After a few weeks off(-season), the 2016 season kicks officially begins on Sunday down under in Brisbane. To welcome in the New Year, here’s a quick guide of where the top guys will be these first couple weeks, including the exos which began yesterday in Abu Dhabi where Rafael Nadal and Milos Raonic will play for that title tomorrow.
Abu Dhabi Exo: Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic (Nadal v Raonic in Saturday final)
Brisbane: Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, Bernard Tomic, Grigor Dimitrov
Doha: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer
Chennai: Stan Wawrinka, Kevin Anderson
Hopman Cup Exo: Andy Murray, Nick Kyrgios, Jack Sock, Lleyton Hewitt
Sydney: Bernard Tomic, Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov
Auckland: John Isner, JW Tsonga, Kevin Anderson
Kooyong Exo: Nick Kyrgios, David Goffin, Gilles Simon
Australian Open: Everyone playing!
Nadal: Abu Dhabi, Doha
Murray: Hopman Cup
Wawrinka: Abu Dhabi, Chennai
Good schedules by all I think. One thing that stands out is how little the top players are out there. No guy in the Top 10 is playing the first two weeks of the year on the ATP. And the Sydney event is really struggling as fewer and fewer big names play the week before a Grand Slam.
That said, Doha should be great next week with both Novak Djokovic and Nadal. Federer will debut with new coach Ivan Ljubicic in Brisbane while Andy Murray elects to stay with the exo circuit in Perth at the Hopman Cup.
Also, Nick Kyrgios will play exos his first two weeks, at the Hopman and Kooyong. Is that because since they are non-ATP events, he can’t be fined and put into peril? Smart move if he’s concerned another misstep could cost him a lengthy suspension this close to the end of his probation period (end of Feb?). Plus, I’m sure he’ll get paid nicely as the Australian No. 1 at those events.
Speaking of young Australians, the biggest disappointment so far is the withdrawal of Thanasi Kokkinakis who will miss the first month of the year due to a bum shoulder. That’s bad luck for the talented youngster. I hope he gets well soon!
And I hope everyone is rested and ready for another season of terrific tennis. Happy New Year!
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