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2017: A most unusual year so far - and presumably ahead
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El Dude Offline
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2017: A most unusual year so far - and presumably ahead
A few factors are combining to create a truly unique and perhaps historically unparalleled:

1. The current top 2 players have been injured and/or struggling, and have fallen way behind in Race rankings.
2. The previously assumed-to-be fading elder statesman is having his best season in at least five years, if not ten; his younger compatriot is also resurgent, if to a lesser extent (at least so far!).
3. The generation that should be dominant is historically weak.
4. The younger generation is starting to show its claws.

The end result is that the rest of the year is a complete unknown. Anyone want to speculate what lies ahead? I see more questions than clear trajectories. For instance:

*Can Roger hold his current form? Or rather, return to it when he plays again?
*Will Rafa rise to the challenge and take back his mantle of King of Clay?
*How strongly will Novak and Andy come back?
*Are Kyrgios and Zverev ready to win a big tournament? What about Thiem?
*Are any of the "lost generation"--Raonic, Nishikori, Dimitrov--capable of winning a big title?
*Which of the younger group (Fritz, Tiafoe, Coric, Rublev, etc) will distinguish themselves as serious prospects, to join Kyrgios and Zverev as the future of the tour?

Certainly the most exciting year in a while, in terms of how open and unknown the rest of it will be.
03-Apr-2017 09:52 PM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: 2017: A most unusual year so far - and presumably ahead
So far this year, the headlines are Fedal, because they're always the most popular players anyway, they're making finals, people are wondering how Federer is suddenly spry, unaffected by the rigours of long matches, reflexes sharp as twenty year old. And Rafa fans are wondering not so much about why he lost to Federer, but why he also lost to Sam Querry in a final. Many of the reasons for both are related.

The more interesting aspect so far for me is that both Kyrigios and Zverev are on the brink, and now we have to wait and see will they take a peek - and like what they see? Or will they be like members of the Missing Link generation, and be sap-happy with just making finals and QFs and getting rich? So far this season, they've looked the most business-like of the young players. I'm not calling time on Thiem, but there's something largely lacking in that lad so far, no matter how often Tignor stupidly jinxes him with his awful predictions. Kyrgios-Zverev have impressed not only with their results, but their hunger.

And speaking of The Missing Link, remember their poster boy, Grigor, at the start of the year? Shouldn't we have heard his name mentioned since? Is he injured? Has he found it all a little draining, trying to keep up?

What's the story with Murray's injury? Did he have it at Oz?

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04-Apr-2017 02:36 AM
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mrzz Offline
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RE: 2017: A most unusual year so far - and presumably ahead
About Dimitrov, I say he finishes the season ahead of all youngsters, probably ahead of folks from his own generation.

Murray won a title after Oz, surviving a grueling match against Kohlschreiber in the process. I think is too much of a re-write of history to have him injured there.

My guess is that this is a year of the big 5, and I hope del Potro joins the party. Kyrgios might be a factor on faster surfaces, but I doubt he goes further than quarters in Wimbledon. He can do something serious at USO and the faster masters.
04-Apr-2017 06:37 AM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: 2017: A most unusual year so far - and presumably ahead
(04-Apr-2017 06:37 AM)mrzz Wrote:  Murray won a title after Oz, surviving a grueling match against Kohlschreiber in the process. I think is too much of a re-write of history to have him injured there.

I'm not rewriting history, I'd forgotten about that, I simply asked a question. The answer of course could be that he was both injured in Oz but still won a tournament since then...

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04-Apr-2017 07:04 AM
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mrzz Offline
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RE: 2017: A most unusual year so far - and presumably ahead
(04-Apr-2017 07:04 AM)Kieran Wrote:  
(04-Apr-2017 06:37 AM)mrzz Wrote:  Murray won a title after Oz, surviving a grueling match against Kohlschreiber in the process. I think is too much of a re-write of history to have him injured there.

I'm not rewriting history, I'd forgotten about that, I simply asked a question. The answer of course could be that he was both injured in Oz but still won a tournament since then...

The history comment wasn´t meant to be provocative. Yes, he could be injured in Australia and still win the next tournament, but also by the highlights of his match against M Zverev I do not think he was. I posted at the time that this was a great match and there was no shame in losing there (the highlights from set 1 are just amazing).
04-Apr-2017 08:00 AM
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El Dude Offline
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RE: 2017: A most unusual year so far - and presumably ahead
Thiem - I don't know when it happened, but at some point people (not myself) saw him as a future elite. The thing is, his career trajectory fits well with that of a second tier player (e.g. Berdych, Tsonga), and that, I think, is what he is and will continue to be. Thiem didn't break into the top 100 until he was 20 years old, the top 20 at age 21, and the top 10 at age 22. Most elites are ahead of that trajectory by a year or two. To be clear: I am not saying players are limited by historical precedents, just that they give us a baseline and probable outcome to look at, and the probable outcome for Thiem is that of a second tier player. But perhaps because he is starting his peak when the Big Four are aging (allegedly), there is a sense that he could win a Slam or two, or at least some Masters.

Dimitrov - his post-AO results are very depressing. But he lost to a player of similar (if more mundane) ranking in Goffin, then lost to a hot Sock, then...Guido Pella? Clearly he has cooled off a bit. But my sense of Grigor is that he settles in as coeval to Raonic and Nishikori, as a regular in the second half of the top 10 - along with Thiem, these guys are the new second tier and will soon be surpassed by Kyrgios and then Zverev.

Kyrgios - his time is now. I think he has broken through to elite status, or at least similar to "sometimes elite, sometimes head-case" like Stan Wawrinka. I'd like to see him play Nishikori and Raonic more, as I think he is now a better player than them. I think Kyrgios wins at least a Masters this year; if he doesn't, it will be a big let-down.

Zverev - his time is soon, but not quite yet. I think he still has higher upside than Kyrgios, at least in terms of overall career results--he'll be more consistent--but he is still a bit behind in terms of growing into his full powers. But like Kyrgios, he could win his first big title this year - but probably not until the second half.

Del Potro - we always have hope, but...
(This post was last modified: 04-Apr-2017 12:21 PM by El Dude.)
04-Apr-2017 12:13 PM
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Fiero425 (04-04-2017)
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RE: 2017: A most unusual year so far - and presumably ahead
I dusted my crystal ball. It revealed me one young player and one old player who will do well in different parts of remainder of the year.

CLAY Thiem Rafa

GRASS Kyrgios Federer

HARD Zverev Novak

"Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference" - Mark Twain
04-Apr-2017 02:19 PM
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El Dude Offline
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RE: 2017: A most unusual year so far - and presumably ahead
That's a serious possibility, GSM, with maybe Andy being the guy that is pretty good throughout, or at least once he gets healthy.

Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I could see one clay Masters going to Thiem, and one or even two of the late season hardcourt Masters, even the USO, going to one or more of Kyrgios or Zverev, possibly the Three Amigos (Kei, Milos, Grigor).

Here's a fun prediction:
Monte Carlo: Rafa
Madrid: Thiem
Rome: Novak
RG: RAFA
WIMBY: ROGER
Canada: Andy
Cincinnati: Kyrgios
USO: NOVAK
Shanghai: Andy
Paris: Zverev
WTF: Roger

Year-end Top 10:
1. Federer
2. Djokovic
3. Nadal
4. Murray
5. Wawrinka
6. Thiem
7. Kyrgios
8. Nishikori
9. Raonic
10. Zverev
(This post was last modified: 04-Apr-2017 03:08 PM by El Dude.)
04-Apr-2017 03:04 PM
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