Outside of the PGA Tour, it feels like professional tennis has the shortest off-season of any sport. It was not even two months ago that we crowned the year-end champions on both tours.
However, the machine rolls on and action is already underway for the 2024 season. There were several finals played this weekend, for instance.
In this piece, I am going to take a look at some of the biggest storylines you should be following all year long. Let's get into it.
Will this be the year that Novak Djokovic's body finally breaks down?
Novak will turn 37 this coming May and he is still unquestioned at the top of the men's game. Now, his 2024 year did not begin the best as wrist discomfort coupled with a defeat to Alex De Minaur at the United Cup meant his stay Down Under got off to a rocky start.
However, there have been few players with the physical dominance that Djokovic has been displaying for years and it has been crucial in his ascent to near GOAT status. Could these be early warning signs of more trouble to come or just a blip on the radar?
Can Coco Gauff keep elevating and reach the summit of the game?
Coco Gauff had one of the best summers on both tours in recent memory. Her magical run ended with a US Open triumph. Gauff had finally arrived.
She only played in two events following that Grand Slam breakthrough, reaching the semifinals on both occasions. However, she is still so young that the ceiling of her game might still be a few years away. It would not be surprising to see her reel in 5, 6 maybe even 7 titles this season given she stays healthy.
Will Jannik Sinner challenge for World No. 1?
The Italian superstar was perhaps the best player in the world down the stretch of last season. While his ranking didn't show it, we all could see it.
He reached a new level in his game and his confidence was growing with every marquee win. Now, the step this year must be to secure his first Grand Slam crown. It is his surest way to rocket to the top of the rankings. He has the game to do it.
Will we see a first time Grand Slam winner on either tour?
This is one of the questions we all ask ourselves every season. With the Australian Open taking place almost right out of the gates, we get a good in-depth look right away.
The names of players chasing an elusive Grand Slam title are quite impressive. Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Ons Jabeur, Elina Svitolina, Casper Ruud, Jessica Pegula, Taylor Fritz and more. Those are all players that can win a tournament any given week and they could do it on the biggest stage if things fall their way.
Which players outside the ATP and WTA Top 10 will make the jump to the elite?
On the men's side, Ben Shelton might be an obvious answer here. He currently sits at No. 17 so it is very much within reach for the electrifying American. Tallon Griekspoor and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina are both firmly in the Top 30 and have shown flashes against the world's best.
Qinwen Zheng is 14th in the WTA rankings and at 21, she is still on the upward swing of her career. She showed some brilliant tennis in the fall last year and it would not be a shock to see her making waves this season.
There are of course countless more questions we will see answered and inevitably new ones will arise throughout the long grind that is the professional tennis calendar. For now, let's rejoice the world's best game is back and see where the chips fall.