The new tennis year could not have begun in a more dramatic manner. It was all about Novak Djokovic and his lack of vaccination. He entered Australia but there was a challenge to his stay from the Australian government. Jockey which one but there was a late appeal just before the Australian Open began. Djokovic lost the appeal and was put in a detention hotel and deported. There was plenty of on court action going on as well. Canada won its first big team event with the ATP Cup defeating Spain 2-0. Due to various restrictions the Aussie summer tour was condensed. In Adelaide, the first tournament there went to Gael Monfils while the second was won by Thanasi Kokkinakis in a very emotional way. It was his first ever title and he did it in his hometown. In Melbourne, Rafa Nadal claimed the Summer Set while Aslan Karatsev won the Sydney Tennis Classic. In the women’s, Ash Barty won Adelaide 1 and Madison Keys won Adelaide 2. In Melbourne, Summer Set 1 saw Simona Halep be supreme while Summmer Set 2 was Amanda Anisimova’s and Sydney was won by Paula Badosa. And after all the Djokovic issues the Australian Open finally began.
This was an Australian Open to remember with some amazing tennis played. Ash Barty became the first Australian woman in 44 years to win the singles crown. She beat Danielle Collins 63 76. It was watched by 4.2 million people on TV in Australia. The men’s final produced tennis that was beyond remarkable. In one of the great comebacks, Nadal rallied from two sets to love down and faced breakpoints and the third to defeat Daniil Medvedev 26 67 64 64 75. Nadal became just the second man in the open era to win all four majors at least twice. It also gave him his 21st major breaking the three-way tie he shared with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. It was epic and a superb Aussie Open.
On the ATP tour Spanish players dominated the month with titles. They won four of the nine – Nadal, Martinez, Alcaraz, Bautista Agut but it was Andrey Rublev who won two events. On the WTA tour six events had six different winners and included Iga Swiatek, Anett Kontaveit and Sloane Stephens.
The tours adopted their traditional joint events again in March – the Sunshine Double. The BNP Paribas Open proved to be a showstopper. In the women’s defending champion Paula Badosa was beaten by Maria Sakkari in the semis 62 46 61 and Iga Swiatek stopped a hurt Simona Hallett 76 64. Swiatek went on to title glory by beating Sakkari 64 61. On the men’s side Taylor Fritz won the biggest title of his life as he upset Rafa Nadal 63 76. Nadal was later diagnosed with a rib fracture. In the semis he beat his countrymen Carlos Alcaraz in a terrific match 64 46 63 while Fritz stopped Andrey Rublev 75 64. A highlight match was the quarter-final between the Nadal and Nick Kyrgios which went 76 57 64 to Rafa.
No sooner had Indian Wells ended and the stunning bombshell news came that Ash Barty announced her retirement at the age of 25. It floored the sports world.
At the Miami Open Carlos Alcaraz delighted the tour with his biggest career victory to date – he defeated Casper Ruud 75 64. Iga Swiatek won the Sunshine Double by beating Naomi Osaka 64 60 and with Barty now retired the Polish player became world No.1.
Stefanos Tsitsipas became only the sixth player to win Monte Carlo in back-to-back years – the last was Rafa Nadal in 2018. He defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 63 76 in the final. But it was a huge week for the Spaniard who upset Novak Djokovic in the second round breaking serve nine times. Djokovic had never experienced that before.
In Charleston, it was victory for Belinda Bencic while in Stuttgart Iga Swiatek beat Aryna Sabalenka. It was Swiatek’s fourth consecutive title and Sabalenka’s second loss in a row in Stuttgart. It was a week that Wimbledon announced bans on Russian and Belarus players and two Russians – Andrey Rublev and Anastacia Potapova won titles – Belgrade and Istanbul.
And there was the fall from grace for Boris Becker who was sent to gaol by a London court for hiding assets after being declared bankrupt in 2017 owing £50 million to creditors. Tragic!
In Madrid, during the week of his 19th birthday Carlos Alcaraz beat Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic in back-to-back three-set matches and became the first to beat both on clay at the same event. Alcaraz, who jumped to No.6, overwhelmed Alexander Zverev 63 61 in the final which ended with two double faults. Zverev was not happy with the mat scheduling having gone to bed at 5:20am after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas. The women’s title in Madrid went to Ons Jabeur over Jessica Pegula. It was Jabeur’s first title at a 1000.
In Rome at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Novak Djokovic won his first title of 2022 defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 60 76. It was his sixth title at the Foro Italico, is 18th on clay, 38 Masters 1000, 87th career title, and 1001st match win. His 1000th was in the semis against Casper Ruud. He is the fifth man in the open era to achieve the 1000 milestone are after Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Rafa Nadal. The women’s title went to Iga Swiatek over Jabeur 62 62. It was Iga’s fifth title of 2022.
Rafa Nadal clocked in his 14th French Open title and record extending 22nd major defeating Casper Ruud in a one-sided match 63 63 60. It was Ruud’s first major final. Nadal won the semi over Alexander Zverev – it was a tight match till Zverev retired when he rolled his ankle and at 76 66. Ruud beat Marin Cilic in four sets. Rafa had accounted for Novak Djokovic in four sets in the quarters.
The women’s final was also convincing as Iga Swiatek continued her winning streak and won her second Roland Garros 61 63 over Coco Gauff who was in her first major final. Swiatek had beaten Daria Kasatkina in the semis while Gauff overcame Martina Trevisan.
It was a pretty good French Open with crazy late nights.
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2024-01-15 / 2024-01-28
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BNP Paribas Open - ATP
2023-03-08 / 2023-03-19
2023-03-22 / 2023-04-02
2023-04-09 / 2023-04-16
2023-04-25 / 2023-05-07
Internazionali BNL d'Italia
2023-05-10 / 2023-05-21
BNP Paribas Open - WTA
2023-03-08 / 2023-03-19