We discuss our predictions for 2016 in this edition of Changeover Chat, a quick back-and-forth exchange between the writing staff at The Changeover.
Andrew: Let’s get this prediction party started. Beginning with the men – Novak Djokovic has been on top of the world. Do we think he can maintain his form?
Lindsay: Yes. /fin
Amy: I bombed this prediction badly last year, but I think it’s very tough to follow up a year like what he did in 2015, so I’m going to say no. Also, I like him now, which means he’ll get mono and be forced to retire.
Anusha: I think he wins multiple slams. But I don’t see him running the tables as much as 2015. No Golden Slam.
Amy: Golden Career Masters 1000 Slam?????
Lindsay: I think Djokovic’s going to have another ridiculous season. I think he has another year or two (at least) of this form. He’s going to prioritize the Olympics and French, and rightly so. He was CRUSHED when he lost to Delpo in London.
Andrew: I’d give him at least two Slams and the Olympics.
Amy: I give him one.
Andrew: I think his form will be ridiculous still, but I think more and more we’ll see players have days where they turn up FIRING against him like Stan at the French.
Lindsay: I hope so. I don’t want one person winning three Slams on either tour.
Amy: Yeah, Bernie can win four, not three. So no worries, Linz.
Andrew: Andy Murray is World No. 2 now. Will he live up to that billing or will Federer feel like the second best player in the world still?
Amy: I could see Andy picking up another Slam this year.
Lindsay: I stick by my prediction from last year: Murray will win a Slam, and therefore Mauresmo will win a Slam, and all will be right with the world.
Andrew: There was a scary moment during the clay season where I really thought he had French Open potential.
Anusha: I think Fed hangs in there. Murray isn’t any closer to figuring out Fed than he was in 2014. I see Murray getting to a Slam final or two.
Andrew: I agree Anusha, I think he makes a couple of finals and wins at least one this year. I’d love to see Andy win the Australian so that Novak has somebody chasing him for the career slam. (I do not think Andy will win a career slam, but I didn’t think Pennetta would win the US Open, either.)
Anusha: And Murray needs help to win a Slam — Novak or Fed or Rafa has to not be there. Preferably more than one.
Andrew: Speaking of Rafa, what’s going on there, what’s going to happen, is he going to be ready for Paris?
Amy: I think the decline is real. I see bleak prospects for him this year.
Anusha: I think Rafa has a good showing in the clay Masters Series events. And at least makes the semis in Paris. With Fed not playing any clay masters, even a faltering Rafa should catch him at Roland Garros, if someone else hasn’t.
Andrew: I think he’ll struggle. I think he might have a great clay season but otherwise I honestly don’t know what impact he’ll really have. He’s so unpredictable now.
Andrew: So does Rafa reach a slam final this year?
Anusha: If he gets a good draw in Paris.
Andrew: I think he reaches one.
Amy: I’m going to be so embarrassed next year if he pulls a 2013.
Lindsay: My Rafa crystal ball is coming up with nothing. I have no idea. No inkling. Nothing. I’m so, so, so confused by his 2015.
Andrew: He is such an enigma.
Anusha: I don’t think he’s going to have 2013 Novak or 2013 Fed to work with.
Andrew: Wawrinka won the Aussie in 2014, the French in 2015. What does he pick up this year? Should Wimbledon be preparing Swiss flags … ?
Lindsay: No. But I could see him winning Rio. And maybe making a final.
Amy: I say no on Stan. But he’s so hard to predict.
Anusha: I definitely could see him with a medal. Not sure if it’s gold.
Andrew: I think Wimbledon is the last one I’d pick him for, but I can see him winning a Slam or the Olympics.
Lindsay: I don’t think we’re done with Big-Time Stan yet, but it’ll never be a constant.
Anusha: Agreed. He will always be a threat at the big events.
Amy: He really could win the French again if Rafa continues to look like he did in 2015.
Andrew: What about the following gang: Kyrgios, Tomic, Raonic, Dimitrov, Thiem. Are we going to hear big things from them?
Amy: Top 10 Tomic, you’ve heard it here first. (Many times already, to be fair.)
Andrew: Hmmm. Don’t buy that one, Amy
Amy: It’s a legit prediction. He’s No. 18 already! Also, he did nothing in Australia last year, so he has room to gain here.
