December 31, 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.
It’s a wrap. As the 2013 calendar year draws to an end, here’s a month by month collection of the best stories, events and links this year.
- Victoria Azarenka wins another Australian Open but not before taking an infamous medical timeout and becoming everyone’s favourite player to hate.
- Novak Djokovic wins his third straight Australian Open and begins to assert himself into the conversation as an all-timer. Surprisingly, it would be his only Grand Slam title of the year.
- Bernard Tomic breaks through with his first ATP win in Sydney and then his world falls apart. Talk about peaking early.
- He’s back. Rafael Nadal returns from a seven month layoff and promptly loses to Horacio Zeballos in the Vina del Mar finals. As a result, the inevitable questions arise if Nadal will ever return to former greatness?
- Serena returns to world number one this month becoming the oldest woman to hold that spot in WTA history at the age of 31.
- Canada rises on the world stage. The Canadian Davis Cup team makes history defeating Spain in Vancouver to reach its first World Group quarterfinals.
- Nadal wins Indian Wells. It’s the first real sign that he’s all the way back after winning on his least successful surface.
- Tennis meets March Madness. The men’s final between Andy Murray and David Ferrer in Miami goes the distance but not before most viewers miss it (CBS shifts coverage to Tennis Channel for NCAA Basketball coverage).
- Monte Carlo streak over. Novak Djokovic ends Rafael Nadal’s eight year run at the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters. He’s now in the conversation as the real challenger to Nadal’s French Open crown.
- Canada marches on in Davis Cup. Led by Milos Raonic, Canada defeats Italy to reach the Davis Cup semifinals. They’ll travel to Serbia in September in an effort to continue their magical run going.
- Maria Sharapova adds another blue-chip endorsement deal after signing with Porsche. For another year, she remains the most highly paid female athlete in the world.
- Another Roger/Rafa clash. These two legends faceoff for the 30th time at the finals in Rome. Nadal wins easily, something he would do all year against Federer (H2H: Nadal 4-0 in 2013).
- Federer becomes social. The Swiss star enters the Twitter fray and instantly is a big hit. His #AskRF chats are easily some of the best tennis-related events the internet has to offer.
- Andy Murray sits out the French Open but still stays in the conversation with his witty online snark.
- She wanted this one. Serena Williams captures the French Open for the first time in 11 years. She now joins an elite group to win every Grand Slam at least twice.
- Eighth wonder. Rafael Nadal cements his strong return by defending his French Open crown. It was mostly a ho-hum affair that was probably highlighted by a bunch of flares on court. Yeah, those kind of flares.
- Before the month is over, chaos reigns at Wimbledon. Weird/Black Wednesday sees many of the game’s stars fall including Roger Federer in a surprising loss to Sergiy Stakhovsky.
- The Kingdom relishes. After 77 years, Andy Murray overcomes historic British collapses to capture his first Wimbledon crown. Record TV audiences in the UK are riveted by the Scottish star and that excruciating last service game.
- The Smartest Woman in the Room. The sole survivor on the women’s side is the unlikely Marion Bartoli who wins her first Grand Slam. She did so six years after her only other shot at a Grand Slam.
- Martina Hingis leads the Class of 2013 in Newport during the annual International Tennis Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Her status as a retired Hall of Famer would not last long as she would jump back into doubles action later that summer.
- Jimmy Connors and Maria Sharapova split only weeks after forming their coaching tandem. It may be the only setback Connors has in a year where he returns to national prominence with a book and documentary.
- Marion exits stage right. In a shocking announcement, Marion Bartoli suddenly retires from the game only weeks after winning her first Grand Slam. It captures everyone by surprise and most believe it will not be a permanent hiatus.
- Canada continues its historic year. Both Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic make it to the semifinals at the Rogers Cup in Montreal (a first for Canadians at an ATP 1000).
- Perfection. Nadal ends a perfect summer hard-court season after capturing his second US Open title. Many believe it is the most impressive stretch in Nadal’s illustrious career.
- Rematch delivers. Vika and Serena stage a thrilling women’s final marred by nerves and high winds. In the end. Serena captures her 17th Grand Slam, only one shy of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.
- Golden in Seoul 25 years later. I marked the 25th anniversary of Steffi Graf’s Golden Slam with a six-part series covering the brilliance and legacy of the achievement.
- Nadal regains No. 1. For the third time in his career, Nadal takes over the number one ranking but this may be the most satisfying after all the injuries to end 2012.
- Serena ends the year almost perfect. At 78-4, Serena had a dominating year, maybe the best she’s ever had according to almost all metrics.
- The tour and its players embraced the Asian Swing and will so for years to come.
- Novak wins ATP World Tour Finals. He ends the season how he began it with a significant title. Despite losing the number one ranking. Djokovic remains poised to be a huge factor in 2014.
- Czech Republic and Italy triumph. Both nations win another Davis Cup and Fed Cup respectively.
- Coaching carousel. The men’s and women’s coaching ranks go through major upheaval with many big names returning (Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, and Michael Chang).
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Happy New Year and thanks for reading this year. See you all in 2014!