Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal, Serena Williams, Roger Federer – the main tennis events of the year are still covered by the greatest.
Novak’s Australian saga, Rafa’s two Grand Slam titles, Barty’s shock leave, Serena and Roger’s emotional farewells…
It’s time to wrap up the 2022 tennis season.
The season was full of spectacle, drama, unforgettable moments, and controversy.
Before the new tennis season gets underway, let’s have a look back at what we’ve seen over the past 12 months.
Djokovic’s visa cancellation, Nadal’s 21st Grand Slam
Could anyone have imagined a more epic start to the season?
After a dominant 2021, it looked like Novak Djokovic was heading into the Australian Open as the overwhelming favorite.
However, after arriving in Melbourne, the situation became quite complicated: due to visa problems, Nole was sent to a covid hotel and was not allowed to enter the country.
At the time, strict Covid regulations were in force in Australia. Because of this, Djokovic’s case was met with protests from the local population.
The misunderstanding lasted ten days. Nole was allowed to enter the city and have training sessions. He was already preparing to start competing in the tournament, but the Australian government canceled his visa at the last moment.
Rafa Nadal tried to compensate Djokovic’s absence in AO. After a five-month layoff, Matador returned to the court with a bang, where it was always the most difficult for him to achieve success.
He won a five-set match in the quarterfinals against Shapovalov, and also overcame Berrettini’s semi-final barrier.
And the final turned out to be amazingly dramatic. Against Daniil Medvedev, Rafa lost the first two sets, started the third set as a chaser, and the opponent received three breakpoints when…
Nadal turned on his superpowers and offered the audience one of the greatest comebacks in the history of tennis. After an epic 5 hours and 24 minutes, the Spaniard ended the match in triumph and won the Australian Open for the second time in his career.
Nadal advanced in the Slam race. 21!
Ash Barty leaves
The leader of women’s tennis decided to end her career at the age of 25.
Ashley Barty declared unconditional dominance in the WTA tour. Of course, at the start of 2022, she competed as a clear favorite at his native Slam.
Barty cruised through the Australian Open in one breath. She won the title without losing a set, and on her serve, she gave up the game only three times in the entire two weeks.
Who would have thought that Barty, who was in such great form against Collins in the AO final, would be playing the last match of her career? Barty’s leave after 114 consecutive weeks at the top of the rankings was one of the most shocking decisions in sports history.
“I just feel that it is better for me. I gave everything for this sport. People around me have done a lot for me to achieve this success. So I want to give them more time in my life. I have come an incredible way. I regret absolutely nothing.”– said Barty after announcing retirement.
Actively competing in tennis requires constant travel. Being away from loved ones for a whole year never appealed to Ash.
Rise of Alcaraz
If Rafa Nadal grabbed all the attention at the start of the year with his 20-match winning streak, the spring season belongs entirely to Carlos Alcaraz Garfia.
The 18-year-old Spaniard started with a 500-point tournament win in Rio. This was followed by a maiden Masters title. In Miami, he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas, Hubert Hurkacz, and Casper Ruud without losing a set.
No one was surprised by his success in Barcelona. Instead, after the spectacle at the Madrid Masters, it’s hard for someone to stay unhappy.
He beat Nadal and Djokovic one after the other, and in the final, he did not spare Alexander Zverev.
“It is very cool for tennis that we have a superstar of this level. He will win many slams in the future and become number one.”– Zverev said about Alcaraz.
Two Masters titles were not enough for Alcaraz. It was time for something bigger. The fans expected a louder statement from him and a maiden Slam win. The Spaniard did not betray them.
Carlitos had a brilliant tournament at the US Open. In the final, he defeated Casper Ruud and became the youngest number-one in tennis history.
Nadal and Garros
Tell us a better love story…
Just a week before the start of the French Open, Rafael Nadal was suffering from obvious physical problems during the Rome Masters.
But still, how can you doubt Rafa?
