The Hopman Cup gets going in the New Year, Christmas is over and the Tennis begins for Heather Watson and Andy Murray who will be representing Team GB down under. Andy and Heather will be playing against three other teams in Group B, those teams are Australia, Poland and reigning champions France but how will they get on?
Nick Kyrgios made his name on the tour with that epic win over Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon and since then has been on a high. Nick finished 2014 ranked 52 in the world which is very good and I see no reason why he can’t go higher in the rankings next year. I do think though he can get annoyed a little bit in a match if things aren’t going his way. Murray and Kyrgios met on the tour last year in Toronto with Murray winning the match quite easily 6-2 6-2 and you could see a bit of frustration in Kyrgios’ game. I do think Murray will beat Kyrgios but it may be difficult in front of a home crowd.
I’ve never really seen Dellacqua challenge on the singles tour in the past, she finished the year ranked 29th in the world which is her highest year end ranking but she’s always been a player who is more of a threat in the doubles which is handy in the Hopman Cup as you play a mixed doubles match. I do think Heather has the game to beat Casey, it will be difficult but we saw Heather play well against a number of top 30 players last year and hopefully she will continue to improve.
Despite Murray and Paire being on the tour for about 7 or 8 years they have never met each other before. I have to be honest I haven’t watched too much of Benoit Paire. He was drafted in at the last minute as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who won it with Alize Cornet last year pulled out. I was surprised they didn’t go with a more recognisable name like Gasquet, Simon or Gael Monfils. Just 16 months ago Paire was ranked as high as 24 in the world which is a career high but finished 2014 ranked 118th in the world. Paire does have some good experience on the tour but I’d expect Murray to be too good for him.
2014 was probably her best year on the tour, it will probably be remembered for her magnificent win over Serena Williams at Wimbledon but I felt it was the year when we saw her cement her place in the top 25 and it will be interesting to see if she can maintain this excellent form going into 2015. It will be an interesting match between Heather and Alize, both players can grind out matches and always get’s the best out of their opponents. You rarely get a match which was easy against these two and their encounter in the Hopman Cup will be interesting to see. Both players like to play from the baseline and control the match and I suppose it will be decided on who can remaining consistent and in control for the entire match.
All the early hype around Jerzy Janowicz has really died down now. He finished the year ranked 43 and celebrated his 24th birthday last month. Obviously being 6’8” tall then his main threat is his serve however just having a powerful serve isn’t going to win matches and titles. I want to see him add a bit more to his game and improve as a player. 2015 will be a big year for him he does have the ability of turning on the style but there’s no consistency and if plan A doesn’t worked then that’s that. You know Janowicz will hit big serves and get aces but it’s about how you return them as well, especially on second serves. Janowicz played 50 matches last year and had a 24/26 win/loss record and for a player of his ability and ranking that is appalling.
Aga was the surprise package at the WTA Finals for me, I have to be honest I wasn’t expecting much from her but her performances in round robin were very good. I’ve always liked Aga, she is the magician on court but I’ve felt she’s like power and a great serve to challenge for the majors however she has added Martina Navratilova to her team and everyone will be looking out for improvements to Aga’s game. It will be a tough match for Heather even when Aga is on the back foot she has the ability to turn defence into attack and turn the tables on her opponent. The only worry for Aga is that she can’t let Heather settle into some type of rhythm as sometimes because of the power Heather produces it can be tough to trouble her but as we know Aga is capable of producing great moments.