Andrew: I think Kyrgios is where you’ve gotta look for an Aussie going Top 10.
Amy: No way.
Andrew: I’m still ALL IN on the NK train. I do not think Dimitrov will pick up his game this year. I have zero confidence in him right now.
Anusha: I’m not confident on Dimitrov. He needs a good tactician as a coach.
Lindsay: I think we’re going to see at least one spectacular run from Kyrgios this year. Maybe a Masters final? God, just thinking about that group gives me a headache.
Anusha: Agreed on Kyrgios. Thiem is the one who has disappointed me the least. But I think Kyrgios is the one who has the most belief, which you need to go after the top guys.
Andrew: Thiem confuses me, I can’t decide what I make of his potential. I feel like he’s a solid World No. 11-15, you know?
Anusha: He hangs out too much with Gulbis. Is now also confusing.
Amy: I think Thiem will at some point be a top 10 player, but not necessarily this year.
Andrew: What about the old favorites chasing the top guys, any big moves from Berdych, Tsonga, Monfils, Isner, Ferrer etc. this year?
Amy: Once again, I predict that David Ferrer will end the year in disgrace. Only because of my wishful thinking.
Anusha: Only if he starts partying with Bernie!
Amy: The way I stated that sounds more dramatic than a rankings drop, but I’m fine with that. Like every other year, I predict that Berdych will do nothing but still qualify for the WTF.
Andrew: I just don’t see them doing anything. I think they’re too tired and beaten down at this point. Just when it looks like one force if fading another (Novak) rises to destroy them.
Anusha: I agree. They’re pretty beaten down and the Stan-spiration of 2014 has worn off.
Amy: Of Tomic and Kyrgios, who will have more scandals this year? And predict what kind.
Andrew: Kyrgios, unsportsmanlike conduct on court. Tomic, nonsense dickheadedness off court.
Amy: I think that’s right. Tomic’s will involve fast cars and/or nudity. (So it’s good it’ll be off-court.)
Anusha: I think Nike puts a tighter leash on Nick. Bernie’s scandals will be more naked.
Amy: I don’t think Nike can contain Nick. I predict he’ll say something really offensive on-court and people will flip out. Also, some terrible tweets.
Andrew: Oh boy yeah, his brother will say some nonsense, too.
Lindsay: I’m looking forward to their doubles team in Rio. And then them somehow getting kicked out of the Olympics due to trouble in Olympic Village. OMFG will they be roommates in the Olympic Village?
Amy: They need Lleyton to babysit. As practice for Davis Cup.
Anusha: What about Kokkinakis? Has Bernie edged him out? We’ve all been drawn into the Bernie vortex!
Andrew: The Kokk is currently down with injury.
Anusha: But by Rio?
Andrew: I don’t know about him, honestly. I really think we’ll see the Kokk flop this year.
Amy: Bernie, your No. 1-ranked Aussie. You guys are such haters. HE WAS MATURE FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR!!!!!!!
Anusha: There was a mugshot this year, no?
Lindsay: Amy, he was arrested this year.
Amy: For Bernie, this was mature.
Lindsay: Like, a few months ago.
Amy: I’m talking results-wise. And the charges were dropped!
Amy: It’s not like he’s going to become Mother Theresa.
Andrew: In 2016 when he murders someone Amy will be like “But he reached the semis at Queens!” That’s my prediction.
Anusha: I think Bernie will not have a 2016 commemorative mugshot. That’s my prediction.
Andrew: So guys, who are your Top 5 at the end of 2016?
Amy: 1. Djokovic 2. Murray 3. Tomic 4. Federer 5. Stan. I’m ALL IN.
Andrew: Oh Amy, no.
Amy: 2016 = BEST YEAR EVER, LEGENDARY STATUS. And he’ll defend Bogota.
Anusha: 1. Novak 2. Murray 3. Stan 4. Fed 5. Rafa.
Andrew: 1. Djokovic 2. Federer 3. Murray 4. Wawrinka 5. Raonic.
Lindsay: 1. Djokovic 2. Murray 3. Federer 4. Nishikori 5. Rafa.
