Patrick Mouratoglou

What will 2012 hold for the big guns?

Patrick Mouratoglou

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Roger Federer celebrates winning the ATP Tour Finals 2011

Right before the start of the 2012 season, I will take a look at what we learnt about the men during the past year.

Which players dominated the season, who were the rising stars, who struggled, and was there a changing of the guard?

Starting from my next posting, I will focus on a player who could play a major part in the season to come: I will analyse his 2011 season, suggest some areas for improvement and set achievable goals for a campaign which starts in a couple of days.

So this is a preview, a taster for what I will discuss in the coming days.

Undoubtedly 2011 was Novak Djokovic's season.

Boosted by his Davis Cup triumph, he went from being the eternal underdog to the undeniable number one.

He crushed everyone in his way. How can we explain it? Will he be able to repeat it in 2012? And, above all, what are the required conditions for him to remain the King ?

Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, struggled despite winning the French Open.

His losses against the Serb cost him a lot mentally and the consequences were seen throughout his game.

At the end of the season he admitted that he lacked passion for the game.

Given how passion is so essential for his game, it is time to get worried. Will he find a solution to resolve the Djokovic issue? Will he find the technical and tactical answers to beat Nole?

Roger Federer pleased us at the end of the season by being able to win again.

Since the US Open, the Swiss was displaying more attractive tennis after one-and-a-half years where he was unable to bring back his best game.

But will it be enough for him to win a Grand Slam again in 2012? Will he find the key to win against Nadal? What is he still lacking to fully recover his A-game?

We've been waiting for Andy Murray to win a Slam for two years now.

He's been in three Grand Slam finals but still no Major title; he reached the semis in all the Slams too.

He has lots of ups but also lots of downs in the same season, season after season, which make this player a tough one to understand.

His amazing talent is frustrating many people who can only imagine what he could achieve.

Will 2012 be his year? What does he really lack in order to reach the next step, the biggest step? Can he do it? Does he lack motivation?

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga seems to be the potential fifth man, the only one who could sow seeds of doubt in the dominant Big Four.

The back end of his season showed him to possess the weapons to hurt the best players, but Jo comes up short when trying to make the semis of Grand Slams.

He chose to fly solo, without a coach, for now, so will he be able to move to the next chapter? What does he lack in order to become a real contender for a victory in a Grand Slam ?

Those are the questions I will try to answer when I post here about each of these players, as the countdown to the Australian Open begins.

See you all very soon - and have a great New Year.

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