In the fourth round, the Spaniard faced the toughest battle with Auger-Aliasime. This was followed by an impressive quarterfinal against Djokovic, with whom he took a kind of revenge after losing the final last year.
Zverev was also a strong opponent for Rafa until the German got a terrible injury and was out of tennis for six months.
In the final match, Nadal defeated Casper Ruud and won the 14th Roland Garros trophy.
Wimbledon bans Russian and Belarusian tennis players
All England Club made one of the most resonant decisions this year when it did not allow the representatives of Russia and Belarus to participate in Wimbledon. The reason for this was the hostilities started by Russia against Ukraine.
According to the British organization, after consultation with the government, they believed it was the right thing to do.
ATP responded to them with a controversial move: they stripped ranking points at Wimbledon this year. Tennis players were supposed to play only for the prize money.
The irony of fate was that the victory at the women’s Wimbledon went to the tennis player of Russian origin, Elena Rybakina, who competes on behalf of Kazakhstan.
Djokovic’s 7th Wimbledon
After a difficult start to the season, the road opened wide for Novak Djokovic in the summer.
It may not have been the most efficient tournament for him, he won only two matches without losing a set and had the toughest fight in the quarterfinals against Jannick Siner, where he lost the first two sets.
However, after a one-year break, he is still the Grand Slam champion.
“Wimbledon was a very important tournament for me. After winning this title, I felt a lot of relief and confidence”,– said Djokovic after winning Wimbledon.
We should also mention Nick Kyrgios, who reached the Grand Slam final stage for the first time. The Australian played excellent quality matches on grass. He will be a force to be reckoned with next season as well.
Serena said goodbye
“I’m starting a life outside of tennis.”
Serena Williams published an emotional letter about her retirement from tennis. He writes how painful this decision is for her. That she never wanted to choose between family and tennis.
The legendary American announced the end of her career at the Toronto Masters, where she won her first match in 14 months. She also played in Cincinnati before having a grand farewell at the US Open.
The 40-year-old Serena made it through two rounds at the US Open and played her last match against Tomljanovic in the third round.
Williams could not hold back tears. Artur Ashe is the place where she won her maiden Grand Slam in 1999.
Roger also said goodbye
Two GOATs in one season, isn’t that a bit much?
We haven’t shed a tear for Serena yet when Roger gave us a headache with his retirement.
The Swiss have not played since Wimbledon 2021. After another surgery on the knee, it became clear that he would not be able to continue competing at a professional level.
“This is the most bitter decision. I will miss everything the tour has given me. At the same time, I can be happy. I consider myself one of the luckiest men on earth. I was given a special talent to play tennis and I was able to do it in a way I never imagined.”– Federer wrote in his letter.
Roger’s farewell at the Laver Cup turned out to be one of the most heartbreaking scenes. It was especially emotional to see Federer and Nadal crying next to each other. Roger played the last match of his career with his long-time rival.
As Nadal said, with Roger’s leave, one of the most important parts of his life is coming to an end because they always stood together during the greatest moments.
Rune’s Supernova in Paris
A new star is born – Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune.
One of the most impressive tournaments of the year was the Paris Masters, where the 19-year-old Dane made an incredible run.
Rune has been in brilliant shape since the start of the Indoor hard-court season. But little did he imagine that soon he would become the first tennis player in history to beat five Top 10 players in one tournament.
In the opening match of Paris, the Dane saved three matchpoints against Stan Wawrinka, then won against Hurkacz, Rublev, Alcaraz, Auger-Aliassime and went to the final stage.
A real thriller took place in the final match. Holger Rune played the best match of his career so far and managed to upset even Novak Djokovic. Moreover, after the lost set.
Rune is very ambitious and he does not hide it:
“My goal is to be number one in the world. Maybe I can do it next year, why not?” – says Rune.
ATP and WTA Finals
Novak Djokovic and Caroline Garcia shared the year’s ATP and WTA titles, respectively.
