The 2021 season has just started with the Antalya and Delray Beach tournaments this week, which will serve as an appetizer to the long trip to Australia. The first Slam of the season will be staged this year from 8 to 21 February, a move made necessary by the two-week quarantine imposed on all players who will travel to Melbourne.
The big favorites to win the Happy Slam will once again be Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, while Roger Federer will not be at the Australian Open for the first time in the last 23 editions. Many are wondering if 2021 will be the good year for the definitive change of view at the top of men's tennis.
Dominic Thiem's triumph at the US Open and Daniil Medvedev's splendid ride at the ATP Finals in London have heightened the feeling that the margin between the Big 3 and the Next Gen has narrowed considerably.
In a recent interview with Eurosport, former ATP number 2 Alex Corretja suggested however that Nadal and Djokovic will still be opponents to beat in the next twelve months.
Corretja on Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
"I honestly think that Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are going to continue to be at the top, I would even say that the two will add at least one more Grand Slam," Alex Corretja said.
"As for those who can make a leap, I think Medvedev is very close to winning a Grand Slam tournament and that Thiem will once again be a very tough opponent, especially having the experience of New York already and knowing that he can, that helps very much," Corretja stated.
"Dominic has a lot of strength, experience and plays well on all surfaces, it will be very difficult to stop him. I would love for Felix-Auger Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov to also take that step forward, they are two players that I love.
Tsitsipas is another who should also do it." Alex Corretja, who hails from Spain, predicted another good year for his countrymen on the ATP circuit. And the 46-year-old expects 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal to lead from the front once again.
"Rafa will once again be the bulwark for another year, together with a (Roberto) Bautista Agut and a (Pablo) Carreno Busta on the road to continue consolidating," Corretja went on. "I think that Carreno is getting closer and closer to giving a great surprise in the Grand Slam, the 2020 season has been very important for him," Corretja said.
"Then there is Carlos Alcaraz who, from what I read and hear, shows that he has an enormous mentality, he thinks big, so we can expect great things from him."