Congratulations! We’ve made it another year. Another year that was filled with the usual: unbelievable matches, shocking upsets and ridiculous shot making. But this year was different, this year had something happen that in the past 2,011 years didn’t happen. Yup, you guessed it, this year we had Gangnam Style. You might hate it, you might love it, but either way, you know you’re singing along when you hear “heeeeeeeeeey, sexy lady.” If you are one of the very few, and I mean, very few, who has no idea what I’m talking about, do yourself a favor and click here. And since we’re on the subject of firsts in 2012, and because this is “technically” a “tennis” blog just because it’s “technically” related to “Tennis Warehouse“: Andy Murray and Victoria Azarenka both won their first Grand Slams. How about that!
Before we get to the 2012 T-Dubby awards, here is a quick recap of this past year:
– Novak Djokovic is human! But still really good. He couldn’t duplicate his unreal 2011 season but 2012 was no slouch.
– Rafa is still really good on clay.
– Rafa’s knees, in general, not as good.
– Roger Federer is still really good despite being 31 (that’s 58 in tennis years)
– When motivated and healthy, Serena is scary good.
– Blue clay is scary bad.
– Redfoo of LMFAO really likes tennis. Or really likes hanging out with tennis players. One of those.
With 2013 right around the corner (or if you’re following the Mayan calendar, maybe not), let’s take a look at this year’s nominees.
Australian Open Men’s Finals: Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal
It was the longest match in Australian Open history and at the end, both players could barely stand during the trophy ceremony. I remember watching the 5th set and thinking that these guys were hitting the ball harder in that set than the 1st set. This was a match that ended at 1:27 in the morning, lasted almost 6 hours and featured the score of 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 to Djokovic. And yet, despite that all that, Novak Djokovic was still able to muster up the energy to rip his shirt off. How?! HOW?! I’m going gluten free.
Olympic Second Round: Milos Raonic vs. Jo Wilfried Tsonga
It was just a 2nd round match that featured the 5th seeded Tsonga and an unseeded Raonic. This was supposed to be a relatively win for Tsonga, who made it to the semi-finals of the last 2 Wimbledons. They exchanged sets and then the 3rd set happened. Let’s see here, the first 2 sets were 6-3, 3-6 for a total of 18 games. The 3rd set had a total of 48 games and ended 25-23 to Tsonga. That was exhausting just typing it out, let alone playing it out.
French Open Quarterfinal: Novak Djokovic vs. Jo Wilfried Tsonga
4 match points. Novak Djokovic battled off 4 match points to beat Jo Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-1. He also had to battle off a crowd that was audibly against him and for the Frenchman Tsonga.
US Open Final. Serena Williams vs Victoria Azarenka
After the 1st set, it looked like it would be another easy win for Serena Williams. But after Azarenka battled back to take the 2nd set, the match went to the decisive 3rd set, a first since 1995. At one point Azarenka even served for the match. But Serena, with the crowd behind her, and Serena being Serena, fought back and eventually won it 7-5.
Winner: Australian Open Finals: Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal
The “Wow These Guys Are Good” Award (Best Point)
Rafael Nadal vs Tomas Berdych @ Australian Open
Olivier Rochus vs Fernando Verdasco @ Monte Carlo Rolex Masters
Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic @ ATP World Tour Finals
Serena Williams vs Li Na @ WTA Championships
Novak Djokovic vs David Ferrer @ US Open
Novak Djokovic vs David Ferrer @ Sony Ericsson Open
Roger Federer vs Andy Murray @ Shanghai Masters
Winner: Novak Djokovic vs David Ferrer @ US Open
The Jaw Dropper (Best Shot)
Rafael Nadal vs Tomas Berdych @ Australian Open
Roger Federer vs Denis Kudla @ BNP Paribas Open
Gael Monfils vs Philipp Kohlschreiber @ Madrid Open
Victoria Azarenka vs Maria Sharapova @ WTA Championships
Grigor Dimitrov vs Viktor Troicki @ ATP Basel
Rafael Nadal vs Robert Farah @ Barcelona Open
Xavier Malisse vs John Isner
Winner: Roger Federer vs Denis Kudla @ BNP Paribas Open
Player of the Year
Serena Williams. Sure, sure, people are going to point to the 1st half of the year. It was very non-Serena like. Especially the 1st round loss at the French Open to Virginie “How do you pronounce my first name” Razzano. But her 2nd half more than made up for it. So after that shocking loss, in the 6 months following, Serena won:
– Wimbledon singles title
– Wimbledon doubles title
– Bank of the West singles title
– Olympic Gold singles title
– Olympic Gold doubles title
– US Open singles title
– WTA Tour Championships singles title
That’s in 6 months people. 6 months.
Novak Djokovic. In a year where 4 different players won the 4 majors, a first since 1486 (you might want to double check that for me), it’s hard to pick one male player to stand out. But it had to be Novak. He was the only one to make it to the semi-finals of all 4 finals. Novak also won 3 Masters 1000 titles and the ATP World Tour finals. And to top it all off, he did finish at #1.
Winner: Serena Williams
If you can recall my year-end blog from last year, a few of us made some bold 2012 predictions. Some of us were wrong while some of us were embarrassingly wrong (read: me). And then there was Tiffani and Brittany, the only two people who made a correct prediction. If you want to see last year’s blog, click here.
So we’re at it again this year. Here are our bold 2013 tennis predictions. Keep in mind the key word here is “bold.”
Serena’s strategy of playing less tournaments will transfer over to the men’s side, as Roger and Rafa play fewer tournaments, focusing on the majors. Djokovic and Murray will finish #1 and #2 respectively.
ATP: Murray will win another Slam. It’s going to be Wimbledon! Kei Nishikori will break into the Top 10.
WTA: Angelique Kerber will have a break through and win a Slam. Wozniacki will drop out of the Top 15.
Nadia Petrova will re-enter the top five and be a dominant force on the WTA Tour. Mardy Fish will make a comeback into the top ten and David Ferrer will win a slam. Bryan Brothers will sweep the slams and then retire at the end of the year.
Serena spends more time at #1 than not, and sweeps Grand Slams.
Milos Raonic and Nicolas Almagro both break into the top 10 and stay there.
Rafael Nadal doesn’t win French, has an average year.
Caroline Wozniaki: Falls out of top 20 and is seen more on the golf course than on the tennis court.
John McEnroe comes out of retirement to team up with Serena Williams for mixed doubles at a Grand Slam event and they will win it. Easily. Caroline Wozniacki retires to become full time caddie for Rory Mclleroy.
Men’s: Kei Nishikori will break into the top 8 and qualify for the year-end championships.
France will win the Davis Cup
Women’s: Laura Robson will break into the top 20 and replace Heather Watson as the UK’s number 1 women’s player.
Yaroslava Shvedova will break into the top 10. Serena will have a Grand Slam year, winning all four majors.
– Victoria Azarenka will beat Serena Williams in a Grand Slam final.
– Andrea Petkovic breaks back into the top 10
– Tsonga wins a Grand Slam
– Nadal will not make it past the quarterfinals of any Grand Slams.
Nadal officially retires. Federer does not reach a Grand Slam final. Milos Raonic fails to make a Grand Slam final because of a foot fault.
The Pliskova Twins will win Wimbledon. Marion Bartoli will make the finals of a Grand Slam. Richel Hogenkamp will break into the top 100.
Well there you have it. Our experts have made their predictions. Do you agree with any of them? What are your bold predictions for 2013?
Thanks for reading and happy New Year!
Till next time,