Yes, the IPTL is currently in full swing, but let’s ignore that oddity for now and have a brief recap.
2014 has been another stellar year for both tours with each serving up four different major champions amidst a bigger picture of resurgent champions, fresh new faces and some titanic battles across the spectrum of competition.
In some ways, the WTA and ATP Tour Finals (held in Singapore and London respectively) at the season’s end encapsulated the year as a whole. Certainly this was the case with the eventual winners.
In Serena, we had a player who – by her own astronomic standards – had majorly struggled for two thirds of the year. It wasn’t until the multi-champ hit home turf that she regained that mojo to finish the year strongly and – again – the world number one. Around her we saw the returns of Petra Kvitova and Ana Ivanovic and the continued rise for Simona Halep.
The men’s 2014 season will go down in history as an absolute classic, with Federer’s resurgence, Nadal’s continued dominance on clay amidst yet more injuries, and those two very special maiden slam victories for Marin Cilic and the Stanimal. Yet whilst FedEx grabbed the lion’s share of the headlines amongst the established players, and as good as the Swiss has been in 2014, Novak Djokovic has been that little bit better. There were disappointments in the Serb’s 2014 for sure and just the one major title, but there is no denying that he has been, and continues to be the best player in the world – and consistently so.
The women produced more surprises and drama en route to Serena’s triumph over Simona, with Wozniacki, Ivanovic and Kvitova amongst the players to really shine – it was a poor finish to the year for Bouchard and Sharapova, but they’ll be back strong in January. In the end, the final itself was rather anti-climatic and if anything merely proved how bad Serena’s first six months had been.
London again played host to the gents who gave us some memorable matches, but the 2014 book-end event was a disappointment overall. Rafa’s appendicitis robbed us of a worthy challenger (helping the sorry Murray book a place which ultimately ended in humiliation). Then, after an epic semi-final encounter with his compatriot and contender for player of the year, Roger Federer pulled out of a mouth-watering final showdown with Djokovic – an historic Davis Cup triumph looming the following weekend no doubt played its part.
So, Novak and Serena conquered all comers once again, their journeys to such familiar territory had their peaks and troughs, but these two remain the players to beat in 2015.