Happy New Year to all those who read the blog! The off season is officially over now the Mubadala Tennis Championships have started in Abu Dhabi and earlier today the Brisbane International Draw came out. Roger is yet again gracing Queensland with his presence and takes to the court as defending champion where last year he recorded his 1000th ATP level victory. You can see his projected opponents below:
Federer's Projected Opponents
- Round 1: Bye
- Round 2: Ben Mitchell / Qualifier
- Quarter Final: Gilles Simon / Grigor Dimitrov / Steve Johnson
- Semi Final: Marin Cilic
- Final: Kei Nishikori / Milos Raonic
Thoughts on the Draw
Always tough to predict anything in the first tournament back as all players are going to be somewhat rusty after 3/4 weeks off. If Federer's IPTL performances are anything to go by then even winning 1 match would be an achievement 😆 but I think he'll do slightly better than that. Post IPTL he's been training in Dubai with Ljubicic & Luthi along with various ATP Pro's like Pouille and Dolgopolov.
In terms of the draw first up is either a qualifier or Ben Mitchell. Mitchell is yet to play a match on the ATP tour from what I can tell and the only reason I've heard of him is because he gave James Duckworth a walkover in their scheduled Australian Open men’s wildcard playoff final so he could be in Brisbane for the birth of his daughter. On a completely non tennis note do you think he made the right choice? It's quite interesting how times have changed – 30 years ago it was almost unheard of for a professional sportsmen to forfeit or not play in a game to be at the birth of their child, now it's almost the reverse. Anyway whether Mitchell or the qualifier come through it should be a relatively easy start for Fed.
Into the Quarters and all 4 players in the section could come through. Simon is the 5th seed and usually plays pretty well on this surface so I guess he's the favourite. Dimitrov has never done well in Australia retiring twice in Sydney over the last couple of years so who knows what to expect from him. Maybe Steve Johnson has a good chance to come through that section and meet Roger.
The semi finals are then seeded to be against Marin Cilic but there are a few banana skins in his section including Thiem and Chung who can give him a hard time. Three Aussies are also in there – Groth, JP Smith and Duckworth. In front of a homecrowd they could raise their level. I'll pick Cilic to come through as he's been in Australia practising over the New Year.
Into the final and Nishikori or Raonic are the likely candidates. Raonic was last years beaten finalist at the hands of Fed but he then spent most of 2015 on the sidelines. Kei can play well on all surfaces but he's not immune to losing early so I think maybe Goffin or Tomic can come through this section to make the final.
Like I said above making predictions is never easy especially at the start of the season where every player is an unknown – we don't know who's carrying a niggle, who opted for mince pies over court time or who has really pushed themselves to try get 2016 off to a great start. Looking at the draw I think Fed should be looking to make the final though and give himself a shot of defending the title. 1 match at a time of course and I'm guessing play will get underway for Federer on Wednesday. Allez!
Let me know what you think of the draw in the comments.
First Comment Winner for 2015
The first comment winner for 2015 is Alex who defended her title comfortably with 20 first comments in the year. Those wins are spread across 127 posts, which is a win rate of 15%. Impressive numbers! Second place was Nambi with 17 comments and Emerson in third with 12. Thanks to all those who commented throughout the year too, it makes the blog what it is really so cheers 🙂
For those who don't know what I'm on about, I keep a record of every first comment left on any blog post posted on peRFect Tennis. They are totted up in a spreadsheet throughout the year to keep a running total on the comment leaderboard page. I'll be doing the same again in 2016 too 🙂
This year I've decided to give away 1 T-shirt from Color13.com to the Top 3. If you are reading this guys – please pick one from Color13 (who by the way have just relaunched their website with new ladies designs and t-shirt configuration tool do check it out) and let me know which you want and I'll get them sorted for you.
PS. Sue if you want one, now is the time because I think Nambi lives in Canada, in which case I could get them both shipped in one box, and you could sort it out to be shipped to you domestically which I imagine will be a nominal cost. Then you'd only have the expense of the t-shirt not the shipping. That's of course a.) if you want one, and b.) both you and Nambi are open to that idea. If not ignore!