Anusha: I think Fed’s reduced schedule will cause the dip. I expect his form to be fine. Rafa can gain a lot of points due to his 2015 losses, so I don’t see him free falling. I have no confidence in anyone else being able to win enough and/or not get injured.
Andrew: Shall we move over to Serena’s tour? (Also known as the WTA, apparently.) Will Serena win all the Slams and the Olympics?
Lindsay: No, but she’ll get at least two. She’ll tie and surpass Steffi this year. And win everything she touches in Rio.
Anusha: I’m with Lindsay.
Amy: I’ll predict two Slams and the Olympic gold.
Andrew: RENA. Three Slams and Olympic gold. But that sounds like a lot, now that I think about it. She must be so tired. Two Slams and Gold.
Amy: How many Slams are we going to give Petra this year? Three?
Andrew: Eleven, plus a Pulitzer Prize.
Amy: Sounds about right.
Andrew: All on grass, without dropping a set. But really, I think Petra might win Wimbledon again this year.
Amy: She has the capability to win anything she wants, but I’m not going to expect more than one good Slam run from her this year.
Anusha: I think she gets to a Slam final, and an Olympic medal.
Andrew: 2016 is an even number, which means that Sharapova will win a Slam. Are we all in agreement on this?
Amy: I’m going to say she won’t.
Anusha: Me too. I think the even year magic won’t work this year.
Andrew: I think the French Open is hers again this year, but whichever Slam it is, I have to believe the pattern will continue.
Lindsay: I think she’ll win a Slam. If she’s healthy and Serena doesn’t win literally everything, hard to imagine she won’t.
Andrew: Okay, so which of these players will have the best year: Halep, Muguruza, Stephens, Keys, Bouchard?
Anusha: I’m also going Halep.
Lindsay: Muguruza will have a few special moments and stay in the top 10, but she’ll have a mini sophomore slump.
Amy: Muguruza will win a Slam. Maybe two. I was bored and watched basically every one of her matches from 2015, and she is the real deal. And she’s only going to get better.
Andrew: I agree with Lindsay that Muguruza will have a slump. She didn’t look great the latter half of this year at all.
Lindsay: Except Asia, Andrew. She won everything.
Andrew: I forgot about her Asian tour. Okay the summer is what I mean.
Amy: Hahahah Andrew, no. She had like three crappy tournaments immediately after MAKING THE WIMBLEDON FINAL.
Andrew: It was still a slump.
Amy: She’s winning all the Slams this year. Book it.
Anusha: I’d like to see Muguruza come out blazing. But I think Halep will be the most consistent (though I think she is less likely to win a Slam than either Muguruza or Keys).
Andrew: I think Stephens is going to come out hard this year.
Lindsay: Does Sloane have a coach?
Andrew: Life is her coach.
Amy: Sloane will only continue to be relevant whenever she loses to Serena at a Slam.
Lindsay: I don’t have high hopes for Stephens or Keys, which sucks. I hope I’m wrong.
Amy: High hopes for Keys. I’m still a believer.
Andrew: I want to believe in Keys but her 2015 was sad. I think she’s got the game, she just needs to figure out how to use it …
Lindsay: Jesse Levine is Madison’s coach. I’m just trying to let that sink in.
Andrew: Will Aga be more magical again this year after her rocky start to 2015?
Anusha: I think Aga improves in 2016. At least one good run at a Slam.
Lindsay: Aga, the winner of the WTA World Tour Finals!!! WTA Champion, Aga Radwanska.
Lindsay: Who won the WTA Finals in 2015, The Year of Serena? Why, it was Agnieszka Radwanska. What a world.
Andrew: Which means she won the year. It was the year of Aga.
Amy: Before you said that, Linz, I was actually typing out that I didn’t remember a single thing Aga did in 2015. Oops.
Lindsay: Can we talk about Kerber?
Amy: No, sorry, we can’t.
Andrew: Always, Lindsay. ALWAYS.
Andrew: Will she and Azarenka play the match of year again?
Lindsay: Yes. Without a doubt.
Anusha: Every year.
Lindsay: It will be in like, the third round of MIami on an untelevised court. But it will be the Match of the Year.
Amy: I’d like for Kerber to win one of her matches of the year for once.
