Men’s 2017 Preview
Novak Djokovic’s poor form towards the end of 2016 opened the door for Andy Murray to overtake him in the rankings, but there is no reason to think his decline will be permanent and the same two players can be expected to dominate again over the next 12 months. For Murray fans, the longest price on a Grand Slam title is the French Open, and he has made winning at Roland Garros one of his top priorities after showing considerable improvement on clay over the past two seasons.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will hopefully enjoy injury-free campaigns and re-establish themselves in the upper echelons, but they appear unlikely to challenge for Grand Slam honours outside of the French Open (Nadal) and Wimbledon (Federer). Stan Wawrinka will be as dangerous as ever on all surfaces if he can get on a roll, while Juan Martin del Potro is an intriguing 11/2 to win a Grand Slam title after making one of the greatest comebacks since Lazarus in 2016.
Among the younger brigade, Dominic Thiem faded during the second half of the 2016 season after a punishing early schedule, but could challenge for a first major title if he comes back with renewed vigour. Nick Kyrgios has the powerful game to beat anyone, particularly at Wimbledon, but needs to show much more maturity. Alexander Zverev, the 19-year-old German tipped as a future world No.1, is already starting to make a name for himself, but Russian 20-year-old Karen Khachanov could be the next youngster to make a big breakthrough and is a 10/1 shot to finish the season in the top 20.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Andy Murray to win the 2017 French Open - 4/1
Serena Williams may have lost top spot to Angelique Kerber in 2016 and be the wrong side of 35, but the bookies still reckon she will be the woman to beat over the next 12 months and she will surely claim at least one Grand Slam title to move clear of Steffi Graf’s open-era record of 22.
The only consistent feature about Garbine Muguruza’s play in 2016 was her inconsistency, but she was tipped as a multiple Grand Slam champion after beating Serena Williams at the French Open and can be backed at 5/1 to take the title at Roland Garros once again. Maria Sharapova will return from a drugs ban at the end of April and has always had such fierce competitive instincts that she could be ready to compete for big titles again by the time Wimbledon comes around.
Youngsters to watch out for in 2017 could be Daria Kasatkina of Russia and fellow teenager Naomi Osaka, of Japan, who both made strides up the rankings in 2016 and have the ball-striking qualities to go deep at some of the major events. Sky Bet has a market on which players might finish the year in the world's top eight, and Kasatkina's determined aura makes her price of 9/2 particularly tempting.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Daria Kasatkina to finish 2017 in the top eight - 4/1
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.