Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon revisits the 18 predictions he had made at the start of this 2018 season.
You’ll forgive us but since the sport is definitely on hiatus this week, and has been for about a month, we’ll take this space to look back at the season as a whole.
After all, this is our avowed aim with these columns, it says so right there at the top below the headline: «the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis.» What can be more true to this aim than to look back at the very beginning of the year and our first column of 2018?
That’s right, it’s time to revisit the 18 predictions we had made for how we thought this new season would unfold, and see where it all went right and (most likely) wrong.
Sounds good? As always, you’ll see that we’re not entirely great at this.
Simona Halep finally wins a first Grand Slam title: YAY
She definitely does, and we’re super happy for her.
…Also holds on to the year-end No. 1: YAY
Two for two, we’ll take it.
Andy Murray falls out of the top 30: YAY
Poor Andy Murray has not merely fallen out of the Top 30: he’s all the way down at No. 259 and needs a protected ranking simply to compete in Melbourne next month for the Australian Open.
…And doesn’t win a title in 2018: YAY
What is this, four good predictions out of four????
Roger Federer retires: NAY
LOL! Yeah no, this didn’t happen.
Rafael Nadal does as well: NAY
Venus Williams also retires: NAY
The time will come, maybe as soon as 2019, but it hasn’t come yet.
Injuries spoil the 2018 season again: NAY
This seemed like a foregone conclusion but, like, other than Murray and Stan Wawrinka, who did we really miss out on seeing play in 2018? Hell, even Federer and Nadal were in fine form.
But not Juan Martin del Potro’s: YAY
For the first time in what feels like forever, Juan Martin del Potro managed to stay healthy for a full schedule, and what a sight it was to see the great and tall Argentine play (relatively) up to his standards of yesteryear.
But of course, because 2018 was the effin’ worst, he suffered an injury in October. And it does seem like his 2019 season could be ruined before it even starts.
Denis Shapovalov cracks the top 20: NAY
Not quite. The Denis Shapovalov hype train is still very much alive but at 19 years old, the Canadian was reminded in 2018 that it wouldn’t be all as easy as it seemed it would be when he took the tennis world by storm during the US Open series in 2017.
…And wins the 2018 Rogers Cup: NAY
A full year after making the semifinal in Montreal, Shapovalov was home in Toronto and lasted until the…third round. Meh.
Novak Djokovic is back, baby! YAY
Oh, the Serb is not just BACK. After winning only a handful of matches in the first half of the season, Novak Djokovic figured it all out and boat-raced everyone else on the ATP the rest of the year. He’s once again the most formidable force on tour, and he’ll stand as the favourite at every tournament he enters.
Victoria Azarenka is too! NAY
With a 17-12 record, about $800,000 in prize money, but 0 titles, we wouldn’t call Victoria Azarenka’s 2018 season a success. But considering all she has had to deal with, that she’s simply back to playing and competing is a success on its own.
Eugenie Bouchard falls out of the top 100: NAY
It’s been quite the precipitous fall for the young Canadian who seemed ready to overtake the world, let alone women’s tennis, and yet she’s managed to remain in the Top 100. Some how, some way.
Maria Sharapova gets back inside the top 30: YAY
At 31 years old, she’s currently ranked at No. 29. Far from her previous heights, but high enough to grab a win here.
We’re still #TeamKvitova: YAY
Here, we’ve been going with this prediction for two years ever since Petra Kvitova was the victim of a really scary attempt on her life. And at No. 7, Kvitova has managed to remain vital to the WTA. Good for her.
Nick Kyrgios figures it out for at least two weeks in the summer: NAY
The real aim of this prediction was that we were going on the record saying the Australian would win the 2018 Wimbledon title. He did not, instead losing in the third round. Oops.
Eight different players win the eight different Grand Slam titles: NAY
The WTA held its end of the bargain, but the usual suspects were overpowering on the men’s side.
Overall, that gives us eight good predictions out of the lot of 18 we’ve made, or a success rate of 44 per cent. If we’re looking back at how we did in 2014 (6 of 14), in 2015 (4 of 15) and in 2017 (7 of 17), that means we’re on a three-year progression and this 2018 season was our best year yet.
We’ll take it.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG