The year's first Grand Slam event, the Australian Open, is the unofficial kickoff to the 2007 season. Will Roger Federer's dominance continue? Can anyone beat Rafael Nadal on clay? And will we see the Williams sisters win another tournament? ESPN analysts Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver and TENNIS.com's Peter Bodo answer those questions and more about the 2007 season.
Question: Which men's player not named Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal will be the next to win a Grand Slam, and which Grand Slam will it be?
Patrick McEnroe: You heard it here first … Andy Roddick will win the second major of his career. No, not at Wimbledon, but at the Australian Open, and in doing so, will make the tennis season real interesting. I love the way he turned the corner in the second half of 2006, and having Jimmy Connors in his corner has helped big-time. Andy had Federer on the ropes in Shanghai; it was the first time he outplayed Federer for a couple of sets (although it's considerably more difficult to beat Federer in a best of five). I like his physical fitness, and he has the strength to go deep in a tournament like the Australian. Getting to the U.S. Open final was a big boost for his confidence.
Pam Shriver: I think Andy Roddick will be next to win a major other than Fed and Rafa. It will not be at the Australian or the French, but the U.S. Open. It is hard to imagine many other men winning majors right now, but tennis always has a surprise around the corner.
Peter Bodo: Andy Roddick will win the Australian Open. He finished 2006 on an incredible high and has continued his successful partnership with Jimmy Connors. The Australian surface will be faster this year, and this is a tournament that has thrown up a fair number of big-player upsets in years past.
Q: Who is the player with the best chance to end Rafael Nadal's 62-match clay court win streak?
McEnroe: I'm going out on a limb on this one. It's going to be Nicolas Almagro, another young Spaniard, and it will happen in the early rounds at one of the smaller clay-court tournaments, like Valencia or Barcelona. Almagro is a big hitter off both sides; he is the type of player who can give Nadal trouble. But will it happen at the French? Uhhh … No!
Shriver: Any number of players can beat Rafa on clay -- so many call clay "their" surface -- but I still think Federer will do it. He should have beaten him in Rome last year and is extremely hungry to win his first French.
Bodo: Roger Federer is the safe pick, but let's not forget that Richard Gasquet (sometimes referred to as "Baby Federer") is explosive and versatile. On a great day, he could pound winners and confuse Nadal in a way that a mere grinder cannot.
Q: Amelie Mauresmo, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin-Hardenne were the four names you saw in the Grand Slam semifinals in 2006. Which women's player wins her first Grand Slam in 2007?
McEnroe: I don't think anyone, to be perfectly honest, because the players at the top are too strong. Sharapova got over a mental hurdle last year by winning her second major. You have good young players like Jelena Jankovic, Nicole Vaidisova and Anna Chakvetadze, but I would be shocked if anyone else wins a major other than those four. Nadia Petrova has the best chance, but I just don't see it happening.