TENNIS' TOP TEN STORIES

0
964
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JAPhoto by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

1. Andy Murray won nine titles including Wimbledon, the Olympics and the ATP Championships to become the first British No. 1 of the Open Era.

2. Who would have imagined that Angie Kerber, who was ranked No. 10 in 2015, would win the Aussie and US Opens, collect the Olympic silver medal and dethrone Serena to become No. 1? Her emergence and Garbine Muguruza’s French Open win pointed to a new era in the WTA.

3. Novak Djokovic at last won the French Open to become the eighth man to gain a career Grand Slam and the third man to hold all four Slams at the same time. Then Nole’s seamless dominance cracked.

4. Out of nowhere, scandals rocked tennis. Match fixing claims emerged, Sharapova was suspended for drug use, controversial comments by BNP Paribas Open chief Ray Moore drew ire and police raided the French federation to investigate alleged corruption.

5. The oft-injured Juan Martin del Potro – “the great lost talent of the men’s game” – began the year ranked 1,041, but then returned and blasted his way deep into Slams, winning the Olympic silver medal, leading Argentina to the Davis Cup title and finishing as No. 38, 1003 slots higher than when he began the year.

6. Never mind that Argentina had lost all four of their previous trips to the Davis Cup finals. Never mind that no South American team had ever won the Davis Cup. Forget it that Argentina had to play all four of their matches on the road, that they were a set from Davis Cup defeat in Zagreb and that in the end their fate was on the racket of a journeyman, No. 41 Federico Delbonis, who had had only once reached the third round of a major. No matter – after 83 years Argentina won the Davis Cup for the first time ever, thanks to a thrilling victory over Croatia.

7. Puerto Rico’s little-known Monica Puig, only 22 and ranked No. 33, downed three Grand Slam champions (Angie Kerber, Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova) to win her country’s first-ever gold medal. Delirious celebrations swept through her island.

8. They say all things must pass and even tennis saints aren’t immune to the laws of nature. So we saw Nadal and Federer falter. Both fought injuries, failed to reach a Slam final and finished the year ranked No. 9 and 16 respectively.

9. She did it! Serena won Wimbledon. And at her moment of triumph she fell limp on her back and offered us her best Richard Nixon imitation as she flashed two victory signs to indicate her 22 Slam wins, which tied Steffi Graf for the Open Era record.

10. Stan Wawrinka, the foremost under-the-radar player in the game, again proved he can overpower anyone. His destruction of Djokovic in the US Open final gave him his third major and left him just a Wimbledon away from a career Grand Slam. Clearly, the ATP’s longstanding Big Four is now the Big Five.

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images