The 2023 tennis season is officially underway and the hottest talking points have already emerged for the season ahead.
This time last year, global media was captivated by Novak Djokovic’s battle to play at the Australian Open, with that story ending in the Serbian legend being deported over his refusal to accept a Covid-19 vaccine.
Controversy continued as Wimbledon decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players from their tournament last summer as a result of the war in Ukraine, with the tennis authorities stopping ranking points from the event in response.
Now we find ourselves counting down the days until the first Grand Slam of the year and with that, the All Court Tennis Club is here to share the five tennis stories to watch in 2023.
NOVAK TO REIGN SUPREME
Novak's back 🙌
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 3, 2023
Can anyone stop Novak Djokovic this year?
The Serbian superstar may only be ranked at No.5 in the current ATP list, but most seasoned observers are convinced he is the player to beat this year.
Djokovic will be aiming for a remarkable tenth Australian Open title later this month, but the biggest hurdle he could face in the coming months may be presented by an off-court issue.
Foreign visitors to America are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter the country, which could impact Djokovic’s hopes of playing at the Indian Wells and Miami tournaments in the spring.
NETFLIX COULD SHIFT THE NARRATIVE?
It’s about time tennis was opened up to a new audience and the Netflix series Break Point offers the potential to do just that.
In a behind-the-scenes look at the game, Nick Kyrgios, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini will be heavily featured and will be presented with the chance of being embraced by a whole new audience.
This format has lifted the profile of some star names in Formula 1 in the Drive to Survive series and tennis could do with a similar lift at a time when some of the game’s biggest names are fading in influence.
RADUCANU TO RISE AGAIN
— wta (@WTA) January 3, 2023
Emma Raducanu’s tennis story has been constructed in a bizarre fashion.
Breakthroughs at the top of the game tend to run in the latter stages of a lower-ranked event, but this 20-year-old Brit announced her arrival in the sport with a run to the fourth round at Wimbledon and a US Open win that launched her to international superstardom.
If Raducanu can steer clear of injuries, there is no reason why this supremely talented player cannot return to the top 20 of the WTA rankings and enjoy success in the upcoming Grand Slam events.
Look out for Denmark’s Holger Rune in the men’s game and Linda Fruhvirtova from the Czech Republic on the WTA Tour.
Rune’s promise was confirmed with his sensational win at the ATP 1000 event in Paris last year, as he beat Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic en-route to the title.
He is working with Patrick Mouratoglou’s coaching team and has the firepower in his game to trouble anyone if he can deal with the increased expectations around him.
At 17, Fruhvirtova displays promising potential after a win at her first WTA Tour title in Chennai last September.
She is not the finished product but has a fine serve and a great all-court game that should drive her toward the top 30 of the WTA rankings this year.
Both Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have hinted that 2023 could be their final year playing professionally.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 3, 2023
Nadal’s ongoing foot problem will eventually end his tennis journey and if he were to win a 15th French Open title this summer, it would be the likely natural moment for him to walk away.
Murray has also suggested he is close to the end, with his drive to get back to the top waning in the second half of last year after a run of poor results.
These two great champions won’t want to hang around for too much longer if they are not competing at the top end of the game, so look out for possible retirement announcements from Nadal and Murray in 2023.
Join the All Court Tennis Club at Stratford Padel Club on the 21st of February in the first of their newest series of Padel events for 2023. The session will be led by former professional tennis player and Padel enthusiast Lewis Burton, along with prominent LTA Coach and owner of the Progress Tour, Barry Fulcher. A luxury Croatian holiday is even up for grabs for the lucky winners! Secure your tickets HERE.