Lindsay: As the 2014 tennis season kicks off and we gear up for the Australian Open, The Changeover crew thought it would be a fun idea to look back at our 2013 Predictions chat that took place over a year ago, and see some of the ridiculous (and on a rare occasion, brilliant) foresights that we had into the 2013 season.
Without further ado, a trip down memory lane!
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.
Juan José: Hey, Nadal and Djokovic won three out of the four slams. But I had no faith in the Muzzard, and he did go on to win Wimby.
Lindsay: Good job with the Murray prediction, Amy! JJ and I were way off on that. And why exactly did I believe in Delpo? SIGH.
Juan José: Never believe in Delpo. My official Delpo motto for 2014 is simple: win a M1000 and I’ll start taking you seriously again. Adding multiple 500s doesn’t count, by the way.
Lindsay: That non-Big Four breakthrough didn’t happen though. The wait continues!
Amy: Someday. (I HOPE.)
Amy: 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.
Amy: My Nadal predictions were hilariously awful. Although, Djokovic got close at Roland Garros, as we know. If he could hit an overhead, I could’ve been right!
Juan José: Djokovic got as close as anybody not named Soderling to toppling Nadal in Paris. And he didn’t even play all that well in that semi, either. Still, getting over that 4-2 game in the fifth seemed to take a while (understandably so).
Lindsay: “I don’t think he’ll be much of a factor at any of the other slams.” LOL me.
Juan José: I was super bullish on Nadal, but I might have to stop penciling him in for Wimbledon.
Lindsay: Yeah, I sense that transition will continue to be an issue for him. If he could survive Week 1 he’d be fine.
Amy: I don’t think he had any interest in surviving the first week, to be honest. That Darcis match was not a full effort from him.
Lindsay: Eh, I’m not really sure about that. But anyway, I’m still sad about Soderling. Always sad about Soderling.
Juan José: But hey, the General gets to make tennis balls now.
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— Robin Söderling (@RSoderling) October 12, 2013
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.
Lindsay: I don’t really think either of us were right, JJ– he was in-between struggling and domination.
Juan José: Amy was right – 2013 was more or less the same as 2012.
Lindsay: Yeah, it really was similar. Though his Masters struggles (prior to the fall season) did surprise me.
Amy: I think this is Djokovic’s baseline level. Win a slam or two, but 2011-like domination is impossible to achieve again.
Lindsay: I agree. Not a bad baseline.
Juan José: To me, 2011, is the most he (or anybody) can do in a season. But 2012 and 2013 is the least he can do, given his immense talents, his durability, and the fact that two out of the four slams and six out of the nine Masters 1000s are played on his best surface. For me, there’s a happy medium between the permanent glory of 2011 and the ups and downs of 2012 and 2013.
Still, The way 2012 ended made me think that another monster year was possible. And it did look like a possibility … until 3-0 in the third set of the Indian Wells semi against Delpo.
Now, 2013 ended even better than 2012 (though in a way, it ended worse, since Djokovic did lose the No. 1 ranking). The tease is out there for 2014 to be another monster year (Novak is free of injuries, he hasn’t lost in forever, and he seems fully motivated to get back the No.1 ranking). So … we’ll see.
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: I think it’s hilarious that none of us had Ferrer in our top 5. And he’s at his highest ranking ever. (In fairness, it’s very inflated.)
Juan José: No, but I did nail Murray as No. 4 … even if I didn’t have him winning a slam.
Lindsay: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA FEDERER. God, I was stupid. But, hey, does this at least take away my h8er status? Maybe?
Amy: We all have some cringeworthy predictions in there. JJ, Janowicz, LMAO. And me dropping Nadal out of the top 5.
Juan José: Hey, I had Janowicz at No. 5. The closest he got was No. 14 in August. But he did make a Wimbledon semi. I guess we got spoiled by the Big Four in that when they broke through, they just kept on climbing. Not the case with the Lost Boys.
Lindsay: None of us saw Nadal back at No. 1. JJ was closest.
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.
Lindsay: Kerber is really the only thing I’m embarrassed about there.
Juan José: OOF – mine suck, except for 1 and 2.
Lindsay: Man, let’s hope Kerber comes back strong in 2014.
Amy: Linz called Li Na moving up.
Lindsay: THE YEAR OF LI NA.
Juan José: I’ve lost faith in Kerber. She’s what she is: a low-margin-of-error player (meaning, she has to be in peak form just to compete with the elite) who is way too unstable for her own good.
Lindsay: Very James Blake. I had Radwanska plummeting. The pessimism of a fan, I suppose.
Juan José: I had her at No. 3. She ended up at no. 5.
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: I’m beyond embarrassed of “Kerber will win a slam.” That’s never, ever going to happen. She’s not even making a final (and if she’s back at a semifinal, I’ll be shocked)
Lindsay: Wow I was all for saying bold things, huh? How did we miss the BARTOLI SLAM?
