TENNIS TOP TEN - 2009 YEARENDER
10. The battle for number 1 - Serena vs Safina. Most of the battle for number one actually did not happen on court. Rather, the exchange of words, sarcasm and snorts, was the highlight. For a time, Dinara Safina seemed to be irreplaceable in the WTA number 1 ranking, even without a Grand Slam. Apparently, the tour has rewarded her consistency, but did not demerit her enough for her meltdowns and embarassing losses. Serena, on the other hand, only showed up (and really showed up) on the big events. The technical number 1 Slamless Wonder versus the self-proclaimed number 1 Multi-Slam winner...this battle is probably already finished, especially that the Belgians are now back thrown in the mix.
9. Veterans bid goodbye - In recent years, we have not seen so much big names finally hanging their rackets. 2009 saw the veterans Ai Sugiyama, Marat Safin, Natalie Dechy, Amelie Mauresmo and Fabrice Santoro among other prominent names bid goodbye to the game. Can you predict who's next in 2010? Tommy Haas? Lleyton Hewitt? Venus Williams?
8. Wimbledon Roof - It was announced a couple of years ago. And this year, it finally happened -- the inauguration of the very essential retractable roof in the Wimbledon center court. No rain can now spoil the action happening during a Wimbledon match. Then world number 1 Dinara Safina was the first to play under the closed roof.
7. Welcome Juan Martin to the Winners' Circle - Andy Murray who? Juan Martin del Potro was never the number one pick as the young gun to make a mark in the tour. But when he won the 2009 US Open, against the Roger Federer at that, everybody starts to notice what could possibly be the deadliest weapon in the game right now.....that booming forehand!
6. Comeback Kid Kim Clijsters - That's too much 'K' or 'C' your mouth can handle. And likewise, she was too much for the current WTA wannabees. In only her first Grand Slam tournament after retiring and giving birth, the tennis good girl went on to win the US Open crown. What's even more remarkable is that her victory in Flushing Meadows actually spurred her fellow Belgian Justine Henin to make her own comeback. In an interesting turn of events, it does seem that Justine is out to get Kim again. Now that's a treat to the tennis fans who are ever frustrated with the current WTA line up.
5. Andre Agassi OPENs up - Andre Agassi, though out of the limelight for years now, has outshined and outsold the still active Serena Williams in the autobiography department. Well the controversies contained by the book were more than enough marketing strategy to keep tennis fans interested, and maybe disgusted with the 8-time Grand Slam champion and the tennis governing bodies. The crystal meth and the cover up of drug use (as well as of the baldness) have fueled up a long-term debacle.
4. Serena Slams a Lineswoman - Sex and drugs have caught up with the young stars (surprise, surprise!) Ernests Gulbis and Richard Gasquet, who have both failed so far to live up to expectations and predictions. But no scandal beats that of Serena Williams during the US Open semifinals, when she allegedlly cursed and threatened a lineswoman after calling her foot fault during a crucial point. A rarely implemented point penalty was witnessed consequently, and a probation goes on, the worst punishment of which could be a Grand Slam ban.
3. Rafa of Australia - The 2009 Australian Open was the perfect sequel to the epic 2008 Wimbledon. Once again, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have solidified their place as this generation's premier rivalry. And with Nadal beating Federer for the 2nd consecutive time in a Grand Slam final, people have tipped him to finally own the circuit and start a new era after the Swiss dominance for years. Special mention goes to the semifinal match against fellow Spaniard and newsmaker (in the romance department) Fernando Verdasco -- an equally action-packed match as the finals.
2. Wimbledon Marathon Final - Perhaps there's no venue to set-up the match of the year than the All England Club. 2008's biggest match was in the exact same stage -- Wimbledon final. This year, it was still Roger Federer, but against the rekindled spirit of Andy Roddick. The American was technically never gone during the past couple of years, but his amazing performance here could practically be considered a comeback. Their match got the nod for the longest Wimbledon final in the Open era at 4 hours and 16 minutes.
1. Roger Makes History - Roger Federer...Rog, as he prefers.....it's all about him this year! The consistent defeat against nemesis Rafael Nadal during the latter part of 2008 and early part of 2009 was the perfect build-up to a heartwarming victory in the end. After dramatic turn of events, headed by the upset of King of Clay Nadal by Robin Soderling, he finally completed a 'Grand Slam' by winning the Roland Garros title. Then he goes on to win his 15th Slam in another dramatic Wimbledon final, overtaking Pete Sampras' record to be the "Greatest of All Time." This year he cried tears of sadness and tears of joy; definitely a rollercoaster ride. He has undeniably become a historic, and possibly admirable, character, hopefully avoiding to taint his reputation with scandals to match that of bestfriend Tiger Woods.
Meanwhile, the final rankings for 2009....
|JUAN MARTIN del POTRO|
Points are accumulated average per tournament, and adjusted to parallel Men's and Women's points
* least number of tournaments played
** most number of tournaments played
Labels: tennis top ten