Where are the top stars playing in the first week of the 2016 tennis season?
A fresh, new season always brings new hopes and loads of excitement for the fans. With the Australian Open scheduled just two weeks after the start of the season, almost all the top stars get busy in action right from the first week. The week starting from January 4, 2016 is packed with seven tournaments and will see a bevy of stars vying for the titles.
Which top stars are playing where? Let us have an in-depth look:
Two Big 4 members are kicking off their 2016 season at Doha – top seed Novak Djokovic and second seed Rafael Nadal. While the Serb will be eager to erase the memories of his 2015 loss to Ivo Karlovic, former champion Nadal will look to carry on the momentum after his win at the Mubadala exhibition on Saturday. Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer will be their biggest competitors.
Other big names in the draw: Dustin Brown, Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez, Jeremy Chardy, Andreas Seppi
Defending champion: David Ferrer
Roger Federer will be keen to start his season on a confident note as he comes back to Brisbane, where he won the first of his six titles of 2015. The draw is teeming with talented youngsters who can give him a run for his money. Kei Nishikori is the second seed at this tournament which also has Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and Marin Cilic.
Other big names in the draw: Viktor Troicki, Gilles Simon, Dominic Thiem, David Goffin, Bernard Tomic, Radek Stepanek
Defending champion: Roger Federer
Chennai’s adopted son, Stan Wawrinka will launch his bid for a fourth singles title at this south Indian city. World No. 12 Kevin Anderson – the second seed – will be hoping his booming serves do most of the talking. The draw also has the likes of Benoit Paire and Borna Coric.
Other big names in the draw: Andrey Rublev, Nicolas Almagro, Lukas Rosol, Gilles Muller, Roberto Bautista Agut, Vasek Pospisil, Aljaz Bedene
Defending champion: Stan Wawrinka
Indian interest in the singles main draw: Somdev Devvarman, Ramkumar Ramanathan
It has the most packed field out of the three WTA tournaments this week. Simona Halep heads the draw which also sees the return of defending champion Maria Sharapova. Both will have to contend with the likes of Wimbledon runner-up and second seed Garbine Muguruza and two-time Major winner Victoria Azarenka.
Other big names in the draw: Ekaterina Makarova, Jelena Janakovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Roberta Vinci, Andrea Petkovic, Belinda Bencic, Samantha Stosur, Angelique Kerber, Carla Suarez Navarro
Defending champion: Maria Sharapova
WTA Finals champion Agnieszka Radwanska is the top seed while two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova is seeded second. The final of this tournament can very well see a repeat of the WTA Finals final the two played just a few weeks back if the seeds hold up. Eugenie Bouchard, who saw the end of her 2015 season getting marred by a concussion, will be hoping for a more positive start to the 2016 season at Shenzen.
Other big names in the draw: Yaroslava Shvedova, Donna Vekic, Alison Riske, Annika Beck, Johanna Konta
Defending champion: Simona Halep
The ever-inspiring Venus Williams, who is back in the top 10 after an impressive 2015, returns to defend her title here. Ranked No. 7, Venus is the top seed at Auckland. She will have competition from former winner, Ana Ivanovic, the tournament’s second seed. Caroline Wozniacki, last year’s runner-up, will be hoping to go one better this time.
Other big names in the draw: Svetlana Kuznetsova, Daria Kasatkina, Mona Barthel, Francesca Schiavone, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Sloane Stephens, Yulia Putintseva, Jelena Ostapenko
Defending champion: Venus Williams
The biggest mixed team event – not an ATP/WTA event – continues to draw some of the biggest names in the business every year. In 2016, Serena Williams and Andy Murray are gracing this Perth tournament.
While Murray is partnering Heather Watson to represent Team Great Britain, the American team is spearheaded by Serena with Jack Sock in tow.
The 2016 teams:
Group A: Australia Gold – Lleyton Hewitt/Jarmila Wolfe, Czech Republic – Karolina Pliskova/Jiri Vesely, Ukraine – Elina Svitolina/Alexandr Dolgopolov, USA – Serena Williams/ Jack Sock
Group B: Australia Green – Daria Gavrilova/Nick Kyrgios, France – Caroline Garcia/Kenny De Schepper, Germany – Sabine Lisicki/Alexander Zverev, Great Britain – Heather Watson/Andy Murray
Defending champions: Poland (Jerzy Janowicz and Agnieszka Radwanska)