The Year in Review 2021 - Part Two

Dec 29, 2021, 3:52:18 AM | by Craig Gabriel

The 2021 season continued with changes and schedules being adjusted and unfortunately tournaments were still suffering cancellation but at least there were several events that happened including all the season-enders. Craig Gabriel concludes his two-part look back on the year.


The Championships had started in June with poor weather but by the end it was an event full of history but also many frustrations because of Covid regulations. By the end it was operating at 100% crowds compared to 50% at Wimbledon’s start. 

Novak Djokovic reigned supreme – his third straight title, his sixth overall and 20th major tying Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal. He defeated Matteo Berrettini in the final 67 64 64 63 – he was the first Italian to reach a Wimbledon singles final. Djokovic beat Denis Shapovalov and Berrettini stopped Hubert Hurkacz who had beaten Roger Federer.

The women’s was historic as well as Ash Barty beat Karolina Pliskova 63 67 64 after winning the first 14 points of the match. Barty was the first Aussie woman since Evonne Goolagong in 1980 to win and it was 50 years since Evonne won the title for the first time.


Then it was the Olympics and Alexander Zverev claimed gold by beating Karen Khachanov in the final with Pablo Carreno Busta getting the bronze. Novak Djokovic lost to Zverev after leading by a set and a break and flung his racquet into the stands. The women’s singles gold went to Belinda Bencic who beat Marketa Vondrousova and Elina Svitolina won bronze.

The North American swing brought titles to Daniil Medvedev in Toronto and Camila Giorgi in Montreal. In Cincinnati Alexander Zverev beat Andrey Rublev in the final but his win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semis was one of the best matches of the year. Ash Barty claimed the women’s over Jil Teichmann.

History shows that history did not take place at the US Open. Novak Djokovic was in line to win the Grand Slam. He had won 27 straight matches at the majors in 2021 but in his 28th match the pressure hit, and he could not produce enough, and Daniil Medvedev scored his first major 64 64 64 as scenes of Djokovic sobbing were etched in minds.

The women’s final was the story of the year as Emma Raducanu who came through qualifying and then defeated Leylah Fernandez 64 63. She did not lose more than four games in any one set. It was the Cinderella story of tennis.


The fourth edition of the Laver Cup was played in Boston and won for the fourth time by Team Europe over Team World.

The BNP Paribas Open returned to the calendar in a special fall edition with some incredible matches and Vika Azarenka was involved the two best; the semi against Jelena Ostapenko and then the final against Paula Badosa which the Spaniard won 76 26 76. It was the women’s match of the year.

In eh men’s Cam Norrie was the surprise champion beating surprise finalists Nikoloz Basilashvili 36 64 61 with a match to remember being Grigor Dimitrov’s 46 64 63 result over Daniil Medvedev.

This was one of the busiest months of the tennis year. Novak Djokovic won the Rolex Bercy Masters beating Daniil Medvedev. When Djokovic beat Hubert Hurkacz in the semis, he sealed the year-end No.1 ranking for a record seventh time. It was a record 37th Masters 1000 title for him too.

The WTA Championships were moved to Guadalajara and was won by Garbine Muguruza over Anett Kontaveit. She was the first Spaniard to win the event.

The Billie Jean King Cup (formerly known as Fed Cup) was won by Russia, 2-0 over Switzerland.


The ATP Finals were played in Turin for the first time and for the second time it was won by Alexander Zverev who beat Medvedev, the defending champion.

The new format of the Davis Cup has started in November in three cities – Madrid, Turin and Innsbruck.  It concluded on 5th December, as did the tennis year, in Madrid with Russia defeating Croatia 2-0. Andrey Rublev beat Borna Gojo (the discovery of the series) 64 76 and then Daniil Medvedev beat Marin Cilic 76 62. This was Russia’s first Davis Cup title since 2006.

Another tennis year, an eventful one at that, drew to a close.