The Serb was unstoppable throughout the tournament. Nole made up for his loss in the Paris final and became the undefeated champion.
After a seven-year hiatus, Djokovic won his sixth tour finals, equaling Roger Federer’s record.
Caroline Garcia also closed her successful season with a bang. She beat Maria Sakkari in the semifinals of the WTA Finals, and Arina Sabalenka in the final.
“I am so happy. I am proud of what I have achieved as a result of working hard throughout the year. I am happy to have won the biggest title in my career”.– said Caroline Garcia after winning the trophy.
Rybakina’s Wimbledon crown
At Wimbledon, all eyes were on Elena Rybakina who wrote a new chapter in the sports’ history of Kazakhstan. A dream came true for the 23-year-old player, as she wins one of the major tennis trophies.
Lena became the first player representing Kazakhstan to win a Grand Slam title with her comeback against World No.2 Ons Jabeur.
As always, She was so calm on the court. Even when she won a trophy, she could still hold the tears.
However, in the press conference when she was asked how her parents would react to her being crowned Wimbledon champion, emotions beat her.
"They would be super proud" 😊— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 9, 2022
Elena Rybakina was asked how her parents would react to her being crowned Wimbledon champion#Wimbledon | #CentreCourt100 pic.twitter.com/HOKUL4pFfQ
Qasym-Jomart Toqayev, the President of Kazakhstan, congratulated Rybakina on her historic success
Except for Wimbledon, Elena had some other nice tournaments. She played in the final of Adelaide 500, the semifinal of Ostrava 500, as well as the quarterfinal of Indian Wells.
This is the moment when tennis takes a back seat and other things take priority: peace and human life.
For Ukrainian tennis players, competing this year’s season has acquired a completely different meaning. They became representatives and ambassadors of their homeland on the tennis court.
Since the beginning of the war, Ukrainians have always come out to play with flags and various symbols, and tennis players from other countries have also followed this. Against the background of the worst war events in the homeland, it was not easy for Ukrainians to contain their emotions on the court.
For Elina Svitolina, this year was full of news in all respects. After the start of the war, she played in only eight tournaments and then decided to take a break until the end of the season due to an emotional background. In October, she and Gael Monfils had a baby girl.
Svitolina is actively involved in various charity programs that help Ukraine. She is one of the ambassadors of the United24 program launched by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. A few weeks ago, through her foundation, Svitolina organized a charity event in Monaco, where $250 million were raised to help Ukraine.
As for Ukrainian men’s tennis players, they have moved from the tennis court directly to the war zone.
Former World N31 Sergey Stakhovsky, who defeated Roger Federer at Wimbledon, became a member of the Ukrainian army at the beginning of the war. After the end of his career, he lived with his family in Hungary, but he immediately returned to Ukraine to protect his homeland.
Former No. 12 Alexander Dolgopolov also returned to Ukraine as a volunteer warrior. According to him, unless everyone unites, it will be difficult to change Putin’s plans.
Career high rank for Kontaveit
Anett Kontaveit had a brilliant start for the 2022 season, winning 9 matches in a row, before falling to Iga Swiatek in the final of Doha.
Despite winning only one title this year (St.Petersburg 500), Estonian has managed to claim her career-highest rank. She became world number 2 in June.
Apart from that, Anett could not make it to the third round of any of the four Majors.
Kontaveit faced a different kind of challenges this year: Covid and lower back injury. She missed the last part of the season because of this.
Radu Albot progress
Radu Albot had a promising start in the 2022 season. He reached the third round at the 2022 Australian Open as a qualifier, defeating Australian wildcard Aleksandar Vukic.
He won the title at the 2022 Istanbul Challenger defeating Lukas Rosol. After that, he moved back into the Top 100 to No. 92 in September. Also, he played Busan Challenger final.
This is how the 2022 tennis season turned out. Let’s wait to see what 2023 has in store for us. See it on Setanta Sports!