This year the men's tour has been a little like Formula 1 with the balance of power shifting constantly amongst the top players. Australia saw Fed stamp his authority on the next potential no1 when he tore through Andy Murray's dream of a first slam. Andy seemed the guy to beat, the alpha male in the tournament, but the loss set him back which only saw a recovery at Wimbledon. He promised again with the win in Toronto over Fed and Nadal but I believe screwed his momentum in Cincinnati with the loss to Mardy Fish. Nadal ate the clay then regained his Wimbledon crown to clear the way for an assault on the US Open which he duly converted to become unquestionably no1.
The US saw Djokovic close the gap once again whereas the promising Berdych seemed to lose his way yet again. Soderling seemed to be making a run at the top 5 but has levelled off as well. Post US Open has seen Nadal tick over nicely, Djokovic maintaining but in Shanghai Murray re-emerged as a contender for London. Roger is very interesting. He has practised and trained extremely hard in Dubai. I know this first hand from Ashley Hewitt a young British U18 player who flew out to be a practise partner for 10 of those days. Roger used another Swiss player as well since one young player would struggle to keep pace. His intent to gain confidence and sharpness at the end of the season is a clear message that 2011 is as big a target as ever and he has no thoughts of taking life easy in a quest for more Grand Slam glory. He is in the final of Stockholm, a tournament he has not played for 10 years and playing a full end of year schedule. Magic for so many fans to see him in lesser tournaments and shows his love for tennis is stronger than ever. London top 8 is a big target for him, crucial for Murray and Djokovic to show they are also intent on a big 2011 and have the confidence to attack the year. Rafa meanwhile is quietly getting rest and I'm sure also setting his sights on finishing with a title that is one of the few missing from his collection.
The women's tour is in a strange place. A worthy no1 in Caroline Wosniak given her fantastically consistent year but cannot be a true no1 without a Slam. I think she is mentally well balanced and will make the breakthrough unlike Safina or Jankovic but the year belongs to Serena and Kim. Serena's unfortunate injury killed off potentially one of her best years and Kim has shown incredible form on the hard courts to continue a dream comeback. Venus seems unable to quite win a Slam with her best days apart from possibly Wimbledon behind her.
The women's tour needs 2010 to end now and look forward to 2011 when Henin and Serena return and one of the young ones step through to become a constant threat and a Slam champion. At present I can only see Caroline or Azarenko ready to become a new dominant force. I would also hope Kim wins another Slam other than the US Open. The no1 slot and leader of the game is wide open for a few to challenge, although Serena is always the one to beat when she plays apart from in Paris.
TEAMBATH-MCTA is a project that is progressing well and results are showing the quality of the work. Link through to follow the Academy in detail.