December 18, 2013 by Parveer Mann
Originally published on Back Row Sports
All December long, the blog will take a look back at the highlights, lowlights and moments that defined the 2013 Tennis season.
Bernard Tomic after January: A fantastic start to the year in Sydney (his first ATP title) for the young Australian was overshadowed by disaster the rest of the year. On and off the court, the 21-year old Tomic was one of the biggest letdowns in the tennis world.
He amassed such good will after making the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2011 as a teenager and seizing the next big thing moniker that many could not have imagined how far he would fall this year. His play was underwhelming for most of the year with early round losses and withdrawals littering his stat sheet. But off-court, his season was even worse.
Early in May, his dad and coach, John Tomic allegedly attacked Tomic’s hitting partner outside a hotel in Madrid. It left the hitting partner bruised and both Tomic’s being cast as outsiders on tour. There were tournament permissions that were taken away from John Tomic and unneeded attention for Bernard. Add in the other personal misadventures he had in Australia and he was rarely in the press for positive reasons in 2013.
Aga Radwanska at Wimbledon: When chaos reigned at Wimbledon this year, it seemed for a moment that Aga Radwanska had escaped in great shape. The popular and vastly creative Radwanska was the highest-surviving seed in a tournament decimated by huge upsets. There was no Serena, no Vika, or no Maria to stand in the way of her first Grand Slam.
For the past few years, Aga had always been considered the player who needed everything to break her way in order to win a Slam mainly because she was seen as a non-threat against the prototypical ‘power’ player. She had come close the previous year at Wimbledon before losing a hard fought three setter to Serena. This year, she sought redemption and the opportunity presented itself after the first week when many of the big names lost until it wasn’t.
The set of circumstances and Aga’s likeability makes her loss to Sabine Lisicki (9-7 in the third), one of the toughest all season. It wasn’t a bad loss per se as Lisicki has proven herself as one of the best players on grass but it seemed unfair. After years of being on the wrong side of a bad matchup, Radwanska’s 2013 loss at Wimbledon would be her responsibility alone and maybe the best chance she gets at a Slam for a very long time.
However, we were rewarded with this fantastic picture of maybe the chilliest post-match handshake in recent history.
American Men at the Grand Slams: If Tim Smyczek suddenly becomes your torchbearer at a Grand Slam; you know you’ve had a bad year. However this year, the American men were historically bad at the Slams especially their native tournament, the US Open. No American man reached the fourth round for the first time at the US Open since 1881, an incredible 132 years!
The results at the other three slams were not much better and the worrying part is that it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better anytime soon. The stalwarts of the current game (John Isner and Sam Querrey) are aging and there is no real next hope on the horizon. So Americans may have to get used to the new reality, cheering for any player who even shows little promise even if he is Tim Smyczek.
No Nadal v. Federer at the US Open: All due respect to Tommy Robredo but his victory over Roger Federer at this year’s US Open was a big letdown for the tennis community. Not because it was especially terrible but instead it prevented a Nadal/Federer clash for the first time ever in New York.
It may be the only missing chapter in a long standing rivalry that has seen famous clashes at every other Grand Slam. Most years, it was Nadal’s losses that prevented the matchup but this year, the erratic Federer was unable to execute with consistency and was turned away rather routinely. Maybe next year?
Federer vs. Nadal at the Grand Slams
Most Recent Meeting
|Australian Open||Nadal leads 2-0||2012 Australian Open SFs (Nadal won)|
|French Open||Nadal leads 5-0||2011 French Open Fs (Nadal won)|
|Wimbledon||Federer leads 2-1||2008 Wimbledon F (Nadal won)|
|US Open||Never met|