Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019: So Long Hastavista Sayonara Peace-Out and the Like

I'm coming in under the limbo broom -- might ... hit ... send ... before ... midnight ...


So before I get into the 2019 yearbook, let's take a quick look at the 2018 yearbook, in which I, for the first time, attempted to predict the winners of the majors this year. How did I do?

Who Will Win in 2019? This is a new feature in which I will attempt to predict all the Slam champions right now! Stop laughing. This is hard! OK, here I go:

Australia: Kiki Bertens, Novak Djokovic
French Open: Sloane Stephens, Rafael Nadal
Wimbledon: Aryna Sabalenka, Roger Federer
U.S. Open: Serena Williams (unless she retired because she was pregnant), Djokovic

Hard indeed. In real life:
Australia: Naomi Osaka, Djokovic
French Open: Ash Barty, Nadal
Wimbledon: Simona Halep, Djokovic
U.S. Open: Bianca Andreescu, Nadal

Will I try this again later in this post? Absolutely!

Now, from the top:

Head of the Class: For the men, I'm going with Nadal. It was a minor miracle that he finished the season uninjured (well, for him -- just the one hip injury). But then he messed around and won two majors, the summer and Davis Cup, plus a major final and semifinal showing. I'm not just saying this because of his ass -- he had an awesome season.
The women? Not as easy to choose just one. So I won't! I will say that I look forward to another decade of watching Barty, Halep, Petra Kvitova (please?), Andreescu and Osaka duking it out on court. I'm expecting two decades from the last two. (Do y'all think Pliskova can win a slam? Because I'm thinking no these days ...)

Most Inspiring Player: I have to go with Hsieh Su-wei. For this category, I'm thinking about players who are not loaded with all the standard tools you'd expect for success, and yet. I'm thinking about a player who makes me want to go rent out the ball machine at my courts. That's Hseih for me. She is everything I wish I were as a player -- patient, strategic, able to use a full court, confident. Think I'm kidding? Watch this, then drop and give me 20:

Most Popular: Coco Gauff, and man, I wish it wasn't so. I get it. When you're good, you're good. People talk about the players who are good, the ones who beat Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon and then makes a nice run at the Open, where Osaka thrust her into the spotlight after a devastating loss. I'm not blaming Osaka, or anyone else. I just think about Jennifer Capriati and even about how Venus herself was treated when she was Coco's age ... and it makes me anxious. It makes me hope the media have actually learned something, that her family remains vigilant against, well, life. She's 15. I just worry about her. I'm glad she's popular. Really. But I'm anxious over here.

Most Likely to Succeed: I'm going to live on the edge and say Daniil Medvedev. I don't know how tennis' answer to Gumby does it, but damned if he doesn't keep doing it. I thought he was pretty close to success at the U.S. Open final but openly admit I was rooting hard against him. But in 2020? Hard for me to see him come out of it without a major title.

Most Likely to Succeed ... at Something Other than Tennis: Caroline Wozniacki, I guess. Y'all think she's coming back Down Under to wipe the smile off Halep's face again?

Nah, but still. We'll miss Wozniacki retrieving ball after ball after ball, only to win a match and you, the spectator, are sitting there asking yourself how she actually did that. (Just me? OK.)

That Student Who Snoozes Through the School Year, But Aces the Final Exam: I'm sorry, but Djokovic. Please explain how he managed to win that final against Federer at Wimbledon. He almost ended the year at No. 1, and his year overall was, well, scratchy.

Who Will Win in 2020?
I ain't scared!
Australia: Andreescu, Medvedev
Roland Garros: Halep, Nadal
Wimbledon: Serena (!), Federer (!!)
U.S. Open: Andreescu, Tsitsipas

Least Likely to Post Regularly in 2020: Yeah, that'd be me. I love tennis and everything about it. I love writing about tennis. This post was going to be short, and then I just got sucked in. But I've been thinking a lot about the goals I want to accomplish next year (tomorrow) and most of it involves getting paid to write. I, uh, do this for free. I know, shocking. But the reality is that I don't have the time or energy to do both well. I'll still post for majors and whenever I have anything else to say. But I'll always be watching. Feel free to hit me up on Facebook and Twitter between posts!

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