The tennis world is set for dramatic upheaval in 2022. Fans of the tour can expect huge shakeups, with young stars ready to break up the old order.
The big three will also battle for the highest grand slam count, starting with the Australian Open in January. More about Federer’s playing schedule is likely to be known next year too.
This year’s ATP Finals have heavily impacted the 2022 season. Novak Djokovic was staunchly denied the chance to win another ATP Finals with defeat issued by Alexander Zverev.
The world number three was efficient in claiming his second title at the event, his first coming in London in 2018. Zverev has improved his form in recent years, with a lower ranking of seven in 2019 being rebuilt to number three.
Consistent groundstrokes and good depth cruised Zverev to victory in Turin. The German player has established himself as a tougher opponent for all players to beat next year.
Djokovic vs Zverev, 2021 ATP Finals
Alongside Zverev, the field will have to be wary of younger generations who can cause big upsets. Figures like Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz have stunned opponents with power and aggression.
This year, Sinner overwhelmed several top ten players with victories over Andrey Rublev, Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz.
In 2021, he was able to win four titles; Melbourne, Washington, Sofia and Antwerp. His swift progression reached a glorious peak competing in the ATP Finals as a reserve, following Matteo Berrettini’s exit, which catapulted him to number ten in the world.
Sinner is now a dangerous opponent for all comers, having just sealed an Italian Davis Cup win over the USA’s John Isner. Look out for the Italian blocking top players from winning Masters 500 and 1000 events next year and sweeping up a few of his own.
Sinner vs Hurkacz 2021 ATP Finals
Sinner vs Isner 2021 Davis Cup
Alcaraz has been a mighty force, too, eliminating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Berrettini at the US Open and Vienna respectively.
At the US Open, in particular, Alcaraz did a good job in savagely dismantling the traditional baseline game of his opponents, with bold volleys in the forecourt and using creative drop-shots and lobs. He is also likely to continue to be a major stumbling block for even the finest competitors.
With all this considered, the big three will have a tough time winning matches as younger players get stronger.
Djokovic’s participation in Australia also causes further uncertainty about tennis’s future. The Australian Open now requires players to be vaccinated with two doses. Since Novak is not willing to disclose his private medical, it does throw into question whether he will become the first male player to reach twenty-one slams.
Federer’s coach, Ivan Lubiĉić, has made encouraging sounds that the great man will not retire in 2022, but the schedule remains ambiguous.
Federer has stated he would be “surprised” if he competed Wimbledon due to rehab, looking set to return at a later date.
Australia’s vaccine mandate and Federer’s absence has opened the door to Nadal pipping Djokovic to the post in Melbourne, or perhaps freezing the count at twenty all, and allowing another NextGen player to win a maiden slam.
What do you think will happen in next year’s tennis season? Will there be more first-time slam winners, or will the big three prevail? Leave your comments below.