With January upon us, it’s time to role out my wish list for the 2011 tennis season. I always get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I put together a new wish list. Starting from scratch offers renewed hope that wishes can in fact, come true.
Looking back on 2010, a few of my tennis wishes did, in fact, materialize. Kim Clijsters shook up the top 10. And although Rafa didn’t hire a fashion consultant, his wardrobe choices were a bit easier on the eye.
There were a few wishes that didn’t exactly go my way. I was sure Justine Henin would win Wimbledon for the first time. Not easy to be wrong on that one. Thinking that Juan Martin del Potro would win another Grand Slam didn’t seem so far-fetched at the end of last year, but no one could have predicted that he’d be out for most of the season with a wrist injury. And still no hot chocolate at tournaments. I guess I’ll have to bring my own.
It is possible that last year’s wish list was a bit too ambitious. This year’s list is all about cautious optimism, with a hint of greed. Which is why I’ve decided to bump up my wish list to 20 (up from 10 last year). More wishes = more wishes granted, right?
2011 Wish List:
1) With Serena Williams out of competition indefinitely and Elena Dementieva retired, the upcoming season will be an opportunity for the up-and-comers to break through. I hope to see the next great female player emerge from the pack this year. Jarmila Groth and Julia Goerges are a few names that come to mind.
2) For Rafael Nadal to win another Grand Slam is practically a given, but for him to repeat his 24-match winning streak (April 12-June 11) from 2010 would be astounding.
3) In 2010, we saw a few records broken. The Isner/Mahut first-round Wimbledon match is probably the one that stands out the most. The 11-hour, five-minute match was epic, freakish, mind-boggling, and exhausting all at the same time. How can anyone top that? My wish is that no one will.
4) Caroline Wozniacki will have a lot to prove in 2011 as a Slam-less No. 1 player. But at age 20, she has many more years left to reach that milestone. My wish is that she holds onto the No. 1 position for a full season. This will give her the credibility she needs to be considered the best in the world.
5) Serena Williams needs to hire a PR person to monitor her tweets. Seriously, how many tweets does she need to send just to convey how much she loves Green Day and shoes?
6) Microphones need to be removed from on-court coaching on the WTA Tour. Does anyone watching on TV ever remember what was said?
7) Dinara Safina will need to make a full recovery from her long-standing back problems to make a significant comeback on the WTA Tour. I hope she can regain her top form this coming season.
8) Welcome back, Juan Martin del Potro. My wish for him is to come back strong in 2011. That’s it. No hopes for a Grand Slam. Just play and see where he can go with his game.
9) Indian Wells has implemented more Hawk-Eye coverage for the 2011 season and beyond. I hope this encourages other tournaments to do the same.
10) My wish for Roger Federer is for him to earn two more Grand Slams in 2011, bringing his total to 18. It will be tough for him this year with Rafa being in top form, and Djokovic nipping at his heels. But I think the Swiss superstar has enough juice left in him to pull it off.
11) I’d like this year to be a time for the under-rated players to shine. Every player needs his or her day in the sun.
12) I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Juan Martin del Potro needs to get a website.
13) Few moments tickled my funny bone more than when Kim Clijsters congratulated Italy’s Fed Cup team (via Twitter) for winning the final over the US team before they won. I’m hoping for more funny goofs like that in 2011.
14) Victoria Azarenka: Probably the only player to suffer a concussion in tennis. Granted, it was from an injury sustained prior to her match, but symptoms caused her pass out during her match. Fortunately, she made a full recovery. Azarenka definitely has the ability to take her game to further hights. I hope this year she's can make that climb.
15) I’d like to see the tennis season reformulated. Have the "regular" season end after the US Open, and begin the "post" season October 1, with X number players in the post-season race who qualify for play. Subsequent tournaments can serve as a race to the Championships, which can take place the first week of November. Fed Cup/Davis Cup finals after that.
16) I’d be happy if ONE Slam-less player could win one this year.
17) I’d like to see more players, coaches, and tennis analysts embrace Twitter. Who doesn’t like free promotion?
18) I’m hoping that Esther Vergeer (champion of wheelchair tennis who hasn’t lost a match since 2003), keeps her winning streak going, and serves as an inspiration for others to pick up the sport.
19) Venus Williams: I still haven’t decided if her on-court fashion choices are good for tennis or not, but her game definitely is. Here’s hoping that the 30-year-old remains injury-free this season.
20) Andy Roddick: I’m hoping he can pull of a BIG win this year, before injuries make it too difficult to reach for the stars.
Feel free to add your own wishes. Here’s to a competitive, dramatic, injury-free, and fun-filled 2011.