As the stars of the ATP tour and WTA are in the midst of their off-seasons, and with the busy holiday season already upon us, it’s easy to forget that the new tennis season is just a few weeks away—the first tournaments of the 2019 season actually begin in the last few days of 2018.
So where are all the biggest names in the game kicking off their 2019 campaigns?
The ATP tour has three tournaments scheduled in the first week of the new season, and they’re all 250-level tournaments: the Brisbane International (held in Brisbane, Australia), the Qatar ExxonMobil Open (held in Doha, Qatar) and the Tata Open Maharashtra (held in Pune, India).
The world No. 1, Novak Djokovic, is scheduled to play in Doha, a tournament he’s done very well at in the past—he’s won it the last two times he’s played it in 2016 and 2017. The Serb will be joined in the field by another Top 10 player, No. 8 Dominic Thiem, as well as one of the hottest players on the tour in the second half of 2018, Rolex Paris Masters champion and world No. 11 Karen Khachanov.
Rafael Nadal, the world No. 2, is scheduled to play in Brisbane—which would be his first tournament since retiring in the US Open semifinals with a knee injury (and subsequently missing the entire fall season due to knee and abdominal injuries). The Spaniard won’t be the only Top 10 player in the field—No. 9 Kei Nishikori is also entered—as well as a former No. 1 on the comeback trail, Andy Murray.
Another pair of Top 10 players—Kevin Anderson and Marin Cilic—will be headed to Pune, India. Cilic is a two-time champion at the event, winning it when it was held in Chennai in 2009 and 2010.
The top women’s players in the world will also be out in full force in the first week of the new season, with three WTA events scheduled: the Brisbane International (a joint ATP-WTA event in Brisbane, Australia), the ASB Classic (in Auckland, New Zealand) and Shenzhen Open (in Shenzhen, China).
Seven Top 10 women will be in Brisbane: No. 4 Elina Svitolina, No. 5 Naomi Osaka, No. 6 Sloane Stephens, No. 7 Petra Kvitova, No. 8 Karolina Pliskova, No. 9 Kiki Bertens and No. 10 Daria Kasatkina.
Another Top 10 player, No. 3 Caroline Wozniacki, will be in Auckland, where she’ll be joined in the field by former No. 1s and multiple Grand Slam champions Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka.
And a slew of Top 20 players—including Aryna Sabalenka, Caroline Garcia and Wang Qiang—will be joined by Grand Slam champions Maria Sharapova and Jelena Ostapenko at the Shenzhen Open.
If your favorite player isn’t playing an ATP or WTA event in Week 1, don’t worry—some of the biggest names in the sport are taking the exhibition court at Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia. Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are among the big men’s names competing, and Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber, Garbine Muguruza and Ashleigh Barty are among the women there.
Needless to say, there will be no shortage of star power when the new season begins in a few weeks!
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