We discuss our predictions for 2013 in this week’s Changeover Chat, a quick back-and-forth exchange between the writing staff at The Changeover. Don’t hold us to them!
Amy: What are your predictions for 2013?
Juan José: Here’s one to get us started: on the men’s side, all Grand Slams will be won by two people: Djokovic and Nadal. And this will happen in only two combinations: 1) Djokovic winning the Australian Open and US Open and Nadal winning the others. 2) Djokovic winning all four.
Amy: I have confidence that Andy Murray will win a Slam next year. And someone non-Big Four will manage to break through. The status quo cannot last. It’s not a matter of if, but when. 2013’s not a bad bet. With Nadal possibly not in top form, and Federer not an overwhelming favorite everywhere, it’s never been a better time. Look at Andy Murray. It worked in his favor last year.
Juan José: I don’t see Andy Murray winning another Slam next year. Sorry, Andy. But he might nab another at some point later on.
Lindsay: I think that four different men will win Majors next year. But it won’t all be the Big Four. I think Del Potro gets another Slam. And if I were to guess as to which member of the Big Four wouldn’t get a Slam, I’d have to go with Murray. He’ll win another Slam, I just don’t think it will be this year. I think that’s too easy for him. There has to be more British angst on the horizon.
Amy: Poor Andy. I think he’ll manage one of the hard court Slams. I’m going to go out on a limb and say someone other than Nadal will win Roland Garros.
Juan José: Wow! Bold predictions!
Amy: Go big or go home. What do you guys think? Will Nadal win the French Open?
Juan José: If Nadal is not terribly hampered, he’ll win. Rephrased: if Nadal shows up at the final, he’ll win. Unless my second scenario happens.
Amy: Soderling comes back and wins all the Slams?
Juan José: PFFFFFT.
Amy: Because that’s totally going to happen, just you wait.
Juan José: Sadly, I don’t see the General Sod even making it back on tour next year. Sad prediction.
Lindsay: I am having such a hard time with Nadal predictions. I think he’ll win Roland Garros, but I don’t think he’ll be much of a factor at any of the other Slams.
Amy: Interesting. I feel like so many people are penciling in Nadal to win in France. Yes, he’s by far the best clay courter in tennis history, but he’s also been absent for a really long time. It seems like we’re expecting him to need only a few months to get back to decent form. I’m not convinced that will be the case.
Juan José: That’s a natural worry, but if there is someone who has been through lengthy absences before, that’s Nadal. I think he’ll be fine.
Amy: It’s a tougher challenge with someone like Djokovic out there, who has beaten him on clay a few times.
Juan José: Yeah, but Nadal went 3-0 against Djokovic last year on clay. Djokovic took only one set in the process. Also, today I remembered that Nadal won Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Rome last year without losing a set. How insane is that? The only set he lost in the red clay season was the third set of the French Open Final!
Amy: It was amazing, but Djokovic can beat him on clay even when he’s healthy. It’s happened before. I guess I’m just cautious about considering Nadal the favorite, even despite his clay court prowess. Seven months is a heck of a long time to miss.
Juan José: I know 2011 happened, but I also saw 2012 happen. However, if Nadal is hampered in a hypothetical Roland Garros final against Djokovic, and Djokovic summons his 2011 prowess, the unthinkable might happen.
Lindsay: My bold prediction: I think Djokovic struggles a bit in 2013.
Juan José: That was 2012, Lindsay! I see 2013 as The Year Of The Djoko.
Lindsay: He didn’t struggle, he ended the year ranked No. 1.
Amy: In a year where various players played amazingly well, Djokovic proved he was better than the rest. I just can’t say he struggled in 2012. I expect Djokovic to have a similar year to this one in 2013. I see him winning at least one Slam, but not living up to that crazy 2011, because that’s basically impossible.
Juan José: Yes, “struggled” is too strong a word. It’s like a one percenter complaining because he “only” made 3.5 billion in 2012 compared to his historic 4.9 billion in 2011. However, what if Djokovic doesn’t survive one of the five match points he faced in the Shanghai final? I don’t think he wins the World Tour Finals after yet another loss to a Big Four opponent (at that time, he had lost five straight matches to Big four members), and without the Shanghai and World Tour Finals titles, Djokovic ends the year at No. 2, having lost at least six straight times to his main rivals. Anyway, Djokovic’s 2012 ended on a really high note, but that kind of ending was far from a certainty when Djokovic started his Asian swing, and seemed quite improbable during those five match points in Shanghai. But, that’s a story for another day.
Lindsay: What do you guys think the top 5 of the ATP will look like at the end of next year?
Amy: My year-end top 5: 1. Djokovic, 2. Murray, 3. Del Potro, 4. Federer, 5. Berdych.
Juan José: Nadal out of the top 5! Bold!
Amy: Yeah. I just think he might significantly pare down his schedule. I doubt he’ll drop out of the top 10.
