Todd Woodbridge, one of Australia's top doubles legends in recent times and now an expert analyst on the game, says that Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime, on the men's side, and Americans Sofia Kenin and Amanda Anisimova, on the women' side, will be the players to watch out for at the first Grand Slam of the season - the Australian Open - which gets underway in Melbourne on January 20th.
The Australian Open has served as a breakthrough for many young stars in the past - and Woodbridge believes that one of these four players can achieve the same in 2020. Speaking to the Australian Open website, Woodbridge says, "This time last year, I did an interview piece with Felix and he’d just lost in qualies and was taking the plane home before the tournament started.
Now he finds himself at 21 in the world after an extraordinary year. He’s backed up lots of match wins, looks really confident. He’s building a pretty good, robust-looking body – looks like physically he’s going to be OK.
(For his age) his body is ahead of the curve, I think. The AO, with the right draw, is a really big opportunity for him. We’ve seen so many (young) semifinalists, whether it be Chung, or Edmund, and Tsitsipas over the last few years.
He (Auger-Aliassime) would be one that I would look for to do that”. Woodbridge also has his eyes set on another Canadian - World No. 14 Shapovalov. "His game is starting to come together. There will be the five-set issue for him that will come into play.
That’s where the issue has always been (for young players) – the consistency, the concentration, and the dips within five-set matches have cost them. But Shapovalov is maturing at a nice rate and is starting to play some better tennis in terms of choosing the right shot for the right time – before that it was a bit random.
(He and Auger-Aliassime are) two players that I look for to go deep – quarters or semis. I’m calling that for one of those two”. On the women's side, Woodbridge says Kenin and Animisova are the ones to watch out for.
"For American women it was an incredibly exciting year (in 2019) with some big breakthroughs. I reckon it’s going continue (for Kenin). She has a real look about her of confidence and self-belief. She doesn’t look flaky, for want of a better word – it looks like she can sustain some disappointment and then bring it back again. She’s one I like the look of”.