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Wed, Oct. 16

Tennis New Year predictions and resolutions
My Point

It’s that time of year again where you put the previous year to bed and gear up for what the new one will bring. Setting new goals to be achieved, or at least projected for and while most like to set the bar higher than the year before - that’s not always possible to reach.

Maybe you just want to learn the game of tennis or jump back in - but you have to sign up for a college tennis class or come to drop-in-tennis which takes an action on your part. Getting on-line and registering or getting your calendar out and writing down Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11 a.m. “tennis.” Then find your racquet, clothes, warm up and buy a can of balls - lay them out the night before and “do it!”

Heck, both of those resolutions are easier than trying to go on a diet where you have to watch every little morsel that goes into your mouth, and you just might get in better shape without even having to think about it.

Do you wonder what Roger Federer and Serena Williams have on their list of resolutions for 2019?

If you asked them they’d be reluctant to really say, so let me make a couple predictions for them, knowing at their ages and last years in the game on a top professional level time is of the essence.

Roger’s number one goal will be to stay healthy and have a respectable year - and for him respectable means staying in the top five with his ranking, getting a good draw at the majors so he can make it into the second week and hoping he isn’t on the same side of the draw as Novak Djokovic. Once again it will be a limited schedule with my fingers crossed he adds entry into the French Open, especially if Rafa Nadal is on the sidelines or iffy.

I believe that if he falls out of the top five and worse yet the top 10 due to whatever reason he’ll be hard pressed to want to do more than play exhibition tennis. All tennis players are a bit prideful and Roger is no different here. He’s stated he wanted to play in the 2020 Olympics, and he’s certainly not a quitter, so look for him to gut out every match he’s healthy to play, but with turning 38 this year it won’t get easier.

Serena - wow, she made it to two Grand Slam finals in 2018 and fell short. She is now married, with a child and her dedication is a bit torn with all of that.

Birthing a child racks the body and it showed at times, even with the success she had.

Will she be able to turn the corner and get back into the kind of shape she needs to be in to dominate with more than a great serve and much more limited movement overall?

If she can she’ll win a couple more majors, if not all the stars will have to line up in her favor.

She wants to win at least one more major to tie Margaret Court Smith record of 24 and two to become touted the greatest women tennis player ever to date.

Rafa has pulled out of the Australian, so for him it’s his health. He is more physical than just about any other player on the tour, and without his movement intact, he’s vulnerable.

Novak Djokovic is back!

If Novak (31) stays healthy and in the mental state he finished 2018 and a little luck he could win all four majors for a “Grand Slam,” which would then put him ahead of Rafa who currently owns 17 singles major titles. Roger has 20. In the next 3 years, Novak could be the player that goes down in the history books as the “Greatest Player in the Open Era”.

2019 is hear and I predict tennis will still be the game I love to teach, play, write about and watch - you can bank on that!

Happy New Year!

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 45 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or choward4541@gmail.com.

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