Lindsay: My year-end top 5: 1. Federer, 2. Murray, 3. Djokovic, 4. Nadal, 5. Del Potro.
Juan José: That’s really bold, Lindsay. Here’s mine: 1. Djokovic, 2. Nadal, 3. Federer, 4. Murray, 5. Janowicz.
Amy: How about the year-end top 5 for the WTA?
Juan José: 1. Serena, 2. Azarenka, 3. Radwanska, 4. Kerber, 5. Kvitova.
Amy: I’m going to go out on a limb here. 1. Azarenka, 2. Serena, 3. Sharapova, 4. Radwanska, 5. Kerber.
Lindsay: 1. Serena, 2. Kerber, 3. Azarenka, 4. Sharapova; 5. Li.
Juan José: The Li appearance is intriguing – the Carlos Rodríguez effect?
Lindsay: Yup, I think that’s going to pay off. And she has a lot of chunks of the season where she can pick up points. But the WTA is going to be so, so tough next year. And a lot rides on the health of Serena.
Amy: Yeah, my thoughts exactly, Lindsay. That’s why I put Serena at No. 2. I wonder whether she’ll be able to play another complete year, what her health will be like, and also which tournaments she’ll decide to play. Even if she wins a Slam (or two), if she doesn’t play a full year, I could see her falling short of the year-end No. 1 ranking, as she did this year.
Juan José: I’m betting on Serena being healthy next year – she’s had enough bad luck already. Plus, being over 30 makes her see the finish line much more clearly. The positive desperation of a proud champion who fully understands her time is almost up will set in, and she’ll run over everybody. I predict she’ll end 2013 with a higher Grand Slam total than Federer: 18-17.
Lindsay: That’s my bet too, JJ. Plus she can pick up so many points at the beginning of the year that she can be so far ahead at No. 1 by summer that the rest of the year will hardly matter.
Juan José: Yep – and I’m sure she’ll manage to win more than one round at the French Open.
Amy: That’s true, but she has a ridiculous number of points to defend, too, from summer-on.
Juan José: She didn’t play that much – if she doesn’t defend some stuff, she can play tournaments she skipped last year. Particularly after the US Open – she didn’t play anything!
Amy: As if she’d go to Linz or Asia to chase a ranking. This is Serena we’re talking about!
Juan José: Hey, Venus went to that parking lot in Liechtenstein – Serena will go places.
Amy: I’ll believe it when I see it.
Juan José: However, if she does well before that stretch, no, she’ll stay home.
Amy: Predictions for Slam-winners on the WTA side?
Juan José: Three for Serena, one for Kerber?
Lindsay: Kerber will get a Slam. And one for Azarenka and probably two for Serena.
Amy: I think Azarenka will win at least one, if not two Slams. And one for Serena at minimum. I could see someone else winning one. Maybe Kerber, Kvitova, or someone not quite on our radar yet.
Lindsay: I think Kvitova, Li, and Radwanska all make a final.
Amy: We’re disregarding Sharapova the clay GOAT a bit.
Lindsay: I think Masha gets halted in the semis of every Slam.
Juan José: Sharapova will defend her French Open crown! Which will make her career about 25% more impressive, as well as funnier. How hilarious would it be if the one Slam Sharapova manages to win more than once is the French Open?
Amy: Sharapova could certainly repeat at Roland Garros. Overlooked in the fact that Serena lost in the first round this year is that her record in Paris is really not even close to what it is at the other Slams. Serena’s career win-loss records: Australian Open: 54-7, Roland Garros: 39-10, Wimbledon: 67-8, and US Open: 65-9. So I would be surprised if she won Roland Garros next year. And Sharapova really plays well enough on clay to be the best bet there.
Juan José: I agree with that prediction, Amy – I never saw Serena winning the French Open.
Lindsay: How about our predictions for Venus?
Juan José: I don’t see anything in my crystal ball regarding Venus. Which is sad. It just says “404 – File not found.”
Lindsay: I think Venus makes it to a Slam semi this year. And I think she gets close to – if not into – the top 10. But that’s her ceiling.
Amy: I predict she produces some hilarious moments with John Isner at Hopman Cup.
Lindsay: What about other WTA former No. 1s, such as Ivanovic, Wozniacki, and Jankovic?
Amy: More of the same. I don’t see any one of those recapturing their mojo. But I also don’t see Wozniacki struggling quite like the other two. She’ll be far more consistent than they are.
Juan José: The only predictions I see for Wozniacki are for the end of Wozzilroy, but not the end of WozzilCrazyDad.
Amy: I believe in Wozzilroy.
Lindsay: I think Jankovic’s going to retire.
Juan José: That sounds plausible, Lindsay.
Amy: Agreed, I could see that happening in the next couple years.
