Major Storylines from Miami 2014
How Long Will the Net Controversy Last?
It really shouldn't be a big deal, but in the deep corners of the internet, there will people arguing that Djokovic's title was tainted by the net incident against Andy Murray. That point didn't matter except that it got into Murray's head, but that's not Djokovic's fault. In any case, the Raonic-Potro controversy lasted for a few weeks, but the Djokovic net incident from Roland Garros has never gone away. I doubt this one will stick around, and it shouldn't, but it will be interesting to see.
The updated rankings displayed a really different top ten. Roger Federer was back in the top four, while Andy Murray fell to number eight. Tomas Berdych jumped back to number five, while David Ferrer and Juan Martin Del Potro slipped to six and seven respectively. John Isner is up to a career high number nine. And Richard Gasquet is out, replaced by Milos Raonic who returns to the top ten.
Is Stan Really the Man?
For the second straight event, Stanislas Wawrinka came nowhere close to playing up to his ranking. Since winning the Australian Open back in January, Wawrinka has yet to make a quarter-final, despite his number three ranking. Though his losses have come against seeded opponents, we're talking about a player who beat Djokovic and Nadal in a grand slam. Wawrinka's place among the elite is looking more and more precarious.
This week is the Davis Cup Semi-Finals. The next big event is the Masters 1000 event in Monte Carlo, which kicks off on April 13th. The European clay season is next, which includes 3 Masters 1000 events and culminates in the French Open.
Battle for Number One
Novak Djokovic has closed the gap to under 2000 points behind Rafael Nadal for the number one ranking. And he has lots of ground to make up during the clay court season. Nadal has 5100 points to defend (including Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros), while Djokovic only has 1910 (Monte Carlo and semi-finals at Roland Garros). We know that Nadal will be the man to beat and Djokovic won't be given anything easily, but especially considering his current form and the momentum he brings into the clay season, he has a great opportunity to reclaim the number one ranking. And it's not just about the rankings. Nadal has now lost six consecutive sets to Djokovic. He'll want to re-assert himself in the rivalry before things turn into another 2011 situation.
Who Will Find their Clay Feet?
It's safe to assume that Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be dominant during the clay season, but who else will bring their A-game? Will David Ferrer bounce back from a disappointing start to the year? Can Stanislas Wawrinka, who was the runner-up in Madrid last year, re-find his Australian Open form? Will Roger Federer continue his high-level of play on his worst surface? Can Milos Raonic and John Isner, who have 200 ranking points between them to defend between now and June (100 each), make gains in the top ten? And will Andy Murray shock the world and return to top form on his worst surface? In reality, will anyone be able to break the Nadal-Djokovic dominance?