, he locked in, sprinting side to side.

Now, on Tuesday, he will face 20-time Grand Slam winner Rafa Nadal. That is a gigantic challenge. Shapovalov is not favored but believes that he can upset the Spaniard. It is possible, but in Rome, on clay, Nadal beat him 7-6 in the third.
“I’m definitely expecting a long battle out there. Obviously, he makes you play a lot,” Shapovalov said. “His defense is very good. He’s very good at what he does. So gonna have to try to play my game, take it to him and keep doing what I have been doing; playing patient, fighting for every point, picking my spots to play aggressively.

“There was a lot of doubts once I got to Australia with the quarantine, having gotten COVID, not sure how I would take it, not sure I would be able to play ATP Cup. Obviously very happy with the way I’m feeling, coming out of quarantine, playing ATP Cup, had a little bit of doubts, wasn’t ready to play the first match and worked my way through the tournament and started to feel back to normal towards the end of that week,” Shapovalov said. “So it was a good sign. And then coming here, I had a couple of aches and wasn’t feeling 100% physically. So wasn’t practicing that much and just trying to prepare the body as best as possible.

“Yeah, just really happy with where I am in terms of my game, in terms of the level right now. Obviously, every day is different. But I feel like with every match I have gained a little bit of confidence and a little bit of comfort playing on these courts. I’m just pleased overall with my game so far and my fighting spirit. Yeah, just battling out in every single match. Hopefully I can continue going this way.”
In Canada, Shapovalov was a little bit too slow, but he practiced all the time on his footspeed. He can hustle, and chip it all around. The most important thing, though, he can be patient until it was right there and leap it on. That is why he knocked off Zverev.

“It’s definitely something I’ve been learning to do. Hasn’t come natural to me, unfortunately,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to play quick and go for my shots. But it’s difficult when you play a guy with the caliber like Sascha. You can’t go through him in one or two shots. You have to stay in the rallies, you have to work for the points. Then when you have an opportunity then you can swing in and go for it. It’s been a little bit of adapting to that. I’ve been doing it much better, as I’ve grown. Hopefully I can just continue to improve that and really know when to pick my moments to go for it and to play aggressive.”

Men’s first round at Australian Open

Reilly Opelka

Here are four men’s matches in the first round at the Australian Open, with the men.

Rafa Nadal vs. Marcos Giron
The Spaniard is back. In the fall, he couldn’t not play because he was injured. But last week, he won another tournament, his 89th victory. As always, he has a big first serve, his amazingly good with his heavy forehand, and at the net, he is so consistent. If he stays healthy over the next two weeks, he certainly has a shot to win another Grand Slam, as he is now the only former champion in the field with Novak Djokovic gone. That would be 21 majors, which would be a huge victory. Giron had a good 2021, and it took him years to understand how to win at this level. In order to win more matches, and to move up the ladder, he had to define what he really need to grow. Apparently, he did just that. However, to upset Nadal at a Grand Slam, the American has to play almost perfect. He will have some fine games, but to shock him, that is almost impossible.

John Isner vs. Maxime Cressy
The 36-year-old Isner says that he wants to stay this year and even more, even though he is aging. Well good for him. The big man will always throw in a huge amount of aces, and nail his hard forehand. He can be upset when he loses in close matches — especially at the Australian Open — bit when he wins, he can be super happy. Not many people know who Cressy is, but he reached the final last week, upsetting Reilly Opelka and Grigor Dimitrov, before he lost against Nadal, 7-6, 6-3. Very good. Last year, he was pretty decent, but not great. He is 24 years old, so he has lots of time to grow. But, on court at the AO, Isner will blast him in four sets.

Reilly Opelka vs. Kevin Anderson
The rising American improved a lot last year, with his huge serves and his forehand, too. He has improved his foot speed. The funny thing is when Opelka has to play against a gigantic server like Anderson, there will be few rallies. The South African — who does live in the United States — has aced so many times over the years, and believe it or, he improved his backhand and his return. He reached the Grand Slam finals twice, which is huge. Now he is aging, but he continues to push himself. The match should go into the fifth set, and the winner will be the player who returns more consistently. It looks like Opelka will do just that.

Cameron Norrie vs. Sebastian Korda
The young American Korda is rising. While he played a lot at the tournaments, he could be off, but when he is on, he can jump on the ball. At the start of 2021, he was ranked No. 119, and now he is No. 40. Clearly he was improving a lot. He does have a lot of different shots, which are all solid. So as long as he can produce, then he will continue to seriously improve. However, the Brit Norrie had a fine year. Now he is smart, on court, going for the shots, and to try to hit the lines. He has been disciplined, and stable. Korda will attempt to crack on him, but Norrie will stay there for a long time and beat him in five tough sets.

