Previewing the 2020 Tennis Season Restart

Previewing the 2020 Tennis Season Restart

With the resumption of the professional women's tour, tennis is officially back in swing after nearly a five-month layoff. While there are no crowds at events due to COVID-19 concerns, some familiar faces, such as Simona Halep, already have titles during the 2020 resumption (her second of the year).

Unlike the women's game, the ATP Tour has yet to resume play. However, the tour recently released the schedule for the rest of 2020. Highlights, outside of the US Open, include Roland Garros from late September to early October and the Nitto ATP Finals in mid-November. The WTA Tour's schedule after Roland Garros is still up in the air a bit, but here's what to look for in women's tennis for the rest of the season.

In case you forgot, here's a bit about what happened earlier during the 2020 season, and what you can expect going forward:

Wide open fields 

Some notable names in both the men's and women's games, including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Bianca Andreescu and Ashleigh Barty have pulled out of the US Open. Chances are, more players will withdraw. Those who do play and wouldn't otherwise be able to knock out top-tier opponents will have a chance to go deep and capture big titles in the 2020 restart. 

Without a dominant presence at the top, the women's game was already fairly wide open. A plethora of contenders go into each major with a realistic shot at the title. Now, at least half of the top 10 (Barty, Andreescu, Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens, Belinda Bencic) will not play at the US Open. Players like Sofia Kenin, who broke through to win the Australian Open earlier this season, Naomi Osaka, the 2018 US Open winner, Halep (if she plays) and ever-present Serena Williams, will be among the odds-on favorites. The men's game, however, is another story.

The Djokovic show

Novak Djokovic has yet to lose a match in 2020, at 18-0. The No. 1-ranked men's player, who dealt with COVID-19 earlier this year, will move within one major of Nadal if he is able to capture his fourth US Open title. Djokovic will be a strong favorite in each tournament he enters, especially with the absence of his main rivals. The 33-year-old Serbian grabbed the year's first major at the Australian Open, won Dubai and led Team Serbia to an ATP Cup crown before the season was suspended.

Red hot Rybakina

One of the players who could take advantage of open women's draws is No. 17-ranked Elena Rybakina. Keep an eye out for 21-year-old, who started 2020 scorching hot to the tune of reaching four finals in just a couple months. She went just 1-3 in those finals, but she already has wins over these top 20 foes in 2020: Elise Mertens, Kenin, Karolina Pliskova and Petra Martic. Those are all impressive wins, and she also lost a three-set thriller to Halep in the Dubai final.

Who else could break through?

On the men's side, top contenders include last year's US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem, who pushed Djokovic to five sets in the Australian Open final to begin 2020. 

Some other names to watch include No. 6-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 7-ranked Alexander Zverev, who have both struggled to defeat the Big 3 consistently at the major level. 

Three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka, rising young gun Alex de Minaur, and last year's US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini are also among players who should benefit with the absence of Nadal and Federer.

No. 3-ranked Karolina Pliskova has yet to win a major, and with the absence of so many of the top women's players, she'll be a serious threat to break through. Her lone Grand Slam final came in 2016 at the US Open. 

Another one to watch is Garbine Muguruza, who got off to an excellent start to 2020 when she reached the Australian Open final, defeating the likes of Svitolina, Bertens and Halep along the way. The two-time major winner will be one of the most proven players in the women's game with the absence of many others.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Zak Patterson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: zakpat, DraftKings: zakpat.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zak Patterson
Zak joined RotoWire in 2016 covering NBA games. Now, he focuses on recapping and analyzing daily ATP and WTA tennis matches, and providing perspective on the state of the men's and women's game.
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