The 2015 tennis year was certainly memorable; one player made all four finals at the majors and two players won three of the four. On the men’s side a player other than Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal ended the year No.2 for the first time since 2004, while in the women’s one started the year outside the top 20 and stunningly ended the season among the top three players.
Djokovic and Serena Williams won three of the four majors – Novak took the Australian, Wimbledon and US Open while Serena was on track for the calendar year Grand Slam (which she did not want to talk about) but fell at the last hurdle, in the semis in New York, a result she can’t quite bring herself to actually mention. If one was asked to tip the scales for one of those two players as having a better season, it would probably go to Djokovic as he was also a finalist at Roland Garros.
Djokovic clinched the year-end No.1 ranking for the fourth time in five years while Williams claimed that spot for the third straight year and the fifth time overall.
Federer, at 34, made history by becoming the oldest man to finish in the top three since the computer rankings began in August, 1973. Interestingly in the men’s game the average age of the top ten was about 30 years two months and that is also the oldest since the computer rankings started. It also marked only the second time (the last was 1974) that the top ten hosted five players aged 30 or over in the year-end list.
Murray clinched the No.2 ranking spot for the season-ender for the first time. That sport went right down to the wire as Federer was still in with a chance till he lost the final of the ATP World Tour Finals. Other than the “Mega Three”, Murray was the first since Andy Roddick to reach No.2 for the year-end.
Simona Halep ended the year No.2 for the first time but really it was Garbine Muguruza who was even more of a stand-out because she finished at No.3 which no one would have predicted at the start of 2015.
On the ATP World Tour 39 countries are represented in the year-end top 100, breaking the previous record of 37 from 2010-11; Spain dominated with 15 players. On the WTA there are 33 countries in the top 100 and the USA led the way with 17 players. There are seven nations represented in the men’s top ten with Switzerland, Spain and France having multiples and with the women there are eight nations in the top ten, USA and Czech Republic double up.
Ivo Karlovic at 36 and Alexander Zverev at 18 are the oldest and youngest in the men’s top 100 while Venus Williams at 35 (she also broke back into the top ten for the first time since 2011) and Ana Konjuh at 17 fill those positions in the women’s game. This year also marked the most teenagers, four, in the men’s top 100 since 2007.
In doubles, Jean-Julien Rojer & Horia Tecau finish the season as the No. 1 team for the first time, ending Bob & Mike Bryan’s run of six straight year-end No. 1 finishes, while individually, Marcelo Melo becomes the first Brazilian player to hold the No. 1 doubles ranking.
For Flavia Pennetta 2015 will be a year she will never forget. She announced her retirement after winning the US Open but it also means it’s the first and last time she will be in the year-end top ten. Her boyfriend Fabio Fognini holds the best combined singles and doubles ranking which would be 31 – ten in doubles and 21 in singles.