Andy Murray and fallen five highlight parlous state of men’s tennis
In 12 months because five top?ranked men’s players – Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori – came in Melbourne with reasonable expectations of challenging for any first grand slam title of this year, the tennis world has long been tumble-dried such as a 20-foot wave.
Djokovic – once so dominant along at the Australian Open – fell inside second round, Murray and Nishikori reached the final 16, Raonic got to the quarter?finals for Wawrinka reached the semi-finals. More significantly in a very wider context, though, not one of them made it as long as in depth tutorials major of 2019, the united states Open. If ever there was clearly a statistic to explain the parlous state of recent tennis, it can be that one. And this may very well be superseded on 15 January, because there is no guarantee they will attain the starting line this coming year or survive without injury during the tournament.
Roger Federer, who’s in a position to protect his Australian title and win his 20th major, identified the brutal truth this week whilst said of the players struggling to make Melbourne: “Something tells me that probably two guys out of the five, six that are injured for some time now wonrrrt make it, because it seems too many guys are fighting something.”Murray, who pulled out on the Brisbane International (following your pre-tournament withdrawal of Rafael Nadal – who’s still recuperating from the knee injury that forced him out of your ATP World Tour Finals in November – and Nishikori), heads the casualty list.
Djokovic who, like Murray, have not played because ninth day’s Wimbledon during the past year, is one of the next most vulnerable, carrying an elbow injury that refuses to heal; Nishikori, perennially suspect, nurses an aching wrist and does not feature in Melbourne; Wawrinka has brought two operations on his knee – with no warm-up tournaments; and Raonic somehow got on court in Brisbane on Wednesday but was beaten in straight sets because of the Australian teenager Alex De Minaur.
It was hardly surprising that while in the hours after Murray’s Instagram post laid bare his desperation, Nadal and Djokovic posted heartfelt words of support. “Andy, thanks for genuinely sharing your thinking and emotions with everyone,’ wrote Djokovic. “I can imagine how bad it feels.” A glance at their collective tumble over the rankings in barely Twelve months from the the top of the mountain paints a photo of suffering and rolling disappointment. Murray has crashed from No1 to 16; Djokovic, No2 last January, has fallen 10 places; third?placed Raonic is 24th now; Wawrinka has slipped from fourth to ninth; and Nishikori from fifth to 22nd.
Who know where this year’s hourly caregivers – Nadal, Federer, Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem – are working a year’s time?
Raonic witnessed in Brisbane immediately: “If you look at it from merely a purely numbers standpoint, you see the inventors that play a whole lot the prior year, numerous matches, 65-plus, maybe even over 70 matches, those guys struggle the following year.”
It seems the action has finally entered the era of uncertainty that’s the lifeblood of your sport – although tactic to it is littered with bruised spirits. You can find 42 over-30s inside the top players, in excess of in a different year since rankings began in 1973 – but much of the top contenders are starting to search a comparative age. The 2018 Australian Open will almost certainly purge shocks to correspond to your a year ago.
? Sign nearly our weekly email, The Recap, here, showcasing a selection of our sport features on the past a week.
Andy Murray considers hip surgery as career hangs in the balance
Find out more