Questions aplenty at 2012 Australian Open

As we head into the first Grand Slam of the 2012 tennis season, there are plenty of questions to be answered in the last two weeks of January at Melbourne Park.

Can Novak Djokovic continue his dominance?

From early 2004 to mid-2011 the only men to be atop the ATP rankings were Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Not only did Djokovic rise to the top spot, he did it in emphatic fashion.

Starting the year 41-0, Djokovic won three of the four Grand Slams and finished the year 70-6. The Serb led the ATP by winning 39 percent of return games. However, Djokovic showed he was human by losing four of his last 10 matches.

Rafael Nadal
Career W-L vs Novak Djokovic

Can Nadal get past Djokovic?

After winning the last three Grand Slams in 2010, Nadal was poised to quickly close the gap on Federer for most Grand Slams all-time.

Rafa was limited to just the French title in 2011, finishing runner-up to Djokovic at both Wimbledon and the US Open.

At 30 years-old, does Federer have enough gas in the tank to win a 17th Grand Slam?

For Federer, 2011 marked the first year he went without a Grand Slam title since 2002 – back when he had none at all. Unlike Djokovic though, Federer did finish 2011 strong - winning his last 17 matches followed by three wins this year at Doha before pulling out with an injury. His current 20-match win streak is the seventh of at least that long in his career.

Will women’s No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki finally break through and win a Grand Slam?

The start of the Australian Open on January 16th will mark the 66th week Wozniacki has spent as the women’s number one. That’s the good news. The bad news is no other woman has been atop the rankings that long without having won a Grand Slam. In fact, Wozniacki has only reached one final in her career – at the 2009 US Open.

Is Serena Williams healthy, motivated enough to continue her dominance Down Under?

Las Vegas sure seems to think so. Despite being the 12-seed, Williams is the betting favorite to win the Australian Open. Williams does have great history at this event, having won her last 14 matches at Melbourne Park before having to withdraw prior to last year’s tournament.