With 2011 fast approaching and the excitement of a brand new season slowly mounting to a fever pitch, I’ve taken to my trusty crystal ball to see what awaits us in the new year. I still wear my Schiavone French Open prediction like a crown, so will lightning strike twice in 2011 or will I be stuffing my face with humble pie this time around? We shall see. Remember, this is all in good fun so don’t take my word for gospel or anything.
1. Serena Williams will win the US Open.
2. Rafael Nadal will complete his Rafa(rena) slam.
3. There will be yet another nationalist drama at the Australian Open (possibly involving chairs again.)
4. Fernando Verdasco will shave.
5. Caroline Wozniacki will fall out of the top 4 with no slam, Azarenka and Radwanska will also make minimal progress.
6. Nikolay Davydenko will return to the top 10.
7. Sabine Lisicki, Polona Hercog, Julia Goerges and Anastasija Sevastova will all take massive steps forward.
8. Lleyton Hewitt will not reach the top 15.
9. Jarmila Groth will glide into the top 20 – possibly further.
10. Tomas Berdych will find himself in another slam final. This time against someone less accomplished than Rafa Nadal.
11. Svetlana Kuznetsova will fight her way back into the top 10 and make the French Open final.
12. Robin Haase and Thiemo De Bakker will both find themselves in the top 30.
13. Anastasia Rodionova will get disqualified from a match.
14. Gilles Simon will return to the top 15.
15. Francesca Schiavone will mount a respectable defence of her French Open title.
16. Andy Murray won’t win a slam.
17. Aravane Rezai and Yanina Wickmayer will come to blows on-court.
18. Ernests Gulbis will disappoint.
19. Venus Williams will finish 2011 higher than in 2010.
20. Viktor Troicki will make the top 20.
21. Justine Henin
will contract Herpes again won’t win Wimbledon.
22. Novak Djokovic will make another slam final.
23. Maria Sharapova will reach the semis of the French Open and make a lot of progress.
24. Marin Cilic will fall out of the top 25.
25. Jelena Jankovic will smile and become fabulous again.
26. Heather Watson will finish 2011 comfortably inside the top 100 and as the highest-ranked ’92 player, Laura Robson will finish on the brink of the top 100.
27. Ricardas Berankis, Grigor Dimitrov, Ryan Harrison, Filip Krajinovic and Benoit Paire will all record big results in 2010.
28. Agnes Szavay will finally break out of mid-ranked obscurity.
29. Tomas Berdych and Lucie Safarova will become engaged.
30. Ula Radwanska and Jelena Dokic will both finish in the top 50.
31. Americans will stop crying long enough to realise they have a talented bunch of players on the rise in the form of Lauren Davis, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys. The former two will leapfrog both Coco Vandeweghe and Christina McHale in the rankings.
32. Andy Roddick will reach the semis of a slam.
33. Maria Sharapova and Camilla Belle will rekindle their love
34. Rafole will surface for more doubles in 2011.
35. Dinara Safina will reach the top 20, but no higher.
36. Sergiy Stakhovsky will be the ATP’s surprise package.
37. A prominent WTA player will make or announce a comeback by year’s end.
38. Roger Federer will win no more than one slam.
39. Fernando will date another WTA player and Kim Kardashian simultaneously.
40. A player will fail a drugs test.
41. James Blake will retire.
42. France will win the Davis Cup.
43. Kim Clijsters will no longer be able to get away with playing at 40%.
44. Richard Gasquet will reach the top 20 again.
45. French WTA players will have more media battles.
46. Maria Kirilenko will reach another slam quarterfinal.
And finally, 2011 will be a massive improvement on 2010 with more drama, jucier off-court feuds, and most importantly – quality matches between the very best players of both tours. Bring. It. On.