There are some questions that will be answered in the coming weeks as players from all over the globe prepare for the first tennis major of 2012, the Australian Open.
Two players on the women’s side that I will be paying special attention to are Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters.
One has only played a handful of tournaments over the past 12 months, the other is the defending champ of the Australian Open, but is playing her first event in over six months. Both have great chances to pick up another major title in Melbourne in a few weeks.
Who has the better shot at winning? It’s hard to say, but it sure would be a intriguing final. Let’s take a closer look at both players and see what they will need to do to win the 2012 Australian Open.
After missing the first half of 2011 with injuries, Serena came back strong during the American summer circuit. She posted wins in tournaments at Stanford and Toronto as well as reaching the finals at the U.S. Open. She is playing this week in Brisbane and easily won her first round match over Chanelle Scheepers. Serena’s fitness is sometimes called into question and well as her ability to stay healthy. When she is on her game, just about every player not named Clijsters or Stosur has a hard time keeping up with her. Serena will be looking to peak come the second week in Melbourne.
As Clijsters approaches 30 years of age, her game is still very young looking. She still relies on her legs to get in position to make shots and hit huge forehands. For all practical purposes, her 2011 ended right before Wimbledon with injury. She’s back and with a win earlier today over Ana Ivanovic, she is putting her name at the top of my list of favorites to win the Australian Open. She’s the defending champ and loves playing in Melbourne. Look for Clijsters to make a serious run at winning this major. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her win it in convincing fashion.
We actually may get a Serena Williams vs. Kim Clijsters match in the semis of the Brisbane International this week. That would be great, but it would be better to see these two face off in an Australian Open final. One thing for sure, the sport of tennis would be the winner.
Rick Limpert covers sports, technology and events in and around Atlanta. He will be following closely the 2012 Australian Open. Follow him on Twitter at @RickRoswell