Lindsay: I see Ivanovic regressing out of the top 20 and Wozniacki hanging around the outskirts of the top 10, a la Bartoli. I also predict I will pitch a reality show to Tennis Channel about the Bartolis and Wozniackis exposing the ins and outs of father/daughter tennis relationships and I will become a millionaire.
Juan José: I see Errani dropping out of the top 10, if not the top 15. And I see Stosur losing a few more finals.
Lindsay: Who do we see as the Errani of 2012 or the Kvitova of 2011? Who is going to finally put it all together?
Amy: Maybe Shvedova.
Juan José: Kirilenko! Not really. Goerges! How about Safarova taking the Fed Cup thing into 2013? She bailed out Kvitova in that final. That was huge.
Amy: Yeah, but it was over Jankovic.
Juan José: Right. NEVERMIND.
Lindsay: I keep thinking that Kanepi could be a threat if she can stay healthy.
Juan José: Yeah, I was looking at Kanepi. She’s intriguing.
Amy: I always get hopeful over Kanepi. Never again.
Lindsay: I think this will be the year that Cibulkova finally breaks into the top 10.
Juan José: How about Laura Robson winning a title and making it to the top 15?
Amy: Sure, I could see Robson having a great breakout year, even more so than last. She seems to have all the right tools.
Juan José: Big game, and she improved her movement. Plus, I think she has big match chops. We gonna see. Let me take you back to the ATP for some more predictions: Del Potro won’t win a Masters 1000 in 2013. But he will make a Slam final (and lose it).
Amy: I’m not sure what to expect from Del Potro next year, but I do know there will be a lot more Davis Cup drama centered around him. With Martin Jaite constantly at odds with the best player from Argentina, I have to wonder whether he’ll be able to hold onto his job as Davis Cup captain for much longer. At this point, it seems prudent to replace him with someone who gets along better with Del Potro.
Juan José: Which leads to another prediction: Argentina won’t win the Davis Cup. And here’s a sad prediction for you, Lindsay: Benneteau won’t win a title. Won’t even make a final.
Lindsay: Benny will win a title. And then he’ll hurt himself during the trophy ceremony.
Amy: He’ll hold up the trophy and drop it on his face. Actually, I think Benneteau will finally get his title. I really do for some reason. Possibly delusion is the reason.
Juan José: Other sad predictions: 2013 will be the last season for Nalbandián and Davydenko.
Amy: And Hewitt.
Juan José: But not Tommy Haas.
Lindsay: Tsonga and Rasheed will have a huge public fight, probably at the French Open.
Amy: A general prediction: the discussions of doping in tennis will continue. Because the controversial Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes had tennis clients, I wonder if there will be some new tennis-related information when the Operacion Puerto trial gets underway in January. But I don’t expect the status quo to change very much with testing.
Lindsay: How about some predictions on the Americans we haven’t touched on yet – Isner, Harrison, Querrey, McHale, Stephens, et al?
Amy: I think Querrey could spend much of 2013 ranked ahead of Isner.
Lindsay: Querrey will join the top 10. I am very curious about Isner and this new coaching relationship.
Amy: I predict some more Isner-related heartbreak next year. As Rafa once said, he can be in the top 14. (Which, by the way, was the funniest Rafa quote ever.) I think that’s an accurate picture of where I see Isner. Top 14.
Lindsay: I hope McHale is healthy. If she is, I think that she and Stephens will be in the top 20. With Lepchenko and Venus right there, that’s not a bad Fed Cup team.
Juan José: In terms of tournaments, I asked my crystal ball about what stupid gimmick Madrid will throw at us (and the players), and it just said, “The horror. The horror.”
Amy: I predict the ATP players will find something to complain about in Madrid, even without the blue clay. And it will be something completely trivial.
Juan José: Well, it has historically had a very bad surface, even when it wasn’t blue. Worst clay court of the season. Tiriac might show up to the trophy ceremony wearing a leopard-print speedo. Another prediction: We will have a Tuesday men’s final at the US Open, which will be all sorts of fail.
Amy: That’s not even a prediction; that’s inevitable. Definitely going to happen. Any final thoughts?
Juan José: I predict Jerzy Janowicz will make the top 10 and win three titles. He’ll beat another member of the Big Four, too.
Lindsay: I hope you’re right, though I see him fizzling back out. It was a shame his run came at the end of the year, giving him no time to build on the momentum. I think Ryan Harrison will win a title.
Amy: I’m going to rehash my awful 2012 prediction and say Bernard Tomic will win a title.
Juan José: Bernie Time!
Amy: Yes, that’s my story and I’m going to stick with it.
Juan José: I predict there will be at least two Bernie scandals in 2013. Also, I predict Adidas will put Verdasco in something worse than his “legendary” 2012 Australian Open outfit.
Amy: I’m not sure that’s possible, but if anyone can conjure up something worse than that, it’s Adidas.