Will Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic be threatened by young people in 2021? Are Dominic Thiem, Andrey Rublev, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and the others ready to unseat the Big Three? And what other old lions like Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Kevin Anderson, Kei Nishikori and the others have to say? Will Juan Martin del Potro be able to come back on the court? What are the chances of the very young Jannik Sinner and the others? Many questions, few certainties.
Except one. The greatest tennis players on the planet should be present at the Australian Open 2021, ready to offer a show to the hungry mouths of fans, who will have to wait until the first days of February to see the first Grand Slam of the season.
There are basically two certainties: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The Serbian champion will be the big favorite at the Australian Open, at Wimbledon and even at the US Open, with Rafael Nadal appearing to have no rivals (not even Dominic Thiem) on the clay-courts of the Roland Garros, and he will have the same chances as Djokovic at the US Open.
But Nole has less certainty than in previous years, especially by the mental side (maybe his strong skill), after everything that happened from the Adria Tour to the defeats at Roland Garros and the ATP Finals. Nadal seems inexorably destined to surpass Roger Federer's Slam record this season, and at Roland Garros, he will have the chance to achieve an unattainable sporting achievement.
2021 ATP Preview: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic in focus
Thiem will have to defend the US Open and it will not be easy, despite the excellent improvements on hard-courts. Zverev can also think about doing well both on hard-courts and on clay-courts, while Medvedev, the most unpredictable of young people, on fast surfaces could put anyone in trouble.
Andrey Rublev will have to confirm the good things seen in 2020. Jannik Sinner, on the other hand, seems ready for a qualitative leap. His impressive physical, technical and mental skills are already projecting him to incredible levels, but in the next season he will have to not only confirm the progress of 2020, but improve them, and even a lot, if he aspires to become the new ruler of men's tennis.
Roger Federer's come back will be evaluated. First of all after he decided to skip the Australian Open 2021 to well recover after the two surgeries. In 2017, he stunned the world by winning the Australian Open after six months off from injury.
This year, as the Swiss has admitted, he is not yet in top form and perhaps he will not be for the beginnings in Melbourne either. It's easy to think of his All-In at Wimbledon and at the Tokyo Olympic tournament. However, the conditions are different compared to 2017: Roger Federer has less certainty than in the past, but talent is always on his side.
At Wimbledon are Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have the same experience as him to trip on grass-courts. And let's not forget one fundamental thing: in 2020 there was no grass-season, and to play well and win on the lawns you need experience.
Even one year without this short but spectacular season can be a decisive factor, which could favor Federer. Beware of Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka: should they find a good physical shape, we may have some sensational surprises.
Perhaps in the second half of the season we could also see del Potro on the court again. Just seeing him again would be a miracle for all tennis.