It’s over. The 2011 tennis season is finally over, phew! I would love to give you readers a detailed recap of the 2011 tennis season filled with video highlights, commentary, analysis; and the rest of all those pretty things that other big tennis blogs/sites have to offer. Fortunately this site is not funded by a bigger company nor do I have investors paying me to do what I do, so all you readers get is a gritty recap of 2011 tennis highlights, in my words. Fair enough?
We were introduced to Alexandr Dolgopolov, the skinny shorty from Ukraine. Alexandr’s unusual serve and “balls to the wall” style of play fascinated even the most seasoned tennis spectator. I was amazed by the five foot eleven, long haired player; he certainly has the power to go toe to toe with the top 25 and close out big matches. During his run at the 2011 Aussie, he wowed the world with major victories over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Robin Soderling. I thought for sure the “Dog” would not have the heart to stay calm enough to pull those victories out, though much to my surprise, he did…with a big smile on his face (Alexandr eventually lost to Andy Murray in the quarterfinals). Dolgopolov had a pretty decent year, winning a singles tournament and more importantly, winning the doubles title at Indian Wells. I hope to see more of his awesome tennis skills in 2012, as I’m sure many of you are as well!
The 2011 Australian Open also gave us the beginning of one of the greatest runs I have ever witnessed, you know who I’m talking about…Novak Djokovic’s run. It all started with Nole recapturing the Australian Open title when he easily beat Andy Murray in straight sets. After that, Novak was on cruise control for every single match he played. Djokovic had such a spectacular year, most everybody I spoke with asked me if he was ever going to lose, to which I always said “He will eventually lose, his body can’t take that much work.” Eventually he did lose, his first of six other losses for the 2011 tennis season; his body give out, shoulder and back, but boy oh boy was that a run! I guarantee many books will be written about Novak Djokovic’s 2011 tennis season.
Moving right along, I watched Roger Federer hang in there and drop down to ATP world #4. That’s not to discredit his many accomplishments, finals appearances, semifinal appearances, and end the year performances; winning Doha, Basel, Paris, and the year end ATP World Tour Finals. Roger also was the 2011 runner up at Roland Garros (French Open), and lost an epic semifinal at the US Open; just because Federer did not win a major title in 2011 does not mean that he didn’t have a great year, right?
I saw Serena Williams start her comeback, after a year long injury timeout, win a couple of opening matches, you know, to get her rhythm back. Of course all of her comeback accomplishments were overshadowed by her 2011 US Open finals performance; it was the “COME ON!!!!” heard around the world. Serena Williams really put her foot in her mouth with the immature way she handled the call from the chair umpire that shocked plenty of us. There really isn’t any excuse for her actions but that’s not important, what is really important is how Aussie Samantha Stosur kept her cool and just kept on. Sammy eventually won the match, which really made me happy, after all, she has always been a favorite of mine to win a major.
Probably one of the less talked about topics from the 2011 tennis season, is the utter lack of American dominance on the men’s tour. Yeah, we have a couple of fresh young faces, but the truth is, they’re not quite top 3 material. That’s not to say that the young guns will be trying hard for it. I’m just saying that right now, moving into 2012, the American veterans are just that, vets. Roddick had a pretty miserable 2011 season, plagued by injury, piss poor attitudes towards officials, and just all around not really having the energy he once did – I’m thinking 2012 retirement plans. The US has John Isner, Sam Querry, Jack Sock, Donald Young, Ryan Harrison, and Ryan Sweeting; however, those guys don’t quite have what it takes to make a break through against the rest of the top 20, I’m just sayin…the US is majorly lacking tennis presence.
What 2011 a good year for tennis? Depends on what part of the world you are from, if you’re from Serbia, then it was the best year for you, the same could be said for those from Spain. I felt like 2011 was a year for “Changing of the guards,” a handful of the top guys could very well be on their way down and out of the rankings. There were moments of greatness, every match that Djokovic won were amazing. There were moments of bewilderment, Serena’s and Roddick’s outbursts (again…). There were also moments of hope, Andy Murray almost won a major – next time I’m sure. Was the 2011 tennis season worth the hundreds of hours I invested watching tennis matches? Was it worth the lack of sleep? Absolutely, I would not trade any tennis season for anything in this world. I can only hope that the 2012 tennis season is even more spectacular and nail biting than it was this year.