It’s time to throw ourselves into the prediction game for the upcoming season. Ladies first. Here are six bold predictions for the WTA in 2016.
On the heels of an historic season that saw her come this close to completing a calendar slam and deservedly be named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated, Serena will show she’s human in 2016. She’ll win a Major, but not more than one. It’s hard to believe that the World No. 1 will turn 35 next year which means that you might see her cut her schedule a bit in order to peak at the right times, including for the Rio Olympics. I am not saying Serena can’t win multiple slams in 2016, I just don’t think she will. She’s still the queen though, make no mistake about that.
The Romanian is the prime candidate to break her Grand Slam goose egg in 2016. Halep has been on the cusp of a breakthrough for the past two seasons and the addition of coach Darren Cahill to her team could be the ingredient she was missing. It’s going to be fun watching those two work together.
Injuries will finally cut Victoria Azarenka some slack in 2016 and let her climb back to the top of the game where she belongs. The 26-year-old showed this season that she is one of few players who can compete with Serena on a consistent basis. The WTA is a better, more compelling commodity when Azarenka’s star is shining its brightest.
Names like Garbine Muguruza and Rogers Cup champion Belinda Bencic gave fans high hopes for both the present and the future in 2015. The WTA’s next gen will continue to push its way into the upper echelon of the game. Expect big things this season from Muguruza, Bencic, Karolina Pliskova, Madison Keys, and Elina Svitolina. The Top 10 could look quite a bit different at this time next year.
It’s the worst part of an Olympic year. The end of another four year cycle usually means that retirement looms for several tennis veterans. Who might hang up their racquet when 2016 draws to a close? Venus? Vinci? Stosur? Kuznetsova? Or, maybe someone we least expect. I’ll admit, this is the one prediction I hope doesn’t come true.
It’s the question on many a minds heading into the new season. What can we expect from Genie after a serious sophomore slump that ended with a concussion? It’s going to take a while, but I think our Canadian will do more winning and less losing in 2016. I won’t put any numbers on it, but I am going to predict that Genie will make a big run at her home tournament, the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Montreal in July.