There’s a saying sometimes used during the Olympic Games when one athlete is expected to win the gold medal even before their event begins. Commentators have been known to say that everyone else in the field is just “playing for silver”. On the tennis tour, there is no silver medal at the end of each event. One player gets the trophy and that’s it.
The expectation, even before this year’s clay court season started, was that Rafael Nadal would win a record eleventh French Open title and raise the La Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy. Now that the Paris Grand Slam is here, the expectation is still the same.
At the start of the year, many wondered if Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were, perhaps, past their glory days. But Federer, coming back from a long injury recovery, and Nadal, almost out of the top ten, then delighted tennis fans by reaching the Australian Open final that Federer won. Now both find themselves the most talked about players entering this year’s US Open. Despite their long history together, neither man has faced the other across the net in New York. If they do in the semifinals, it will cap off what has been the biggest, yet most welcomed surprise this year.
Serena Williams, who won in Melbourne before revealing her pregnancy soon after, will not be in New York. But her absence on the women’s tour is still very much felt. Especially with an ongoing race to the top WTA ranking that now includes eight women in the hunt. One being her elder sister Venus Williams, herself enjoying the best season of her career in some time having reached two major finals. Yet, the open-ended, unpredictable women’s tour these days has many, including one of the all-time greats, longing for the rivalries of the past.
Serena Williams can declare “Game, Set, Match” over John McEnroe.
Williams, the reigning Wimbledon champion and recent Australian Open winner, who is taking time off to have her first baby, took to Twitter in response to a recent quote from John McEnroe during an interview with NPR.
2016 in the tennis world was a year full of change and surprise. Here’s a quick look back at those players and highlights that stood out the most in this most memorable of years.
Top of the Charts
2016 was indeed a year of change including at the top of the tennis rankings. With breakthough, and career changing seasons, Angelique Kerber and Andy Murray closed out the year both as year-end No.1s.
The 2016 US Open opened with a new roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium and closed two weeks later with two new singles champions. With neither top seed claiming the title, and with at least one Number One ranking changing hands, the question remains if this is the start of a new era, or merely a brief time out in what has been almost near domination by two of the sport’s biggest stars.
The US Open starts next week. The last major of the season is looking ahead to the future with a mixture of excitement and perhaps, reluctance. While the long awaited and much needed roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium is now in place ready for use, New York’s favorite player won’t be there to play underneath it. Continue reading
Roland Garros is just days away. With a lot riding for many players heading into the second major of the year, here are some of the big questions still lingering after the European clay court swing. Continue reading