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2-min read

2017 is the New 2009 - Nostalgia Year For Tennis

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were dominating men’s tennis for the past few years. Six of the eight grand slams in 2015 and 2016 were shared between the pair. Everyone expected 2017 to be the same with the Serbian and the Briton continuing their tussle for supremacy. But Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had different plans.

Yash Bhati | CNN-News18

Updated:December 28, 2017, 3:18 PM IST
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2017 is the New 2009 - Nostalgia Year For Tennis
File Image of Rafael Nadal. (Image: AP)
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Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were dominating men’s tennis for the past few years. Six of the eight grand slams in 2015 and 2016 were shared between the pair. Everyone expected 2017 to be the same with the Serbian and the Briton continuing their tussle for supremacy. But Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had different plans.

Most of us had seemingly written off veterans Federer and Nadal but they bounced in a way that only legends can. After Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray crashed out of the Australian Open in the early rounds, Rafa and Fedex continued their storied rivalry in the finals. It was a moment every tennis fan cherished. Eventually the Swiss Maestro came out on top to win his 18th Grand Slam title.

Even in the women’s section it was a case of old foes revisiting their rivalry. Sisters Serena Williams and Venus Williams battled it out in a women’s singles final for the first time since 2009. It was the first time in the Open Era that two players aged 35 or older were competing in the final of a Grand Slam tournament. In the end Serena won the Australian Open by defeating her sister, Venus and surpassed Steffi Graf's record of 22 grand slam titles in the Open Era.

Then Federer opted to skip the clay court season to prepare for Wimbledon. So it was ‘Clay King’ Nadal’s moment to turn back the clock in his favoured Grand Slam. And that is exactly what he did. Nadal became the first player in Open Era to complete La Decima (the perfect 10) at a single grand slam by decimating Stanislas Wawrinka in the final at Roland Garros.

Wimbledon was also the same story with Roger Federer steamrolling through the opposition. He became the oldest men’s champion in the Open era and that too without dropping a set. In the women’s division, 37-year-old Venus just about missed the chance to become the oldest female Grand Slam champion in the Open era when she lost to Garbine Muguruza in the final.

With all the grand slams till now being dominated by the legends, it all seemed to point towards a Nadal and Federer meeting in the year’s last grand slam, US Open for the first time. This would have been a fitting end to a magnificent 2017 for both the legends. But Federer couldn’t hold up his end of the bargain. He lost out to the resurgent Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals. But there was no stopping Nadal. After struggling in the starting rounds of the tournament, Nadal turned on the magic. No one could stop the Rafa juggernaut. He went on the win the US Open while finishing the year at World Number 1. Not bad for a player who was written off by the critics a few years ago.

The over-30 legends staged a joint comeback this year, showing the nerves of battle hardened warriors. Nadal and Federer went on to sweep all four Grand Slams and end the year atop the ATP rankings (Nadal finished No.1 with Federer behind him). Even Venus returned to the Top 5 this year. With Federer, Nadal and Venus showing top form this season, it looks like all the tennis greats have brought back their best tennis in 2017.

Serena Williams is also due to comeback in 2018 and defend her Australian Open crown, so the question arises. Will 2018 be the sequel to the year of legends?

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| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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