'09 Picks: The Kitchen Sink
It’s been a long, tiring week here. Who knew that predicting the future so accurately would also be so draining? You have to sit perfectly still for hours and stare into the distance ahead—or into the front wall of my office—while placing your hand on your chin just so . . .
Now that tennis in 2009 seems to be well under way, and one of my prognostications is looking shakier with every service break of Roger Federer in Qatar—it may be all about the appearance fee, but Doha has gotten the year off to a pretty fast start for the men—let’s wrap up the picks and get on with the season.
Yellow could be the color of the moment on tour. I’ve been told it’s the new black, and it’s already migrated from Jelena Jankovic’s U.S. Open dress to Rafael Nadal’s new sleeved shirt. (I like the sleeves, by the way, though will opponents still be intimidated by Rafa? You might see them come back off by April.)
Gael Monfils, as good as he may look at times, will still not be what you would call trustworthy.
Nicole Vaidisova will have a good run at a major.
Andy Roddick will reach a Slam final and play a five-set match against Roger Federer in Davis Cup.
Fernando Gonzalez will beat Roddick, who is now coached by Gonzo’s ex-coach, in an important match.
Dinara Safina’s ranking will drop.
Roger Federer will not like playing under the roof at Wimbledon.
Bjorn Borg will predict that Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal are each going to win the Grand Slam someday.
Rafael Nadal will win the French Open
The Madrid dual-gender clay-court event in May will be awesome.
Serena Williams will not win the Australian Open, even though she technically should since it’s an odd-numbered year.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will have an injury problem.
Richard Gasquet will play a five-set match against Nadal at Wimbledon.
Ashley Harkleroad will get our attention, by hook or by crook, or by some other means.
Sabine Lisicki will pull off a big upset.
Gilles Simon will break into the Top 10. What, he’s already there? He’s No. 6? When did that happen? I’m not sure if Simon will fade or remain strong in 2009, but he’s going to be fun to watch. Ditto for Agnieszka Radwanska.
The Marat Safin saga will get weirder and perhaps uglier. I know I’m going out on a limb with that one.
Fernando Verdasco will reach a Masters Series final.
Michelle Larcher de Brito will give us someone new to watch on the WTA side.
Michaella Krajicek’s stock will rise.
Dmitry Tursunov will be defaulted from a match.
Spain will win the Davis Cup again, beating Switzerland in the final (the tie would be in Spain, as far as I can tell). Rafael Nadal will win the clinching match over . . . Stan Wawrinka? Wait, someone else is coming to me . . . he's flipping his hair back . . . "it's a pity" . . . "please don't call me No. 2" . . . anyway, wouldn't that be a fun DC final?
The new ATP World Tour Final in London will be deemed a rousing success and we will all mourn the demise of its creator, Etienne de Villiers. But we'll have no idea what to call it in conversations.
The doubles tours will continue.
The Australian Open men’s title will be won by, um, uh, hmmm, let’s see here . . . Andy Murray? Can I still say that?
See you Monday with a post on Brisbane and Chennai. In the meantime, check out my buddy Tom Tebbutt’s reports from Sydney at Tennis.com. The man can dish.