The controversial Novak Djokovic

Simona Halep

The saga continues. No. 1 Novak Djokovic was currently denied to practice on court at the Australian Open, until Monday, when he was practicing with coach Goran Ivanišević

He was just sitting in a hotel for four days. Why because he has yet to be vaccinated against the vicious coronavirus. He might be healthy, but he decided not get the shots. There are consequences. So far, in the United States, some 770,000 have died from COVID-19.

Read this AP story.

Here is a portion of the story: “Regardless of how the whole ‘an unvaccinated Novak Djokovic goes to Australia’ saga concludes — and, despite a favorable court ruling, his status was still up in the air — there are plenty of key questions for the top-ranked tennis player to answer. … Of even more consequence: Such a move also could result in Djokovic being barred from Australia for three years.”

Without a doubt, that is a gigantic risk by Djokovic, if he loses against the judge this week, he will have to leave and he won’t play at the Grand Slam. Wow.

WTA player, Czech Renata Voracova is in the same hotel with Djokovic. The 38-year-old played last week in Melbourne, and all of a sudden, they came to her and said she had to go into the quarantine. Now she cannot leave, to practice or play, until she can clear it.

She said that at the hotel, there are heavy security. “There are guards everywhere, even under the window, which is quite funny. Maybe they thought I would jump out and run away,” she said. “They [the guards] really weren’t rude or vulgar. But some quarantine practices are not pleasant. You have to report in, everything’s rationed. I feel a little like I’m in prison.”

The week’s action
The Canadians won the ATP Cup with Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime. That was huge, and they are lurking in the top 5 this year. They will be even more confident going into the Aussie Open.

In Adelaide, Rafa Nadal won the title, edging the American Maxime Cressy 7-6(6) 6-3. Nadal could not play during the fall due to his injury, but now he looks good again. But will he be able to sustain that level through the Aussie Open?

It was a stunner that Cressy made it into the final, but he finally has become more consistent, and he can crush the ball.

The No. 1 Ash Barty is trucking, winning the singles over Elena Rybakina.She also won the doubles with Storm Sanders.

At Melbourne 1, the former No. 1 Simona Halep won it all She was hurt last year. She still really likes to bring it and she will be a force are the Aussie Open. Another American, Amanda Anisimova grabbed the title at Melbourne 2, her first career crown. The 20-year-old can scamper.

At the age of 35 Gael Monfils also lifted the title in Adelaide. He beat Karen Khachanov in the final, when he smoked his forehand.

One last question: Where is Peng Shuai? Let us not forget her predicament. The governments should find her and make sure that she is safe.

Roland Garros, Day 12: Novak Djokovic versus Rafa Nadal

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal will face off on Friday night at Roland Garros. It is amazing that those two have clashed in 57 matches. If you really like to watch the great players, how about 58? Sit down and watch TV and you can stay there foreve
On court, they totally know each other – their strokes, their attitudes – and they can go for big shots when they see openings. There have been so many winners, hundreds of them. In their first match back in 2006, Nadal beat Djokovic, who retired in the Roland Garros quarters. The Spaniard eventually won the Slam for the second time in Paris, and while the Serbian began to win the majors, Nadal continued to beat him, six times at RG. But know this: Djokovic has taken down Nadal a lot,on the hardcourts. In a sense, they are even.

Djokovic has the overall edge 29-28, but in last year’s French final, Nadal smoked Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5. That was a blow out, but yesterday, the super consistent backhand Djokovic said that this week, he is feeling terrific. “I’m confident. I believe I can win, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Let’s have a great battle,” he said.

There were other finals, and Djokovic could not find the solution. Back in 2013, the only time, Djokovic nearly upset Nadal in this tournament. The Serb was toe-to-toe, however, the Spaniard fought and fought and he finally won, 9-7 in the fifth. That is clearly one of their classic matches.
“l probably pick Rafa as the biggest rival I’ve ever had in my career. The anticipation for the match against him, any match, any surface, any occasion, is always different from any other,” Djokovic said. “His match had it all: falls, crowd, break. It was a lot of intensity. I just felt under tension the entire time. I felt like I missed some of the chances to end the match in the third set. I didn’t want to give him too much opportunities to dictate the match. That’s why it was just super, super stressful to constantly be under pressure on my service games because his service games were quite smooth with the big serve. Yeah, the reaction in the end was just me liberating that tension that was building up for the entire match.”

