Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka on the comeback trail.
If you thought women’s tennis couldn’t get any better these last two months, think again. We have two former number ones, with a burning desire to get back on the court, coming back.
Serena is making her official debut on February 10th against the Netherlands in Fed Cup, while Vicka was given a wild card for Indian Wells, which begins on March 5th. I expect both players to make some noise, given their talent and their unrelenting work ethic. The interesting thing will be how these two players will fit into a new world order of top women’s players that has slowly established itself in the last year. For example, how will they deal with a new look Simona Halep, who has worked very hard on her mental toughness in the last year – paying off handsomely with a year-end #1 ranking for 2017.
Caroline Wozniacki is another threat to Vicka and Serena. She not only won the year end championships, but finally won her first Grand Slam and regained the number 1 ranking. In addition to Caroline and Simona, Angelique Kerber seems to be playing very well and should continue to be a factor at the grand slams this year.
So, what can we expect from Serena and Vicka?
We may want to look at Kim Clijsters in an attempt to benchmark what we may see from Serena and Vicka. Kim came back after taking some time to have a baby and won two US Opens and one Australian before finally retiring. Will Kim’s comeback foreshadow what we may see from Serena? I have to believe that it just might. Serena will be 100% committed to tennis for the next couple of years. She’s also hungry to win more, and go out as the unquestioned best tennis player ever.
Also, let’s not forget that even though Serena is 36 years old, time is actually on her side. What I mean by that is that Serena has always been very choosy with her schedule, and has taken short breaks here and there during her career. This means her body has not taken the beating a lot of her contemporaries have experienced. Also, nowadays with advancement in nutrition and fitness, a player can arguably be very competitive into their late thirties – and who knows maybe even their early forties!
Now let’s look at Vicka, who is also coming back after a long hiatus due to giving birth and being in a custody battle with the father of her child. She’s eight years Serena’s junior and as tough a competitor as they come. She holds two Australian Open’s and has been a twice finalist at the US Open, both times falling to Serena in three competitive sets. She will be looking to make up some time and add to her silverware. Some exciting tennis to come!