The 2019 Grand Slam season is about to get underway with the Australian Open and as usual it is time for predictions. Will the Big Four make another clean sweep? Will Novak Djokovic achieve his goal of a calendar Grand Slam?
On the women’s side, we have had eight different winners the last eight majors. Will that trend continue or will Serena Williams draw level with Margaret Court on 24 Grand Slams?
Defending champion Roger Federer admitted the usual suspects will be battling it out for the title at Melbourne Park. The usual suspects being Federer himself, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Of course the likes of ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev and 2018 runner-up Marin Cilic want to be challengers, but Federer is right as it is hard to look past the Big Three.
And again we have to agree with Federer who had the following to say about Djokovic: “Once he found his class and the groove back, he is hard to beat.”
In fact he won’t be beaten at Melbourne Park.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win the Australian Open
Caroline Wozniacki starts as the defending champion while Simona Halep kicked off the year as the world No 1, but for some reason you just don’t get that same buzz about last year’s finalists. They didn’t really set the world alight at the backend of the 2018 season and the chasing pack seems to have caught up with them, if not moved ahead.
And at the forefront of that chasing pack are Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber.
It would be a perfect end to the fairytale if Williams returns to Melbourne Park to win Grand Slam No 24 just over a year after she gave birth to her daughter Olympia.
Prediction: Serena Williams to win Australia Open
It is hard to look past defending champion Rafael Nadal, who will be gunning for a third consecutive title and 11th overall trophy at Roland Garros.
Back to Djokovic and he has made it clear that he has his eyes set on a calendar Grand Slam and, if our prediction above is right, it would mean he will start the French Open with three majors in his possession.
However, the only thing that can stop Nadal is injury, which means Djokovic’s hopes of a calendar Grand Slam will be over for another year.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win French Open
We have had five different winners at Roland Garros the past five years. In fact, only Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova have won the title more than once in the last 12 years.
Halep is going in as the defending champion, however you just feel that all the niggling injuries might start to take its toll.
Don’t be surprised if we have another new Grand Slam winner come the end of the French Open with Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Daria Kasatkina the big challengers.
Prediction: Daria Kasatkina to win Roland Garros
It will start with the usual questions about whether or not anyone can stop the Big Three (Big Four if Murray has found his best form again).
SW19 is considered Federer’s playground while Djokovic is the defending champion, but Nadal was somewhat unfortunate last year when he came up against Juan Martin del Potro and Djokovic in the quarters and semis.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win Wimbledon
Angelique Kerber is the defending champion after she easily brushed aside Williams in last year’s final and you suspect the German will once again be there or thereabout.
The 2017 champion Garbine Muguruza and Williams should also make the business end, but this may well be the tournament that sees the real changing of the guard with Kasatkina, Naomi Osaka, Aryna Sabalenka, Kiki Bertens and Elise Mertens putting their hands up. The youngsters are fearless, but it will be experience that tells.
Prediction: Angelique Kerber to win Wimbledon
The US Open is the only major to have produced winners outside of the Big Five since 2006 with Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic getting a looking in in 2009 and 2014 respectively.
Naturally you expect the Big Five to be there or thereabouts again, but this will be the one where the Next Gen will finally make their mark.
And Alexander Zverev will be the man to finally take over the baton. He will build steadily throughout the year by reaching the latter stages of the other three majors before completing the job at Flushing Meadows.
Prediction: Alexander Zverev to win US Open
Naomi Osaka’s maiden Grand Slam title remains fresh in the memory and, as mentioned above, she is unlikely to finish her career with only one major.
Current world No 1 Halep, the 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens and the up and coming Sabalenka will be Osaka’s main challengers.
But the way she dispatched Madison Keys in the semi-final and Williams in the final was a sight to behold.
Prediction: Naomi Osaka to win US Open
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