Djokovic was ahead of the pack


Center Court’s Men’s Year-End Awards show selects Player of the Year, Match of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, and Most Disappointing Player. Pete Sampras believed that winning one Grand Slam singles title in a season was a good effort. He should know; he won at least one major 10 times in his career and left the game in 2002 with a record 14 in his trophy case. By that standard, the four best tennis players on the planet can all feel reasonably happy about their results in 2012. For the first time in nine years, four different men won majors. Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open, followed by Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, Roger Federer at Wimbledon and Andy Murray, also the Olympic gold medalist, became a first-time major champion at the U.S. Open.
So, who was the fairest of them all? ATP Player of the Year: That would be Djokovic, who in winning the year-end Barclay’s ATP World Tour Finals, did just enough to edge Murray. “He had a great season last year, winning three majors,” Gilbert said. “So Djoker was hitting .400 and he backed it up this year by hitting, what, .360? Yeah, that’s a pretty good season.” Djokovic finished as the No. 1-ranked player for the second consecutive year. Federer did it from 2004-07, but he’s the only other man to accomplish that going back to Lleyton Hewitt in 2001-02. While Serena Williams made a big splash, winning the last four important titles on the WTA side — Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, plus the Olympics and year-end event — Djokovic was by far more consistent. He made three major finals and won three Masters 1000 events as well, finishing with an ATP-high 75 match wins. Last year, after a ridiculous start, he faded badly down the stretch. This year, he started strong and finished stronger. Djokovic went nearly five hours in the Australian Open semifinals against Murray, then came back to beat Nadal in an epic final that required nearly six hours. Clearly, that effort took a lot out of him. Still, Djokovic got to the final at Roland Garros and in New York before going undefeated in London.
Federer, at 31, proved in London he still has the chops — and the desire — to succeed at the highest level. The ATP compiled a list of the 10 best shots at the Barclay’s — and four of them belonged to Federer. In winning his seventh title at Wimbledon, the Swiss champion ran his major total to 17 — a number that, all things considered, is looking harder and harder to equal. Murray, meanwhile, now has the confidence to win more majors. Going forward, he is likely to prove Djokovic’s toughest out.
Match of Year: Australian Open final: This, right here, is why we love men’s tennis. Djokovic and Nadal went at each other for five hours and 53 minutes and the match ended at 1:37 in the morning, Melbourne time. Nadal had a backhand that might have turned the match, but he couldn’t land it in the court.
Think how history might have been different if Nadal had made that shot and ultimately won the match. He’d have 12 majors and Djokovic – whose game on hard courts is extremely punishing on his body — would have only have four. With only one year separating them (Nadal is 26 and Djokovic 25), that might have safely distanced Nadal from the Serb. Don’t miss a moment of the latest tennis coverage from around the world. Follow us on Twitter and stay informed. Join »
Afterward, both players had difficulty standing during the trophy presentation. Hard to believe it would be Djokovic’s only Grand Slam title of the year. It all depends on your definition of a newcomer, but we’ll go along with the ATP players’ vote on this one. The 6-foot-3 lefty from the Slovak Republic was ranked outside the top 100 last year — he wasn’t even in the ATP World Tour media guide — but he jumped 88 spots this year, all the way up to No. 29. Klizan won the title in St. Petersburg and knocked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga out of the U.S. Open. Nadal has always paid a price for the bruising physicality of his game and now we’re starting to see the toll it has taken.


  1. It is sad news that a player of his calibre has retired . Alas no one is indispensible in this world. Weall have to make the final exit from some thing we love to do. In Pontic case. He accompolished many things from scoring centuries, winning matches and lot of other wonderful things. What a player he has been for the game of cricket. Like many great players he was vulnerable in the first few overs but itb always became difficult to dislodge him as the game progressed. There is a lot which can be said about such a player. I would like to conclude with a heay heart about his retirement and wish him the best of luck, and enjoy the life. JAVAID

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