2018 Week One Roundup
We are one week in to 2018, and the tour is underway. We have some winners, some losers, some injuries, and a little look forward to the first part of the year. This is my 2018 week one roundup.
Brisbane International Presented by Suncorp
There wasn’t a slew of top names at the Brisbane International, but there were some interesting results nonetheless. As mentioned earlier, former world number one, Andy Murray, was forced to withdraw from the tournament with injury. Left flying the flag for Britain, Kyle Edmund made it to the quarter finals before falling to number one seed, Grigor Dimitrov. Number four seed, Milos Raonic, suffered a disappointing early exit at the hands of wild card entry, Alex De Minaur.
The stars of the show, however, were Ryan Harrison and Nick Kyrgios. Harrison was perhaps lucky with his draw, as he was slated to play Andy Murray in the second round. Then again, with Murray’s injury woes, Harrison could well have triumphed had the Scot not pulled out of the tournament. As it stood, he made it all the way to the final, although he didn’t meet a seeded player along the way. Kyrgios, however, had to dispatch Dimitrov on his way to the finish. He went on to defeat Harrison 6—4, 6—2, to grab his first title of 2018.
Qatar ExxonMobil Open
Doha had a few top names on show, as is usually the case for the glamorous opener. There was no 1st/2nd exhibition, however, with Federer and Nadal not playing. Number one seed, Dominic Thiem, made it to the semi-finals before falling to Gael Monfils. Richard Gasquet and Thomas Berdych both suffered disappointing early exits in the second and first round respectively. As did the number two seed, Pablo Carreno Busta, who went out in the first round to Borna Coric.
The final ended up being contested between unseeded Andrey Rublev, and wild card entry Gael Monfils. Monfils came out on top with a pretty straightforward 6—2, 6—3 victory, hopefully stating his intentions for 2018. Lord knows we’ve been waiting for Monfils to storm the tour a live up to all that potential.
There have been question marks over Rafael Nadal’s fitness heading into 2018. And Novak Djokovic’s elbow still seems suspect after his withdrawal from the Qatar Open. Undoubtedly the biggest injury story of 2018, one week in, is that of Andy Murray. Having not played since Wimbledon last year, Murray as slipped to 19th in the rankings. His withdrawal from Brisbane was already a concern, but his decision to pull out of the Australian Open is a devastating blow for the Scot.
Some reports say that, should he opt to have surgery on his hip problem, he could be looking at a year out. That would effectively mean an entire year off the tour. And, while I don’t doubt Murray still has plenty of miles left in him yet, he’s no spring chicken in tennis years. I don’t want to start calling time on Murray’s impressive career just yet, but it’s looking increasingly likely that we’ll never see him competing at the very top again.
Looking Forward to Melbourne
It’s a bit of a mixed bag. As far as the Big Four (or five) go, Murray is definitely out and there question marks over Djokovic and Nadal. No stories are circulating regarding defending champ Federer, but at his age, there will always be concern that this might be the year time finally catches up. As for the next generation(s), only Kyrgios—and to a lesser extent, Dimitrov—have shown any signs of early form.
It seems that we could well have a non-Big Four/Five Australian Open champion in 2018, but who that usurper might be is anybody’s guess!
So that’s my 2018 week one roundup. I don’t intend to try and post one of these for every week, but you can expect some more roundup posts for significant weeks. Like this one.