Amy: I’ll just count that as “someone not quite on our radar.” Obv. I knew.
Lindsay: Haha, good call. Man, Kvitova’s Wimbledon draw was so good. Then she lost to FLIPKENS.
Juan José: Yep. Thinking about Kvitova makes me sad. It’s kinda like Delpo, really. Won’t believe it unless I see something. Though Kvitova has won a Masters 1000 equivalent.
Lindsay: I got the Li final right. And man, Radwanska SHOULD have been in the final. *sobs forever*
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.
Amy: GREAT CALL, both of us.
Lindsay: Hahaha, genius.
Juan José: LOL.
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.
Amy: Well, I don’t remember anything hilarious from Hopman Cup. Didn’t Isner pull out?
Juan José: Yes. So it wasn’t quite “404-File Not Found”…but it wasn’t much of anything, either.
Lindsay: Remember that time we all wrote USA Today pieces for the US Open and our subjects won a total of two matches?
Juan José: YES. #NeverForget
Juan José: The Changeover Curse is worse than the Madden Curse.
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.
Amy: WOZZILROY FOREVER
Juan José: So none of that happened, except Wozniacki is still on a downhill slope.
Lindsay: Welp. Thank God Jankovic proved me wrong.
Juan José: Also … STOSUR WON TWO TITLES.
Amy: Our completely unanimous decision that Jankovic was going to retire is amazing.
Juan José: Hey, it seemed completely likely until she drank from the fountain of youth in Bogotá.
Lindsay: JJ, you were ready to sell that Errani stock. I was impressed that Errani stayed up there in the rankings this year–a pretty impressive follow-up year for her.
Juan José: Yeah. Total Errani non-believer. Full kudos to her – she showed early on that she was for real, when she made the Dubai final and gave Kvitova all that she could handle.
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.
Amy: Yeah, none of that happened.
Juan José: NONE OF IT.
Lindsay: Those are all so cringe-worthy. Kanepi? Cibulkova? REALLY?
Amy: Shvedova is now ranked No. 79, hahahaha.
Juan José: But in our defense, there wasn’t an Errani this year. Unless she counts herself. Because the Sloane Stephens thing was (and is) still weird.
Lindsay: Yeah … Stephens was the closest we had, which is crazy.
Juan José: And she didn’t even make the top 10. So, we get a pass.
Lindsay: Maybe JJ was the Errani.
Amy: Can’t we count Halep in that? She certainly made a big splash this year.
Juan José: Sort of, I guess. But Queen Simona didn’t make the top 10 either.
Lindsay: Halep, yes. Though, I mean, I think we were talking about older players when referring to this question. But Halep counts.
Juan José: 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: Hey, those are better. No slam final for Delpo, but no Masters 1000, either.
Amy: Well, there was really no huge Davis Cup drama for Delpo. He just didn’t play. And Benneteau definitely didn’t come close to a title. So mine were pretty bad.
Juan José: Benny made two finals!
Lindsay: That basically equals a title.
Juan José: No – the Sousa defeat in the Kuala Lumpur final counts as a minus-one title.
Lindsay: OHMYGOD I had blocked that out completely.
Juan José: Totally warranted. That was such an epic fail. It’s not happening, Benny. Not in 2014, not ever.
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: One out of four, you guys.
Amy: Note to self: Lleyton Hewitt is never going away.
Lindsay: LOLOL. Never.
Juan José: Agreed.
Amy: He got his revenge on me by beating Delpo at the USO. Thanks a lot, Lleyton. Yes, you still play tennis, I get it.
Juan José: Hewitt is never ever retiring. No matter how many injuries he gets, or how many bad losses he piles up. He’ll always be there. (Cut to Lleyton announcing his retirement at the 2014 Australian Open)
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.
Amy: I underestimated Isner. Oops. Lindsay, you were so confident about Querrey getting into the top 10.
Lindsay: I know. Then he got dumped and depressed. Also, he’s Sam. Although you also thought Querrey could be ranked ahead of Isner!
Amy: Yup! I drank the Querrey koolaid too.
Juan José: I saw Isner win a title! In person!
Seriously, though, I think all my feelings about Quisner can be summed up in that post you wrote about them, Linz. The one with the trash cans.
Amy: 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: LOLOLOLOL #JerzyFAIL
Amy: In your face, Bernie h8rz!
Juan José: Cue the video of Bernie getting aced by Genie Bouchard at Hopman Cup.
Lindsay: I think maybe Ryan Harrison won a Challenger title. Does that count?
Juan José: Eh … no. Just to recap: Janowicz didn’t make it to the top 10, didn’t make a single tour final, played Federer, Nadal and Murray a few times, lost all of those matches. So there!
Amy: Well, some of our predictions were great, and some of them are downright ridiculous, in retrospect.
Lindsay: Just the way predictions should be, really. The most fun thing about sports is the surprises.
Amy: Yup, hopefully we’ll have more of that in 2014.