The season is just a week old and we already have seen several withdrawals through sickness, injury and, in John Isner’s case, “tiredness”.
At least, that is the excuse Isner gave for his late withdrawal from Auckland, while Gael Monfils withdrew from the same tournament due to “personal reasons”.
Monfils also pulled out of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, along with French counterpart Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is unavailable for the Australian Open due to an arm injury. Marin Cilic, the US Open champion, also has opted out of the year’s first grand slam because of an injury.
Tsonga, Monfils and Cilic had a full stint at the International Premier Tennis League during the off-season, but Ana Ivanovic also appeared in all four legs of the series and comfortably reached the final in Brisbane last week, losing to Maria Sharapova.
Of course, seeing the top two seeds in the Brisbane International final was no surprise.
A 34-year-old Venus Williams winning in Auckland could qualify as one, though, especially since she beat world No 8 Caroline Wozniacki, who is 10 years her junior, in three sets. Williams was not the only ageing veteran to bag a title last week. Roger Federer (Brisbane) and David Ferrer (Doha), both 33, were on the list as well.
With the women’s No 1 Serena Williams also in the 33-plus club, the old guard looks in good shape. Generation Next, on the other hand, looks a bit ragged and could spend another season in the queue.
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