Posted in 2016, sport, tennis

The best of 2016 in tennis

After all those years of thirst and starvation, Britain finally had a world number one- in the name of Andy Murray. The Scot enjoyed plenty of success throughout the campaign, claiming both the year-end number one ranking and the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals title.

Summary

After his scintillating performance last season, Novak Djokovic was undoubtedly odds-on to hold onto his world number one ranking after clinching the first two grand slams (Australian and French Open) in style. However, his disappointing performance at Wimbledon proved to be the beginning of the Serb’s dip in form and it continued throughout the rest of the season but we saw some improvements at the World Tour Finals in which Djokovic raced to the final before bowing out to Andy Murray.

Milos Raonic also had plenty to shout about after finishing at a career-high world number three ranking after reaching the Wimbledon final and the Australian Open semi-finals during a remarkable campaign for the Canadian.

It was a quiet season for both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer as age and injuries forced them on the sidelines for the majority of the tournaments though it was Federer who missed more matches between the two. The highlight for the Swiss came in his thrilling quarter-final victory over Marin Cilic on his favoured Centre Court. Federer showed resilience and self-belief to save three match points and come from two sets down against the bitterly disappointed Cilic. Nadal had a decent campaign but stunning losses to Lucas Pouille and Fernado Verdasco in the US and Australian Open proved to be setbacks for the Spaniard.

Grand slam match of the season

Roger Federer defeats Marin Cilic in Wimbledon quarter-finals

Lots of mouth-watering matches throughout the course of the season but there could only be ONE and it has to be this one. As I briefly mentioned before, this was Federer’s highlight of his year and it definitely was the highlight of the many 15,000 spectators on the day. There was also lots of wonderful and exciting tennis to watch and plenty of nerves trickling down the faces of many Roger Federer fans but at the end- everyone was going crazy, it was virtually like England won the World Cup! For all their efforts and captivating tennis, Federer and Cilic were given a standing ovation from the crowd as a huge thank you for producing a thrilling contest.

Upset of the season

Marcus Willis beats Ricarda Berankis in Wimbledon first round

The easiest of the bunch to pick, it was surely going to be this first round encounter- Marcus Willis vs Ricarda Berankis. With the back of the many ecstatic British fans, Marcus Willis produced the shock of the season by beating Berankis, a player ranked about 700 places above the British underdog. What stunned us most was the fact that Willis defeated Berankis in straight sets, STRAIGHT SETS against a player ranked inside the top 100! Just stunning.

Comeback player of the season

Juan Martin del Potro

The Argentine missed the first half of the season through injury but bounced back with a stunning victory over Stan Wawrinka at Wimbledon which gave fans belief that del Potro is officially back and with a bang! However, in the third round, France’s Lucas Pouille had too much in hand for del Potro as the Argentine suffered in four sets. Del Potro would also go on to reach the Olympic final after shocking Djokovic and Nadal en route to the final before losing to Andy Murray in a sweating, tiresome contest under the immense heat of Rio. As well as that, del Potro had a decent run at the US Open before he had to say goodbye to eventual winner Stan Wawrinka at the quarter-final stage. Del Potro laid the icing on the cake by inspiring his Argentina side to a memorable Davis Cup victory over Croatia.

Young player of the season

Alexander Zverev

It was going to be a battle between Dominic Thiem, Kyle Edmund and Alexander Zverev but the young player of the season is arguably the German youngster for all his efforts and eye-catching performances throughout the course of the season. The young German reached three finals in 2016 and won one title from the three finals he contested- a dream victory over three-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka in St Petersburg. He reached the third round of both the French Open and Wimbledon tournaments in an unforgettable campaign for the German, he is currently the youngest player inside the top 50. What a difference a year can make!

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