And so the Earth begins its tedious journey around the Sun again. Time for us to either stick to the resolutions we made or be proud we didn’t make one in the first place. Either way, it is time to get rid of the old calendar and to usher in a new year for the game of tennis.
If you are a Novak Djokovic fan and went into a coma for 6 months post-Roland Garros 2016 – All is lost. Andy Murray is world number one. No, that was not a typo, and ask my friends, I don’t like to joke around.
For almost two years, Djokovic was seeded first in whichever and whatever tournament he decided to bring his lethal alchemy of grit and determination to.
I was looking at the draw for the Qatar Open. It was an odd feeling. For someone who is so used to seeing the Djokovic name right at the top on any draw, having to scroll down all the way to the bottom of the page to see what his quarter of the draw looked like.
But this is what Djokovic’s fans must live with. For the time being anyway.
They must also resign to the fact that he has a lot of ranking points in the first few months of the calendar year that would need defending if he has any chance of overthrowing Murray from his perch.
Two thousand points at Melbourne and then a thousand each at Indian Wells, Miami and Madrid, with another two thousand at Roland Garros is going to take some defending.
Early exits in Indian Wells and Miami for Murray last year means it is advantage for the Brit in those two tournaments. He must also ensure he gets deep runs at Melbourne, Madrid, Rome and Paris to ensure he doesn’t lose too many points on the way.
You might call the style of Djokovic boring attritional play, I call it hours and hours of sweating on a practice court to master defensive skills.
You might call him robotically predictable, I call him a highly efficient well-oiled machine. And if you call this a weak era, I am calling my lawyer to get me out on charges of murder of the first degree.
Last year at the French Open, the Serb who had stood at the cusp of greatness with a commendable quantum of patience, finally was given admission into the pantheon of the elite. This career slam coincided with him holding all four slams at one time, a territory even the mighty Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal could never conquer.
With a positive head to head versus Federer, Nadal and Murray, he looks all set to strike 2017 with remarkable force.
Having graduated magna cum laude from Magic 8 ball school, I predict another outstanding year for the Serb, a time when he pulls away from the competition just when the competition was thinking it was getting close.
The second half of the year is when he regains the top ranking. You can bring all the young turks. You can summon all the seasoned veterans. Hell, you can bring the might of any player that might have recently knelt before a Queen, you just cannot stop the brutal assault of Novak Djokovic in 2017.