Right up to the very last moment, the final of the ATP World Tour Finals, three players were certainly in contention for “Player of the Year” honours in the men’s game. Serena Williams, from the majority of...
Right up to the very last moment, the final of the ATP World Tour Finals, three players were certainly in contention for “Player of the Year” honours in the men’s game. Serena Williams, from the majority of accounts, and rightly so, wears that crown for women’s tennis in 2012 even though she is ranked three in the world and Victoria Azarenka is at No.1. For the men, the battle was between Novak Djokovic who sealed the year-end world No.1 ranking, Roger Federer and Andy Murray. Rafael Nadal had enjoyed another wonderful first half of the year by scoring a record-breaking seventh French Open and reaching the Australian Open final, as the two main highlights, but his absence after Paris pretty much ruled him out of contention. Ask Djokovic if he should be regarded as the player of the year and he’d say: “Thank you for a very easy question (sarcastically).  I need to be modest here and just say that I'll leave the judgment about who is the best player of the year for you to say. I can't really say what you value more. Just being No. 1 of the world at the end of the year means the world to me. That's enough.” The judgement was simple. It pretty much came down to whoever won the ATP World Tour Finals was going to carry the title of Player of the Year. “I reflect (on 2012) in a nice way,” said Federer. “I think it's been a fantastic season to be part of.  Four different Grand Slam champs.  Then having the Olympics, as well, was obviously very unique.  I'm very happy I stayed injury free throughout.  That allowed me to basically play a full schedule almost.” Djokovic won the Australian Open and reached the finals at Roland Garros and the US Open. Nadal won Paris and was runner-up in Melbourne. Federer captured Wimbledon for his17th career Slam and regained the world No.1 ranking while Murray won Olympic gold and the US Open and made the Wimbledon final. I fully appreciate that there are a lot of other events and they have been considered but these are the highlights “Well, wow.  It's interesting analysis there in facts.  It's a great year for the sport, for sure,” Djokovic added. “Not to repeat myself, but it's been a very successful year for four players in particular. It was a very even year. “I cannot choose between these four successes. But one thing is for sure, and that is that tennis is becoming more popular globally and that we are attracting more attention because of the rivalries we have and the competitiveness that is present in this moment.” It was a year that delighted Murray no end and so much of the credit goes to Ivan Lendl and Murray referred to it as “an incredibly positive year”. “It's been the best year of my career by a mile,” declared Murray. “So why I would look back on that negatively now would be silly because I've achieved things I've never achieved before. I have to look back on it positively.  If I don't, then that would be worrying.” However, with Djokovic winning in London the scales tipped very much to him being the player of the year. It is very difficult to go past him. “It means a lot for my team and myself that we've been working very hard and we knew how much commitment and dedication is required in order to achieve such great success,” Djokovic said. “We have always great hopes and great goals for the upcoming seasons, and this is definitely going to be a strong wind in my back.  This season it's going to help me to get better on the court to try to win as many big tournaments as possible.”