The keen observers of tennis will know it has been a somewhat unusual start to 2018.
For as long as you can remember, the discussion around the men's game was 'who can stop the big four?'
It appeared that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray were drifting further away from the next generation, despite the fact that they had been in the game for so long.
To be truthful, it appeared they were untouchable till the day they retired.
Then, the injuries became a factor.
Firstly, Djokovic and Murray succumbed to elbow and hip injuries respectively, and then after a year where he turned back the clock, a knee injury to Nadal saw him have to pull out of the season-ending event in London.
Federer was the healthiest of the quartet and that showed when he won his 20th Grand Slam in January.
Unlike those who play in a team sport, tennis players have the luxury to pick and choose the tournaments they play and certainly err on the side of caution when it comes to their return to the circuit.
With this in mind, it has been a slow and steady return to fitness for Djokovic, Murray, and Nadal.
While Djokovic and Nadal took part in the Australian Open, further aggrevation of their injuries saw more time on the sidelines.
Murray chose to skip Australia to undergo surgery on an ailment that had troubled him for a long period of time.
When the news of Murray's operation came out, there were doubts that the three-time Grand Slam champion would even return to the sport he loves.
However, there was some surprising news for his fans when Murray's name appeared on the entry list of the French Open.
But, that indeed was never to be the case as this explanation shows.
While the first half of the season has been somewhat bereft of its major names, it looks like the second half of 2018 could be very interesting indeed.
Especially when you realise that Djokovic and especially Murray will have to work very hard to get their rankings back into the top five.
While Murray will certainly be rusty when he does return to the ATP tour, he will certainly still pose a threat as you dont lose your talent no matter how long you have been away from the game.
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