Andrew: Kerber won a bunch of tournaments this year! She wins things now!
Lindsay: I just want Kerber to stay ranked in the top 8 so she’s around for these great matches against big players late in tournaments.
Andrew: In a year, are we gonna be like “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED WITH IVANOVIC AND WOZNIACKI” again? Either because they’ve bombed or played amazing tennis?
Anusha: I think Ana and Caro will reliably provide some good matches. But I don’t see either of them winning a Slam or making a final.
Andrew: I agree that Ana and Caro won’t make finals this year.
Lindsay: Agreed, Anusha.
Amy: I wish Woz would, but I don’t see it after her regression in 2015. Ivanovic … I don’t care.
Lindsay: Will Vika finally BE BACK? Or was 2012-13 a mirage?
Amy: YES. She’s back.
Andrew: I think Vika looks really healthy after her offseason and she’ll be ready to go.
Anusha: I think she makes a final, wins a medal, and maybe wins a Slam if Serena isn’t in the final.
Andrew: I wouldn’t give her a Slam, but I’d put her in a final and a medal, absolutely.
Amy: How about World No. 7 Venus Williams?
Lindsay: VENUS WILLIAMS, WIMBLEDON CHAMPION. IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.
Anusha: Venus wins everything. The End.
Lindsay: (DOUBLES COUNTS)
Anusha: I am not sure about that doubles. She and Serena have not looked great together.
Andrew: Venus was such a joy this year. SUCH a joy
Lindsay: SUUUCCCHHHH a joy.
Amy: I’m the world’s only person who doesn’t die with appreciation at Venus. But she’s been amazing. To get back into the top 10 is incredible.
Andrew: I want Venus being a wonderful competitor again this year, and bringing tears to our eyes with a great Slam run.
Amy: She could make a final.
Anusha: I would love to see Venus win a big title, but I think we will see good matches but not much hardware.
Lindsay: I am going to predict that Venus makes the WTA Finals, though. She was so close this year. YES, I think she will. That would be great.
Lindsay: And it would be SO HUGE if she could get back there one more time. I actually think that’s attainable.
Amy: How about the young players ranked outside the top 10? Who might make it there this year?
Anusha: Bencic still looks great.
Amy: I think Timea.
Andrew: Swiss domination.
Amy: And Keys. With her at No. 18, it’s not a huge stretch.
Andrew: Keys … I think she needs another year, but I’d love her to prove me wrong, like, I’d LOVE that. I do think Timea is a good pick too. Bencic is the real deal, for sure.
Lindsay: Timea’s not young, but I can see that. What about Pliskova? Is she going to keep moving upwards?
Andrew: Pliskova I’m not sold on.
Lindsay: I agree, Andrew.
Andrew: I find her very flat.
Amy: I’m not sold on her long-term, but it’s a safe bet she might make the top 10 in 2016 since she’s already at 11. I’m not sure she’ll end the year there. I’d probably bet against it. On the subject of young players, I’ll put in a vote for Margarita Gasparyan to have a good year, though not reaching the top 10.
Andrew: Maybe 2016 will be the year of Allison van Uytvanck AT LAST.
Amy: Of the players who are established who aren’t ranked as highly, like Stosur, Cibulkova, etc, who do you think might make a run? Jankovic, Petko, Lisicki, are all ranked pretty low, just for a few examples.
Andrew: Petkovic isn’t injured right now. I think she could come back and get going with some better results. Either that or her British twin thingy.
Amy: Who’s her British twin thingy?
Amy: Hahah, how are the two related? Do they look alike?
Andrew: Watch them play. It’s uncanny. They look alike and play alike. Konta’s serve is better.
Lindsay: Jankovic is going to have one BIG. MOMENT. this year.
Amy: In Cincy. Year-end top five rankings?
Lindsay: 1. Serena 2. Sharapova 3. Kvitova 4. Azarenka 5. Halep. (Basically my same top five as last year, hahaha.)
Amy: 1. Serena 2. Muguruza 3. Halep 4. Kvitova 5. Venus.
Andrew: 1. Serena 2. Sharapova 3. Kvitova 4. Azarenka 5. Bencic.
Anusha: 1. Serena 2. Halep 3. Maria 4. Muguruza 5. Vika.