NEW YORK - The new year is made for resolutions and predictions. So here's what will happen in the world of tennis in 2017 in a season that will feature a comeback for veteran stars Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal.
Federer to make a slam final. At Wimbledon, where he has won a record-equaling seven titles. Federer has some work to do to return to the top five, given his inactivity since deciding to end his season in July.
Motivation remains sky high for Federer, the 35 year old plans on playing a couple more seasons and even when injured he came close to reaching the final at Wimbledon. He returned to action Monday at the Hopman Cup in Perth and quickly dismissed Britain's Dan Evans.
If Federer, the men's leader with 17 majors, makes the final and plays defending champion Andy Murray, his chances would appear to be good. Federer has won five straight matches against Scotland's two-time Olympic gold medalist and new world number one.
But no new men's winners now. Grigor Dimitrov. Kei Nishikori. Milos Raonic. By now, some would have expected at least one of the trio to have won a grand slam
The 'Big Four': Federer, Nadal, Murray and Novak Djokovic, however, continue to reign supreme, with Stan Wawrinka adding to a superlative quintet. Advances in recovery, nutrition and training mean those five players are able to sustain their high levels for longer periods.
Since the beginning of 2010, 28 majors ago, only six players aside from the quintet have appeared in a grand slam final, including Raonic at Wimbledon this year and Nishikori at the US Open in 2014.