What Will Happen In British Tennis This Year?
January 22, 2017
The future of British tennis is in good hands. Last year’s US Open saw five Britons make it through to the second round and 2017 promises to continue in a similar vein following the opening matches of the Australian Open. World number one Andy Murray is yet to drop a set in his quest to capture his first major Down Under and he has been joined in the last 16 by giant-killer Dan Evans.
In the women’s draw, ninth seed Johanna Konta looks a genuine contender for the title, playing with unmistaken levels of confidence and she along with the current crop of players are helping tennis in Britain reach out to new audiences and breed further success. After a memorable 2016, what do the next 12 months have in store for the nation’s best?
It’s not been the best start to the year for Andy Murray after crashing out of the Australian Open at the weekend, but we can’t forget what a phenomenal 2016 he had.
While Melbourne has now gone for Murray, he will be looking to build on the success of last year, now starting at Roland Garros. With his closest rival on the slide, Murray is in pole position to extend his lead at the top of the rankings and become the dominant force in men’s tennis.
It was just 12 months ago that Konta announced herself to the tennis world when she embarked on a stunning run to the semi-finals in Melbourne before being ousted by eventual champion Angelique Kerber.
Since then she has picked up two WTA titles, including her sensational victory at the Sydney International where she did not drop a set throughout the tournament. Her self-belief and potent serving could see her become the first British female player to reach a Grand Slam singles final in 45 years.
The likeable 26-year-old is now starting to fulfil his vast potential following his remarkable run of form Down Under. After being dropped by Nike and choosing to sport a budget white t-shirt, Evans has gone on to upstage fellow countryman Murray with two terrific victories over seventh seed Marin Cilic and home favourite Bernard Tomic respectively.
Evans takes on the charismatic Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round and will be quietly optimistic about causing another upset. Reached his first ATP Tour final earlier this month before falling short against Gilles Müller. Can he go one better later in the year?
It was tale of missed opportunities for Watson as she squandered five match points against American qualifier Jennifer Broady and in the process missed out on being the fourth British player into the Australian Open third round.
The 24-year-old has already amassed great experience on the WTA circuit and has the all-round game to compete with the very best, as evidenced by her narrow loss to Serena Williams during their Wimbledon encounter two years ago. Is yet to make it past the third round of a major and needs to find the courage to be more aggressive if she wants to improve on her current world ranking of 81.
The Yorkshireman’s Australian Open ended abruptly in the second round when he was swept aside by the number 30 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets. Despite Edmund’s loss, Great Britain is set to have three players in the men’s top fifty for the first time in more than ten years.
The youngster enjoyed a meteoric rise last season which culminated in him knocking out two seeds en route to reaching the last 16 in New York. With his bludgeoning forehand and strong physicality, Edmunds has the capability to continue his swift ascent into the upper echelons of the sport.