Federer, Nadal Begin New Year in Abu Dhabi; Roddick Bagless in Brisbane
by Jonathan Morgan | December 30th, 2009, 11:19 am

After what has seemed like forever to true tennis junkies (in reality just a few weeks), the 2010 ATP season is set to begin. With the Australian Open just around the corner, all players have spent the off season training to win the first slam of the season. ADHEREL

In Abu Dhabi, we have the 2nd annual Capitala World Tennis exhibition where six players will duke it out for a $250,000 winner-take-all first prize, plus a surely hefty appearance fee. The exo has already faced a withdrawal from Jo-Willy Tsonga, but Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Davis Cup hero David Ferrer, Rafa Killa Robin Soderling, Nikolay Davydenko and Stanislas Wawrinka will all be playing in the three round event.

Like all exos, one must take the results with a grain of salt, but it will be good to see some of the big guns playing so early in the season and to measure how they’re playing. It remains to be seen if Soderling can continue his 2009 momentum, if Ferrer’s Davis Cup triumph will get his career back on track like Verdasco last year, and if Davydenko can back up his Masters Cup win and parlay it into his first slam later next month.

Abu Dhabi runs from tomorrow (Thursday) until Saturday. on Friday, Federer will play the Soderling/Wawrinka winner, Nadal meets the Ferrer/Davydenko winner. But the real season starts Sunday in Brisbane, Australia with a quality field. Andy Roddick, Radek Stepanek, Gael Monfils, Tomas Berdych, Sam Querrey, the talented Frenchie Jeremy Chardy, and the headcase Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci will all be playing. Marcos Baghdatis, James Blake, and the finally free Richard Gasquet will all be attempting comebacks at the event, not to mention Taylor Dent who in 2009 got his ranking up from nothing to #77! Roddick, who tweeted he arrived in Brisbane without his bags, will surely be the betting favorite, but off his knee injury last October, it remains to be seen how well he’ll play and if he’ll ever see his clothes again. It’s a pretty wide open event, actually.

Fed, Rafa, and Davydenko will all go from Abu Dhabi to Doha for their first ATP event of the season and will be joined by Jo Tsonga, the resurgent Mikhail Youzhny, the talented Serb Viktor Troicki, and the massively serving Ivo Karlovic. Rich boy Ernests Gulbis as well as the eternally disappointing Simone Bolelli will also be competing. The final four should be Fed, Nadal, Tsonga, and Davydenko, which is where the tournament will really pick up steam. Word is that Younes El Aynaoui will also receive a wildcard.

Lastly, in Chennai, Robin Soderling is the top seed while Croatia’s future Marin Cilic is the 2nd favorite. Wawrinka, the interesting Serb Janko Tipsarevic, American veterna Robby Ginepri, and the young Dutch talent Thiemo De Bakker will also be competing. Receiving wildcards to the event are Carlos Moya, back off injury, and Somdev Devvarman, last year’s finalist. For those that like to watch lesser known players mix it up on an ATP stage, Chennai is the cheap 3rd party livestream to find.

All players will be jockeying for position and seeding for the Australian Open, which is based on the rankings after the first week of the season.

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7 Comments for Federer, Nadal Begin New Year in Abu Dhabi; Roddick Bagless in Brisbane

Joel Says:

You missed the best part, which is the tweet from Andy about the free clothes he was sent by the local Lacoste store.


sar Says:

McEnroe said that the Australian outing which starts January 18 is the “toughest of the four majors.”

“It’s always been the most difficult to pick. You have the heat, the fact that players are coming back early in the season and you don’t know what they’ve been doing in the off-season.”

Joe W Says:

The term “off season” is a joke within the tennis lexicon, particularly for the top players. There isn’t another sport with as long a season as Tennis. Players moving from continent-to-continent and having about a 3 week “rest” period to squeeze in celebrating the holidays/family and training for the upcoming season. Let’s face it, in terms of North American TV ratings, tennis falls off the map after the US Open, with arguably the Masters holding any interest for the casual-to-enthusiasiastic fan. Most Americans could give a crap about Davis Cup. The sport would benefit from a shorter season.

Lovey Says:

Nice to see some tennis again.

Great matches in Abu dhabi today. Ferrer beats davydenko…would not have predicted – did not see the match so don’t know what happened to davydenko, too much xmas parting perhaps? While in the other match Soderling beats Wawrinka 7-6 7-6…Great come back by Wawrinka on both sets but manage to lose anyway.

Tomorrow we have Soderling vs Federer and then nadal vs Ferrer.

are we going to see a Federer/nadal final? hmmmm

MMT Says:

Prediction: Soderling will beat Federer in straight sets, as Nadal will Ferrer. Nadal will then beat Soderling in straight sets in the final.

rafa Says:

I think (unlike the popular view) that 2010 will prove to be the biggest year for Federer VS Nadal Rivalry and they will meet atleast 7-8 times this year (unlike last few years). There is good possibility that meeting No. 1 is coming up on January 2nd.

madmax Says:

Even though this is an exhibition match and doesnt count as part of the h2h, I wouldnt be surprised to see federer try out a few new shots (are there any left?!!!!), in his game against soderling.

They have played each other 12 times now, and soderling has the advantage of playing yesterday, a pretty tough match – could easily have gone to stan. Stan was 5:1 down and soderling went on walkabout, lost it for the next 6 games but then pulled it back again in the tie breaker.

He cannot afford to have these lapses against Federer, so whilst I believe that federer will go on to win, I think that Soderling has improved massively this year, and is looking for his first win over federer, even in an exhibition match –

Federer to go all the way though – Even if he doesnt bring his A game – it’s the start of the season, where he always tries out new shots ready for the AO!

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