Nadal has a phenomenal forehand … Djokovic has a better very deep backhand … they are almost tied with the serves. But, with the second serves, the Serb hits it harder. Once again, they are tied with the returns, but Nadal is more comfortable at the net. No matter Nadal’s incredible success on clay, Essentially, they are even.

2021 Roland Garros: 8 men to reach the quarters

While he’s No. 2, Danill Medvedev doesn’t like clay, so he could go down in the first week. Roger Federer is just starting again, and while he is very intelligent, he needs another month to be totally respectable.

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas

Here are eight players who will reach the middle of the second week.

Novak Djokovic
Yes, the consistent, smart and his phenomenal backhand might make him the best player ever. His serve can be a weapon, he can bend down at the net for winners and put it away and hit ground strokes with the best. Even though he likes clay, but he his better on the hardcourts. He has won RG only one time, which is good, but not great. To beat Rafa Nadal on the dirt, the No. 1 will have to reach the heights. Maybe he will never win again in Paris.

Rafa Nadal
The Spaniard as won it 13 times, which is one of the sports most amazing records. His forehand is very hefty, he can spin it, and shatter it. He can knock it crosscourt, down the line, and in the center right at the chest. His serve is cold-blooded and he can twist it to the left, and to the right. Over the past month, he looked decent, but not great. Still, Nadal is a huge favorite once again.

Dominic Thiem
The Belgian really thinks that he can win it for the first time in Paris. He reached the final twice. He can be confident, but Nadal beat him and can do it again. Over the last couple years, he certainly became substantially better. He added with more game. He could win this event, but he has to play 100 percent in the final to bag it.

Stefanos Tsitsipas
The Greek has become thoughtful and more focused. This year, he has beaten some excellent players, ponding then with his heavy strokes. He is alert, he can be locked in, and he finally likes to slide. He really believes that he is one of the best players currently. Maybe he will be, eventually, but to become No. 1, he has to win a Slam or two.

Alexander Zverev
You never know how well the German will play. He can be phenomenal, and then, he can be ticked off when he isn’t playing well. From the backcourt, he can run for a long time, and he can be super consistent, and he can punch for a winner. He did that when he won in Madrid a few weeks ago. Yes, he was close to winning a Grand Slam when he fell to Thiem at last year’s US Open  and he has won a few ATP 1000s. So, in a sense, he is right there. Eventually, he can win a major soon, but at RG in June? Not quite yet.

Andrey Rublev
The Russian was on fire in the first three months, but in April, he beganto skit. He became more aggressive and stronger. But, he can be very good, and bad, winning and losing. He is only 22 years old, so he is trying to be more consistent. He probably will, as long as he can find a more complete game. And learn.

Matteo Berrettini
The 25-year-old Italian has become a very terrific player, upsetting Thiem, Rublev and Gael Monfils. In 2019, he won a lot of matches, on the clay, grass and the hard courts . The No. 9 is very tall and he can rip the ball, but he needs to step it up a little bit. On clay at RG, if he wants to go deep, he has to take more chances.

Casper Ruud
The Norwegian just won Geneva. The week before in Madrid he lost in the semis, to  … guess who? Yes, Berrettini. That is very close. Once again, he is only 22 years old, and he likes to hustle, and he is pretty consistent. To go much further though, he has to push himself more.

On Fire: Nadal and Swiatek win Rome

Iga Swiatek

On Sunday in Rome, Rafa Nadal and Iga Swiatek won the tournament, and they were joyful. Nadal knocked down Novak Djokovic 7-5 1-6 6-3. In the third set, he hit deeper, he moved to different areas, and his massive serves can twist it into the corners and he yanked Djokovic almost on the ground. Then Nadal would crack a winner. 

Swiatek played one of the best matches ever. Given feeble opposition from Karolina Pliskova 6-0 6-0, Swiatek still performed at the level we saw when she took 2020 Roland Garros. Let’s say it again: The former US Open finalist Pliskova was out of it. She couldn’t face come with anything when it was time to raise her game. She was sleeping, maybe a bad dream? Where she goes, it is ruthless to say. Playing great or awful? In the last 10 years, for the most part, she is a head case. 

Swiatek really understands how to play fantastic on clay, which is why she dominated Sofia Kenin in last year’s French final. Now she can do it again. She moves really well, she can scramble, and eventually, she can smoke a winner, with her forehand and backhand. She returns super well, too.

In Paris, she should be ranked No. 8, as Simona Halep is injured and likely she won’t play at the French Open. Is Swiatek the favorite? I would say yes, but Aryna Sabalenka , Garbiñe Muguruza and Jessica Pegula have a shot to win it, too.

