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This week the ATP and WTA start their season – tennis – sport

Almost ten months after the corona pandemic led to the cancellation of the Indian Wells tournament and halted the tour, the virus is still ubiquitous. If it goes according to the plans of the ATP and the WTA, it will at least be played regularly from this week. With the start of the European clay court season in April – everyone hopes – normality will finally return to normal.

At the first three tournaments of the year none of the Swiss cracks are in action after Belinda Bencic preferred training in Dubai to the competition in Abu Dhabi before she dived into the “bubble”. The Swiss number 1 among women has only played one game on the tour since the interruption last spring and lost it in Rome – also due to muscular problems in the arm – without a sound. The fact that Bencic is still number 12 in the world is due to the adjustment of the ranking, as the results from March to the end of 2019 will still be evaluated.

Like Bencic, Stan Wawrinka (ATP 18) has planned his first appearance this year at the end of the month in Melbourne at one of the preparatory tournaments for the Australian Open (from February 8). The 35-year-old from Vaud looks back on a long autumn. After his victory at the Challenger in Prague at the restart in August, he never advanced beyond the quarter-finals. In September, the split from Magnus Norman, under whom Wawrinka won his three Grand Slam titles. His successor is Daniel Vallverdu, on whose help Wawrinka has been counting for a long time.

Jil Teichmann (WTA 57) also has her place in the main field at the Australian Open. The 23-year-old made her final in Lexington in August for one of the few bright spots in Switzerland on the tour since the restart, but from the US Open in New York the defeats began to pile up. Teichmann last trained in Barcelona before returning to Switzerland for Christmas.

The Swiss delegation at the Australian Open, which has shrunk after Roger Federer’s cancellation, could have a new member. From January 10th, the qualifications for the first Grand Slam tournament will be played in Dubai (women) and Doha (men). Half a dozen Swiss are registered with Stefanie Vögele, Viktorija Golubic, Leonie Küng, Conny Perrin, Henri Laaksonen and Marc-Andrea Hüsler. The future of Timea Bacsinszky (WTA 304) is uncertain, who is still planning a comeback but played her last game on the tour over a year ago.

The young guard from Swiss Tennis, led by Dominic Stricker, the junior winner at the French Open, faces a particular challenge. For him, Leandro Riedi and Jeffrey von der Schulenburg, who, like Jérôme Kym, who is a year younger, are among the best juniors in the world, it is now under difficult conditions to gain a foothold among the professionals and to establish themselves in the ranking. The Challenger Tour calendar published by the ATP includes eleven tournaments in Turkey, France, South Africa, Chile and Italy until the end of February.

Is Federer losing his most important records?

The majority of the top players are also taking their time with the start of the new season. Of the top ten in the ATP rankings, only Matteo Berrettini is at the start in Antalya. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, last year’s three major winners, will only intervene at the ATP Cup in Melbourne (from February 1), as will Daniil Medwedew, the winner of the ATP that was played in London for the last time. Finals.

There are also many sporting questions for 2021: Can Dominic Thiem confirm his first Grand Slam title? Are there any other new major winners? What happens to Andy Murray and Roger Federer? When and how strong is the Basel bidder coming back? And above all: Can Rafael Nadal replace Federer as the most successful player in history in Melbourne or at the latest in Paris with the 21st Grand Slam title? It would be the second record that Federer could lose. In terms of the number of weeks at the top of the world rankings, Novak Djokovic is hot on his heels (310: 302).

The next generation has already taken over the reins of women. 2020 brought with Sofia Kenin (22) from the USA and the Polish Iga Swiatek (19) two more new Grand Slam winners. The US Open winner Naomi Osaka (23) is considered by many to be the best, even if Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep are still ahead of the Japanese in the ranking.

Serena Williams, on the other hand, is running out of time. The American is still missing a major triumph to equalize Margaret Court’s record (24 titles). Williams celebrates her 40th birthday in September, seven weeks after Federer.

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