What could be better than contemplating a new year?

Not only the events scheduled to happen and the possibilities that can be imagined, but the certain knowledge that unforeseen things will make their mark on the calendar.

The year's first scheduled attraction, as always, is women's tennis. The athletes who will take the court at Stanley St tomorrow lend a particular sparkle to the summer.

The days when women's tennis was in the shadow of the men's game have long gone. Its top players hit hard, as lucky courtside spectators this week will notice when Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic and Venus Williams feature in the ASB Classic.


Next week, the men are on court with their bigger serves.

The intensity of the men's tournament is heightened by their preparation for tennis' first grand slam event of the year, the Australian Open in Melbourne the following week. But first it is the women, opening a year which our Spy magazine picks to be quite a year for women.

Madonna is coming in March for two concerts in Auckland. And Nigella Lawson will be here later this month for an evening that is already a sell-out.

Looking further ahead to the Olympics in August, our women appear to include more medal contenders at Rio than the men.

The Black Sticks made the final of hockey's World League in Argentina recently and the women's Rugby Sevens are favourites for gold. They may well do better than the men despite two current All Blacks likely to be in the side.

We can be certain Lydia Ko will star again this year. Her rise to Number One in the world of women's golf was as rapid as predicted. New Zealand has yet to fully appreciate the privilege it is to have a world champion in a sport such as golf, played the world over.

If we produced a women's tennis Number One, we would be exalted and Ko's achievement is on a par, so to speak. Valerie Adams' dominance of women's shotputting is our nearest equivalent to Ko.

Could it also be a vintage year for women in public life? Businesswoman Victoria Crone is making a bid for the vacant Auckland mayoralty against a Labour Party veteran, Phil Goff.

At Parliament, Judith Collins is back in Cabinet with a glint in her eye, but colleagues Amy Adams, Paula Bennett and the underrated Anne Tolley look more impressive. Across the aisle, Annette King is staying as deputy leader and Jacinda Ardern is biding her time.

In New York, Helen Clark has put her hand up for the highest job at the United Nations. That would be the ultimate source of pride in a year that starts full of promise.