GettyImages-1993690071

Once upon a time, February was a quiet and peaceful tennis month. The big names took early vacations after their exploits in Australia, and the tours didn’t force them back on court until March, when the mandatory events in Indian Wells and Miami came around. But this section of the season isn’t as sleepy as it once was. Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Iga Swiatek, and Coco Gauff are among the prominent players returning to competition this week. And rather than slowly building to a 1000-level tournament, the women are jumping right in at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open in Doha.

Here’s a look ahead at this week’s four events.

Advertising

Qatar TotalEnergies Open (WTA)

  • Doha, Qatar
  • $3,211,715; WTA 1000
  • Hard court
  • Draw is HERE

Iga Swiatek is back this week. And you can understand why. She hasn’t just won this tournament the last two years, she has steamrolled most of her opponents here. After her disappointing third-round loss at the Australian Open, this would seem to be the perfect time and place for the world No. 1 to get back on track. Especially when her closest pursuer, Aryan Sabalenka, is still busy sipping from her Aussie Open trophy.

Can Swiatek sweep through Doha again? On paper, it shouldn’t be so easy. Coco Gauff, Elena Rybakina, Ons Jabeur and Zheng Qinwen are among the challengers in the field. Gauff and Rybakina should have something to prove after Melbourne, which ended in frustrating defeats for both—the latter just comes in fresh off a title in Abu Dhabi—while Zheng should be coming in on a new wave of confidence after reaching her first major final.

Player to Watch: Jelena Ostapenko. She’s 13-2 in 2024, and she’s 4-0 against her potential quarterfinal opponent, Swiatek.

Advertising

Holger Rune's stock has slipped since the start of the season, but he'll have a chance to reemerge in a loaded Rotterdam draw.

Holger Rune's stock has slipped since the start of the season, but he'll have a chance to reemerge in a loaded Rotterdam draw.

ABN AMRO Open (ATP)

  • Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • $2,750,000; ATP 500
  • Indoor hard court
  • Draw is HERE

A handsome stadium, an eager audience, a history that stretches back to the dawn of the ATP, and a strong 500-level draw: The ABN AMRO Open is an annual highlight of the men’s winter stretch in Europe.

That should be true again in 2024, as the sport’s newest household name, Jannik Sinner, comes back to Rotterdam. Last year he was one set from the title, but couldn’t finish off Daniil Medvedev in the final. Since then, of course, Sinner has vastly upgraded his closing skills, and these controlled-condition indoor courts should suit his strike-first game.

The Italian is the top seed, but not the only attraction. Also seeded are Andrey Rublev, Holger Rune, Hubert Hurkacz, Alex de Minaur and Grigor Dimitrov.

Player of Interest: Rune looked ready for a reset in 2024, but that’s not how it has worked out so far. He lost early at the Australian Open, retired with an arm injury in Montpellier, and parted ways with both of his new super-coaches, Boris Becker and Severin Luthi.

First-round matches to watch: Gael Monfils vs. Denis Shapovalov; de Minaur vs. Sebastian Korda

Advertising

Carlos Alcaraz hasn't won a title since Wimbledon.

Carlos Alcaraz hasn't won a title since Wimbledon.

IEB+ Argentina Open (ATP)

  • Buenos Aires
  • $728,185; ATP 250
  • Red clay
  • Draw is HERE

Carlos Alcaraz’s situation is similar to Swiatek’s at the moment. Like her, he’s still the presumed future of his tour; like her, he took a disappointing loss in Melbourne; and like her he’s returning to a happy hunting ground to find his form again.

His hunting ground is red clay in Buenos Aires, where he won the title last year. Alcaraz has grown more erratic, and maybe a little less confident, in the seven months since his win at Wimbledon. Playing with the patience required for clay, against a draw full of dyed-in-the-wool dirt-ballers, may be the back-to-basics test he needs right now.

Also here: 2023 runner-up Cam Norrie, and two Argentines who made moves up the rankings last season, Nicolas Jarry and Francisco Cerundolo.

Still going: Stan Wawrinka, who starts against Pedro Cachin

Advertising

Extra! Extra! It's the TENNIS.com newsletter

Extra! Extra! It's the TENNIS.com newsletter

For on-court news and off-court happenings, stay in the know through your inbox.

Delray Beach Open (ATP)

  • Delray Beach, Fla.
  • $742,350; ATP 250
  • Hard court
  • Draw is HERE

The early American swing travels from Dallas to Delray this week. The two towns are in roughly the same latitude, but the climate and the atmosphere will be very different: Dallas was indoors, Delray will be out in the South Florida sun, a few blocks from the beach.

The draw isn’t quite as U.S.-centric as the one in Dallas was, but the top three seeds—Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul—are all American. Two of them, Fritz and Tiafoe, have won the title in Delray before, and both will want to have another strong week here. Fritz because he’s had a hip issue that has kept him out recently; Tiafoe because he’s just 2-2 so far this season.

Also here: Marcos Giron, who made the final in Dallas this weekend.

Potential second-round match to watch: Paul vs. next-gen U.S. teen Alex Michelsen