2023 Tennis Year in Review Part2

Dec 14, 2023, 12:02:56 AM | by Craig Gabriel

2023 Tennis Year in Review Part2
Last week we had part one of our Year in Review for 2023, now Craig Gabriel looks back on the second half of the season, July to December.


July

June and been hot and dry in London but when Wimbledon started the rain decided to make its presence felt and The Championships were put under pressure with a lot of suspended matches. The AELTC needs to look at the start times for Centre Court and Court 1 in an effort to avoid the disruptions that were experienced yet again when the weather turns in London.

The men’s final was a classic as Carlos Alcaraz rebounded to beat Novak Djokovic 16 76 61 36 64 to be the third youngest winner and the youngest since 2010. He denied Djokovic equalling Roger Federer’s eight Wimbledon titles, Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 majors and he was stopped from being the third man in the open era to win five consecutive Wimbledons.

Alcatraz was amazing. He beat Holger Rune, Daniil Medvedev and Djokovic in back-to-back matches to hold the gold Challenge Cup.

The women’s was a big surprise as Czech lefty Marketa Vondrusova beat Ons Jabeur 64 64. Jabeur was in her second consecutive final while Vondrousova couldn’t play in 2022 as her left wrist was in a plaster cast. She was a tourist in London and got married instead. She was the first unseeded women’s finalist since Billie Jean Moffat in 1963 and became the first ever unseeded women’s champion at Wimbledon.

August

Jannik Sinner won his first career ATP Masters 1000 when he claimed Toronto defeating Alex De Minaur in the final 64 61. Top seed Carlos Alcatraz lost to Tommy Paul and De Minaur upset second seed Daniil Medvedev. During the same week in Montréal at the women’s Canadian open Jessica Pegler demolished Ludmilla Samson on over 61 60. Samsonova had beaten Elena Rybakina in in the semis.

The following week in Cincinnati Coco Gauff won the biggest title of her career by beating Karolina Muchova 63 64. Gauff scored her first win over Iga Swiatek in the semis and Muchova upset Aryna Sabalenka in the semis.

In the Cincy men’s, Novak Djokovic played in the USA for the first time since 2021 and won the title by beating Carlos Alcatraz 57 76 76 in probably the best match of the year. It was gripping drama all the way with an atmosphere that was breathtaking. This was tennis at its absolute finest and mesmerising.

September

The month was dominated by the U.S. Open and the late, late nights. Alexander Zverev beat Jannik Sinner in a worthy five set thriller. Carlos Alcatraz who was defending a major for the first time, fell to Daniel Medvedev’s in the semis in four sets, while Novak Djokovic mocked Ben Shelton’s “hang up the phone routine” after beating the young American in the semis. Djokovic went on to beat Medvedev in the final and made history by winning at 24th major and equalling Margaret Court’s all-time record.

There was celebration in the women’s as Coco Gauff won her first major with a come from behind win over Aryna Sabalenka 26 63 62, but Sabalenka did take over the world number one ranking when Iga Swiatek crashed in the fourth round to Jelena Ostapenko 61 in the third.

Later in the month the Laver Cup convincingly won by Team World over Team Europe for the second year in a row. 

It was sad news for Simona Halep who was officially suspended for four years. She was found guilty of consuming a banned substance.

October

The Rolex Shanghai Masters is the biggest event of the month and it returned for the first time since 2019 and started a “new era” as a 12 day, 96 draw tournament. Herbert Hurkacz won his second career Masters 1000 defeating Andrey Rublev who was trying to win a second Masters 1000 in 2023, 63 36 76. The Pole saved match point and it marked the first time since 2012 when Novak Djokovic saved five match points against Andy Murray, that the Shanghai final ended in such a manner.

November

The year-end women’s championships the WTA finals was won by Iga Swiatek in 59 minutes 61 60 over Jessica Pegula with Swiatek winning over $3 million. She was undefeated in the round robin and didn’t drop a set, but the tournament was highlighted by poor WTA organisation, weather, last-minute decisions to stage it in Cancun. The players were furious – every one of them. It was a poor advertisement for women’s tennis.

The Rolex Paris Masters was won by Novak Djokovic over Grigor Dimitrov 64 63. Grigor was emotional at the end and Novak showed his softer side. For Novak it was career title 97, Masters 1000 40 and seventh at Bercy from nine finals. It’s the second time he’s scored the Paris double in the same year.

And to the ATP Finals in Turin and it was Novak Djokovic again. He defeated Jannick Sinner 63 63 in the final one is for a record-breaking seventh time. Djokovic nearly didn’t make it – he lost to Sinner in the round-robin in one of the year’s best matches after being up a break in the final set. Sinner went into the final undefeated, but had he lost to Holger Rune in his last round-robin match Djokovic would not have made the semis.

The Davis Cup Final 8 in Malaga was terrific as Italy led by Jannik Sinner beat Australia 2-0 in the final. It was Italy’s second ever Davis Cup title and came 47 years after the first in 1976. 

Canada the defending champions lost in their first tie and last year’s finalists Australia just survived over the Czechs. Finland had its best ever run making its first semi against the Aussies. Italy beat Serbia in the semis and again the highlight was Sinner beating Djokovic – this time from three match point down in one of the best wins of his young career. 

It was only the fourth time Djokovic lost a match after holding match points and again it was another brilliant match. The tie went down to the doubles and Djokovic lost to the same player (Sinner) twice in a day and a second time in less than two weeks. But one consolation for the Serb is that he crossed 400 weeks at number one.

December

The last event of the year was the Next Gen ATP Finals and young Hamad Medjedovic became the champion defeating his friend Arthur Fils.

The 2023 tennis year and now drawn to a close.