Melbourne is upon us. The first Grand Slam of the year is always much anticipated to see where different players are at as the new season is just a couple of weeks old. Some have impressed where as some look like they are still on their holidays but who should you watch out for in Melbourne?
I wrote about Elina at the beginning of the year and I spoke about her game being there or there abouts but sometimes lacks that standout shot which isn’t a bad thing but sometimes needs that extra bite. We saw this extra bite at Brisbane where she made it all the way to the semi-finals before being defeated by Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals but the week saw her come up with wins against Olympic champion Monica Puig and world number Angie Kerber. The talent is there just on a consistent basis against top players it’s missing but is something that will come with more practice.
The Frenchman had a bit of a scare last week having to retire down a set and a break to Kyle Edmund with a foot injury but the 22 year old has arrived in Melbourne and has posted videos of himself practising ahead of the first major which suggest everything is ok with his foot. Pouille was one of the breakthrough stars last season and stole the headlines with his dramatic climb up the rankings as well as his five set win against Rafael Nadal at the US Open. Pouille reminds me a lot of Pete Sampras he has that exceptional swinging serve and that delicate touch as well as that bullet like power to become a top player!
I’m not going to go too much into Karolina’s chances as I do have a piece currently working on her after her win in Brisbane but the Czech star is one to watch out for with her big serve and ground strokes and calming play on the court. There are aspects which need improvement but It will come with time. She made it to the final of the US Open last year and could go that step further this season.
Another one I’m going to talk about just a little bit. Title winner in Brisbane with three top 10 wins in one week matching his record for 2016 and stay tuned as I explore the changes to his game which has made him a better play and one who go only go up!