At RG, Nadal will be ranked No. 3, while Djokovic stays No. 1. Guess who is ranked No. 2? That’s right, Daniil Medvedev, who loves playing on the hard courts. But, as he said, he just doesn’t like clay. He could lose early in the first week in Paris…

Novak said: “Rafa and I had a little laugh today in the locker room after I won against [Stefanos] Tsitsipas. We kind of joked around that the old guys are still not giving up. I saw he said somewhere a few days ago that Roger [Federer], him and I think we’re showing some different, fresh energy.”

Swiatek likes to attack, and last year at RG, few of the fans knew who she was. Not know: ‘I’m, like, surprising myself actually when I’m not doing well because I’m pretty ambitious. I’m a perfectionist, which I’m fighting with actually sometimes. 

“I always try to learn from what other girls experienced. There are many players that had some kind of regress, after winning their first Grand Slam. I always thought try to be different, just work, just focus on not doing the same mistakes. It works pretty well.”

The Australian Open: The middle of the road

Fabio Fognini

Way back, during the middle of their long and winding career roads, Rafa Nadal and Fabio Fognini have played each other 16 times. They have played each other, all over the world. In reality, there were some so-so matches. But there have been some incredible contests, like when the Italian was down two sets at the 2015 US Open and he came back, shocking the Spaniard in five sets. Fognini was on fire. Playing in the New York night, he managed to hit so many winners, with his spinning forehand and backhand, and then flatten them out.

But after that, Nadal continued to improve his backhand and at the net. Since then, Nadal won six matches, while Fognini had just one. That is why Nadal has won 20 Grand Slams. He is the favorite on Monday. He knows that so he has to go for the lines pretty early. When he is healthy, he can grind it, but when Nadal is slightly hurt, he has to leap try to dominate early.

Fognini has also improved over the past couple years, improving his focus. He still can be frustrated when he isn’t going well, but he also lifts his head and he continues to fight. If Fognini is close, then he has to continue banging at Nadal’s backhand. Nadal has refined his backhand, but it is not perfect.
Another Italian, Matteo Berrettini, is more mature and thoughtful. He finally understands where he is going, and also, when he should mix it up. He will face Stefanos Tsitsipas, the cool Greek. Tsitsipas can be patient, or he can go for too much too early. He is tall;his first serves are very hard and his returns is high. He does have a shot to win it all. He is that talented.

How about American Mackenzie McDonald who made it into the round of 16? No one knew him, outside when he played college at UCLA and won the 2016 NCAA singles and doubles crowns. When he turned  pro, he was ready to move up higher and higher, but he became seriously hurt, and he had to stop for many months. Now he is back, and he is true-blue. However, he has to face against Daniil Medvedev, another one who can wins a Slam. The Russian made it into the final at the 2019 US Open, and he almost won, but Nadal beat him in the fifth set. If McDonald plays great, he can push Medvedev, but he isn’t ready yet to overcome the top-5 players. Yet … Another American, Jessica Pegula, has been around for 10 years. It took her a long time to become assertive and accomplished. On Monday, she faces the steady, No. 5 Elina Svitolina. It is time for Pegula to hop in Melbourne.

It is time to fly at the Australian Open

John Isner

It is too bad that John Isner has decided not to go to the Australian Open. “It really was just a situation where I didn’t want to be away from my family for that long. I decided to stay home.” While he has lost a couple dramatic five setters in Slams, he still loves on the hardcourts, so he will be woeful in early February.

A few of the main men are already in Australia: Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem. The Serbian has won eight titles there, beating a bunch of dusty players, including when he knocked down the Austrian Thiem in a five-set final last year.

Even though he lost, Thiem already knew that in 2020, he was going to win a Slam. At th U.S. Open, he finally did it, out-hitting Alex Zverev, 7-6(6) in the final-set tiebreak. It was so dramatic. Zverev, the German, will eventually grab a Slam, as long as he comes into the net more and to returns deeper. However, when he loses, he can be very sore and upset. Without a doubt he needs to calm down.

There are some players who can definitely win it all at the Aussie Open, such as Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Stan Wawrinka. Medvedev came very close in the final at the 2019 US Open, but he couldn’t grab it versus Rafa Nadal. But, he rarely give up and he has some bumper shots. Yes, he has a real chance. The Greek Tsitsipas is also rising, as he is very strong, with some amazing shots. To win at the AO, he has to use more variety. Swiss Stan Wawrinka has won three Slam titles. If he is healthy, he cand clock the ball from both sides. He could win it again, this year. Last year, he limped through. .

Four of these can reach into the second week at Melbourne, among others: Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Taylor Fritz, and the controversial Aussie Nick Kyrgios. Yes, Kyrgios can be a little crazy, but when he is on, he is as talented as anyone on tour.