What's the most impressive tennis moment you've seen?March 29, 2016
You made a bet with your housemates. Who would be the first tennis player to reach the $100M mark in prize money? Most predictable is Novak Djokovic, as he seemed unbeatable at the moment. But you were a diehard Roger Federer fan. You were hoping that the Swiss will win his 18th Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros or the All England Club. Everyone in the room knows that the Serb will overtake his Swiss rival sooner or later. This will be one impressive tennis moment, but you agree with your housemates that the dominance of Serena Williams in the women's tour will be another awe-inspiring moment. (75 million dollars and counting. Williams can overtake Rafael Nadal in the coming months.) Tennis isn't the only sport where history is being made.
It's no coincidence that records were set during an Olympic year. Winter sport is an exception. (Marcel Hirscher won the overall World Cup title for the fifth consecutive year, while Lindsey Vonn is ten wins shy of matching Ingmar Stenmark's World Cup wins.) No one was surprised that Michael Phelps came back from retirement. There were more Olympic records to break in Rio de Janeiro, but he would be facing stiff competition. (The Australian team has a good chance of finishing first in the medal table in Rio.) And let's not forget Usain Bolt's last hurrah in the track. But let's get back to tennis.
The decade will be over in a few years, but you've seen many milestones during the last five years. You argued with your housemates about it. (You were passionate fans of the sport.) It took several minutes before you agreed on this short list:
Roger Federer winning his 17th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. There's a good chance that Djokovic will surpass Fed's number in two or three years unless someone steps up and challenge the Serb. You would be counting on Nick Kyrgios, who won his first singles title in Marseilles last month. But fitness will be his issue. Nonetheless, Federer's legacy in the sport is assured. Not a few believe he'll win his 18th major crown before he hangs up his racket, but you're more interested in his singles titles. He's six titles shy of matching Ivan Lendl's total. Your housemates aren't betting on it, but you have high hopes. His seventh Wimbledon crown could be a fairy tale ending.
Serena Williams was one match shy of completing a calendar Grand Slam. Serena may not be dominant in the women's tour, but it's a different story in the Grand Slam events. She's still the player the beat. This may be the reason why the likes of Djokovic wanted an increase in prize money in the men's tour. It seems like an eternity since fans witness a rivalry in women's tennis. Serena Williams versus Justine Henin. Justine Henin versus Maria Sharapova. In the case of Williams and Sharapova, it would be a lopsided result. (Advantage Miss Williams.) Angelique Kerber beat Williams for the Australian Open title, but the American won't retire anytime soon. Margaret Smith's total of major singles titles will be surpassed by Williams.
Novak Djokovic won his sixth Australian Open title. This is not only an Open Era record, as Djokovic would tie Roy Emerson for the all-time record. He was almost perfect during the last few years, with 2015 his best performance to date. The French Open is the only thing missing in his trophy cabinet. It's the most unpredictable major event, where luck plays a part. It might happen this summer.
Bob and Mike Bryan almost completed a calendar Grand Slam. Tennis fans would wonder why there was no increase in prize money in men's doubles, as some matches are more entertaining than the singles (matches). The Bryan Brothers broke many records, such that their performance inspired others. It's an event field during the past year and a half, and no one can predict the gold medal winner in Rio.
Rafael Nadal wins his ninth French Open title. Some French fans may not miss the image of Nadal hoisting the Coupe des Mousquetaires, but they have to wait for a generation or two before another player surpasses his record of nine French Open titles. It will require a Herculean effort to be dominant in the clay court, and the Spaniard did that. Alas, it took a toll in his body. (Nadal lost to Djokovic in the quarterfinals last year.) No one can tell if he regains his winning ways.
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