With the Australian Open, tennis' first Grand Slam in 2013, taking place from Jan. 14 to 27th, in Melbourne's Melbourne Park, the top female seeds will be: 1) Victoria Azarenka, 2) Maria Sharapova, 3) Serena Williams, 4) Agnieszka Radwanska, and 5) Angelique Kerber, matching the WTA world rankings. Although, seeding based on ranking is all the Slams' policy except Wimbledon, Serena should be the top seed as she is almost a lock to win her sixth Australian Open Women's Singles Title.
Serena captured her 47th career title this past week when she defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-1 in 50 minutes at the Brisbane International, a warm-up to the Open. Serena has won 35 of her past 36 matches, including titles at Wimbledon, the Olympics, the U.S. Open, and the season-ending WTA Tour Championships.
Continuing to be healthy, injury-free, and calm, there is no reason that she will not be holding up the winner's trophy in a fortnight. Serena might even be able to re-create her Serena-slam of 2002, where she held all four Grand Slam Titles at one time.
The men's seeds of the Australian Open, Jan. 14 to 27th, in Melbourne's Melbourne Park coincide with the ATP rankings: 1) Novak Djokovic (two time defending Australian Open champ), 2) Roger Federer with 4 Aussie Titles, and 3) Andy Murray. Murray the # 3 seed will meet Federer in the semifinals. Realistically if all things including the seeds hold true, the aforementioned three men should be vying for the men's singles title.
Rafael Nadal, World # 4, and Mardy Fish, World #26, have withdrawn from the men’s side of the tournament. The absence of Nadal from the tournament (who has not played since Wimbledon last year) has left the men’s draws lopsided. Nadal's replacement # 4 David Ferrer is pretty much only a threat to the seeds above him if the surface is clay, however, the #5 seed Tomas Berdych likes to play on hard courts.
Murray having won his last best-of-five match against Djokovic (in the U.S. Open final) and Federer (in the Olympic final), retained his Brisbane Open title this past week downing Grigor Dimitrov 7-6, (7-0) 6-4, for his 25th title. He is looking to win the Open for the first time after finishing runner-up in 2010 and 2011.
As a coach of professional and collegiate players, picking an award for a player is based on many things: individual and team performance; where both started before the player came; what the player brings other than performance, such as team spirit, attitude, leadership; did the player make your life and the team's life and record better; and the path given and taken by said player.
All three rookies: Andrew Luck (Rating: 76.5, regular season) of the Indianapolis Colts (11-5), Robert Griffin III (Rating: 102.4, regular season) of the Washington Redskins (10-6), and Russell Wilson (Rating: 100.0, regular season) of the Seattle Seahawks (11-5), had phenomenal first years and pulled teams with losing 2011 records to an elite status in 2012. It was clear that the NFL's top two draftees, Luck then Griffin, earmarked them as franchise players in the NFL, but Wilson entered and played without any guarantees, and should be the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year (ROY).
In 2012 sadly we are still marking firsts for people of color in all endeavors, even in sports. As a person of color, each advancement made is a cause of celebration. While some historic milestones in the world of sports this past year were done by well-known athletes, some were not.
Katrina Adams in Sept. became the first African-American elected to the position of 1st Vice President of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), the governing body of tennis in the America. If tradition holds true after her upcoming two year term from 2013-2015, she should become its first Black President and Chairman of the Board.
Also in tennis, Serena Williams, career holder of all four Grand Slam titles in singles and doubles, became the first to win Olympic Gold in Singles and Doubles this year. She finished as the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Player of the Year, only ranked #3 behind two players that she beat more than once.
As the LPGA Tour finished its season with the CME Group Titleholder Tournament this week-nd at the Twins Eagles Club in Naples, FL with 27 other top Americans making the cut for the final rounds, it seems that American Golf has surpassed American Tennis in numbers among the professional ranks. Each tour except the ATP for men's tennis has an American in the top three of world rankings. Golf not only has top players but several players in the top 100 unlike tennis.
Top American Stacy Lewis, at 27 is the LPGA's #2 ranked player and "Player of the Year," and finished the tournament tied for 29th followed by seven other American women ranked in the top fifty in the world. Although, Na Yeon Choi took the title with second going to So Yeon Ryu, also "Rookie of the Year," Brittany Lincicome another American finished third.
There are sixteen female golfers in the top 100 of the world rankings. On the men's side the PGA Tour is led by Tiger Woods at #2 followed by twenty more players in the top fifty, and eleven more in the top 100.