We’ve reached, I hope, the nadir of winter in the Northern hemisphere. New York, where I live, is in the grip of an old-fashioned cold snap at the moment—I don’t want to think about life in snow-massacred Boston right now—and my mind is starting to drift forward to March and Indian Wells and desert heat. The more sweltering, the better, please.

Fortunately, those thoughts feel a little closer this week, as the men and women begin to leave the shadows of the Australian Open and creep closer to the heart of the 2015 season. The WTA is in Dubai for its biggest and most lucrative event of the month, while on the men’s side, Rafael Nadal will be the first of the Big 3 to reappear, in Rio. Here’s a quick look ahead at what’s next for both circuits.

Dubai, UAE
$2,513,000; Premier 5
Deco-Turf II
Draw is here

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The Week in Preview: Dubai, Rio, Marseille, Delray

The Week in Preview: Dubai, Rio, Marseille, Delray

Can we call this the Do-Over Open? This looks like a tournament for all of the women who didn’t make the Australian Open final. Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova have taken a pass on this Middle East money-maker, but the rest of the WTA is happy to pick up their cash. Of the other top names, only Genie Bouchard is a no-show.

Who has the most to prove in Dubai? Who can make the most hay while Serena and Maria stay away? Dubai’s top two seeds, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova, should be pleased to push the reset button. Each won an Aussie tune-up event, each looked like a contender coming to Melbourne, and each went out with a surprising whimper; Kvitova in the third round to Madison Keys, Halep in an I’d-rather-be-anywhere-else-but-here loss to Ekaterina Makarova. The season still holds promise for Petra and Simona, and it will hold even more if they can straighten things out this week.

It isn’t just Halep and Kvitova who could use a strong result. Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, and Angelique Kerber are all Top 10 players, and they all lost earlier than expected in Australia.

On the other side of the momentum divide are Andrea Petkovic and Venus Williams. With her title in Antwerp this weekend, Petko rejoins the Top 10 for the first time in three years; and with her quarterfinal run in Oz, Venus, the defending champ in Dubai, nearly put herself back in the Top 10 as well. Both will obviously look to build on those results.

Second-round matches to watch:

V. Williams vs. Belinda Bencic

Radwanska vs. Caroline Garcia

Ivanovic vs. Sabine Lisicki

Kerber vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova

Player of Interest: Karolina Pliskova. The 22-year-old Prague native made the final in Sydney, the semis in Antwerp, has cracked the Top 20, and received a tweet of confidence from Andy Murray. What’s next?

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
$1,548,755; 500 ranking points
Clay
Draw is here

The Week in Preview: Dubai, Rio, Marseille, Delray

The Week in Preview: Dubai, Rio, Marseille, Delray

The season begins in earnest for the top seed, Nadal, at the week’s only ATP 500, in Rio. Rafa had doubts about how ready he would be for Australia, and those doubts proved prescient. The last time he set out on the comeback road, in 2013, he started it with two titles and a runner-up finish on South American clay, and something like that must be part of the plan this year as well. Rafa will play Rio and Buenos Aires before heading to American hard courts in March.

Can anyone throw a wrench in Nadal's plans? He has an interesting first-rounder, against Brazilian native Thomaz Bellucci; he’s a local, he’s a lefty, and Rafa has had his troubles against lefties of late. But that might be the most trouble he has in Rio, at least until the final. The next three seeds are David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, and Fabio Fognini. The 32-draw in Rio includes eight Spaniards, not including Nadal. I don’t know Rafa’s exact record against his countrymen for his career, but I know it’s pretty good.

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Marseille, France
$720,450; 250 ranking points
Indoor hard
Draw is here

Stan Wawrinka was last week’s big men’s winner, as he edged Milos Raonic in the Rotterdam semis and came back to knock off a hot-hitting Tomas Berdych in the final. Stan doesn’t have a Slam this year, but with his titles in Chennai and Rotterdam and his semifinal appearance in Melbourne, he’s recorded the most wins of any man so far. He’ll try to add a few more as the second seed in Marseille this week. Waiting in the final, if all goes as planned, will be Raonic.

Also here: Gael Monfils, Ernests Gulbis, Gilles Simon, Borna Coric, Vasek Pospisil, Dominic Thiem

First-round match of interest: David Goffin vs. Jerzy Janowicz

Delray Beach, Fla.
$549,230; 250 ranking points
Hard courts
Draw is here

The Week in Preview: Dubai, Rio, Marseille, Delray

The Week in Preview: Dubai, Rio, Marseille, Delray

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The Little American Winter Tour moves from indoor courts in Memphis to outdoors in Delray, and from one to 250 to another. The draw in Delray has a familiar, U.S.-centric ring to it as well. Americans John Isner, Sam Querrey, Steve Johnson, Donald Young, and Denis Kudla have all made the trip, as have Bernard Tomic and Alexandr Dolgopolov, among other internationals. The runner-up in Memphis, Kevin Anderson, is the top seed in Delray.

For U.S. fans, the continuing saga of Donald Young may be the most interesting story in Delray. He’s back on Twitter, where he has promised to behave himself, and last week he beat Tomic on his way to the semifinals. Young won’t have an easy road in Delray, though: He’s drawn Ivan Dodig in the first round, and might get Querrey after that.

Also here: Tim Smyczek

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
$250,000; International
Clay
Draw is here

The WTA’s big money and big names are in Dubai, but there’s a women’s draw on Rio’s red clay as well. If the men’s event there feels Spanish, this one has an Italian vibe: Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci are the first and third seeds, respectively.

American of Interest: Madison Brengle. The 24-year-old Delaware native has parlayed her round-of-16 finish in Australia into a career-high ranking of No. 45 and a fourth seeding in Rio.