The tennis season is speeding up ahead of the busy summer schedule.
The world’s best players hit the European clay until the French Open at the end of May, with Wimbledon kicking off on 3 July.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the current tennis picture.
How is 2023 shaping up for UK players?
A mixed picture so far. Cameron Norrie takes top honors after an impressive start to the season, including winning her second major title in Rio, but faces a current dip. Emma Raducanu showed her best form of hers when she won the US Open in 2021 by reaching the fourth round at Indian Wells, while Andy Murray produced heroics at the Australian Open but remains inconsistent.
How is Raducanu’s fitness?
After a disrupted start to the season with an ankle injury and increased concerns over a wrist issue that prematurely ended his 2022 season, the last month or so has been more encouraging. Raducanu beat two top players in Indian Wells and will start his clay court season in Stuttgart this week. His schedule remains fairly light but the 20-year-old looks considerably stronger and the priority above all else must be to stay on the pitch.
And Jack Draper?
Britain’s other young rising star has also struggled with constant problems, the latest being an abdominal injury that ended his Indian Wells campaign following victories over compatriots Murray and Dan Evans. There’s no mistaking Draper’s potential, but his physical frailty is frustrating. Draw and fitness permitting, the powerful 21-year-old could do some serious damage at Wimbledon.
And the rest?
Not much to get excited about. Raducanu is the only British woman in the top 100, with Harriet Dart so far unable to build on her progress in 2022. Dart and Katie Boulter performed admirably in the weekend’s Billie Jean King Cup defeat to France but need to find the same level on a weekly basis week. Jodie Burrage is close to making the top 100 for the first time, while Liam Broady is again on an upward trend in the men’s game. At junior level there are some encouraging signs after a barren period, but depth strength remains the biggest challenge.
Will Andy Murray play at the French Open?
Probably. Murray has largely skipped clay since his hip problems started in 2017, but he had a full schedule scheduled this spring. A heavy defeat to Alex De Minaur in Monte Carlo last week has left the future 36-year-old questioning the wisdom of it, but otherwise he would have to sit out the competition until June and miss out on an opportunity to improve his standings and potentially secure a top seed. for Wimbledon. Peaking for SW19 is Murray’s main focus.
What does the big picture of tennis look like?
Novak Djokovic has returned to the top of the standings and remains decisively the man to beat despite a disrupted schedule and a possible elbow problem, while Rafael Nadal is struggling only to be fit from a tilt at his 15th Roland Garros singles title in due to hip injury suffered at the Australian Open. Young pretender Carlos Alcaraz has also struggled with fitness this season, and both Roland Garros and Wimbledon could offer big opportunities for what is a young top 10 player. Iga Swiatek remains at the top of the women’s game but has a huge points tally to defend on clay, and Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina have set the standard so far this season.