Be bold and make your picks a week early! Let's make it a little more interesting. Because it is so early, we can make a first pick, second pick and a third.
Here are my picks for the Australian Open: men's (Djokovic, Murray, Tsonga), women's (Stosur, Kvitova, Azarenka).
I know my picks are a little strange, even for me, but that is what my guts say. What does your guts say?
Replies to This Discussion
I haven't investigated the women's side as much as I would've liked (a man has only so much time in a day). However, there are some very prominent up-and-comers that I have my eyes on, some would include the following:
1. Jack Sock
2. Irina Falconi
3. Donald Young
4. Christina McHale
5. Sloane Stephens
6. Tornado Ali Black (Our featured recruit at Authentic 7) www.Authentic7.com
I have other darkhorses that I'd like to expand on: John Isner, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils, Marco Baghdatis, Kei Nishikori, Juan Martin Del Portro, Bernard Tomic, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
I really liked what I saw in Christina McHale. Stephens is a fighter. I didn't see Falconi play. Sock is interesting but he needs more if he's to climb in the men's tour.
Lots of darkhorses in the men's tour. Perhaps we should call them contenders. ;)
I have seen Jack Sock play and know his coach Mike Wolf who has done a superlative job in his development. Surely, the men have a very strong field, but I wouldn't necessarily say that the womens side is weak or lacking. Irina Falconi is a solid player, although, she is ranked WTA #80 and is coached by a friend of mine who has been doing a great job with her. I like Christina McHale, she will surely win a grand slam within the next 5 years if she can increase her mental toughness and court strategics and tactics. The only thing I think that is lacking on the WTA side is a dominant number one player and a rivalry that matches the media coverage of a Nadal and Federer. If this happens this year, you may see a different huge increase in fan participation at events, which will definitely help the sport.
Well, I will have to reserve a little bit before I go all the way with Jack Sock. I did see him play Roddick at the US Open and he made more errors than winners. I agree with the article here: http://straightsets.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/03/roddick-vs-sock-br...
I know he has that big Western forehand and that great serve. He does need strategy and mental toughness. I don't know why he thought he could blow Roddick off the court with power. But he has real potential. Maybe in five or six years time, he'll settle in.
No, I think the women's tour has plenty of talent. I never said it was "weak or lacking", but the women do need a more consistent 1-2-3 rivalry. Perhaps it is Kvitova/Azarenka/Wozniacki/Stosur/Na.
Let me clarify, I know you didn't say 'weak or lacking' that was coming from me. I was merely remarking on the fact that since the womens game didn't have a true rivarly like a Federer and Nadal, it was 'lacking' the depth it needed to bring it to the next level. I agree that within the next 3-5 years, he will certainly make the leap from junior mentality to professional maturity. It's going to take time to get adjusted, but I am pretty sure he will do it with great success.
Thanks, Jason. I try my best to exert as much equal respect for the women's tour as the men's. I also agree there needs to be a true rivalry as you do.
Yes, I can imagine Sock vs. Dmitrov in four years, duking it out. Their serves have similar mechanics and it would be an interesting way to debate which forehand style is better, the Fed based forehand or the Western forehand. :)
I'm also looking forward to Sock and McHale especially. I think McHale has that ability to win that is indescribable. Just a winner as they say about Tebow.
I haven't seen Tornado yet, but I just checked out Authentic7, good for you! Is this a athlete agency like IMG for instance?
Yes! We're a bunch of dedicated and passionate professionals who care about the players well being on the ITF, ATP and WTA circuit. The most challenging aspect is surrounding oneself with people who share the same vision, and then, working together cohessively to achieve a tangible end result that will benefit everyone involved in the process. We don't have the financial clout of an IMG agency, but we're tirelessly working towards achieving that goal. We would much rather be a smaller agency that personalizes the experience of the player, and we do everything we can to ensure the players success both on and off the court. This is where many other agencies fall short, in my opinion!
With regard to Sock and McHale, they're certainly coming up through the ranks in good fashion and both have impressive wins to date. I will be paying close attention to them both in the coming years, it will be exciting for our sport here in the United States.
Djokovic and Azarenka
Well, since it is only a day before everything begins, I guess everyone should narrow their choices to one, just like Hesam has. I like his choices. I could probably choose the same.
Hesam Sedighi, you are the official prediction winner, along with me. Only, you were more definite than I was about it. You win an invisible apple!