December 5, 2015
It’s been another incredible year of tennis with so many wonderful moments to choose from.
You’ll all have your personal favourites. Here are our five most memorable moments – in reverse order.
5/ SERENA V SHARAPOVA IN MELBOURNE.
Some of the tennis played in the second set of the Australian Open women’s final was scintillating, as Maria desperately tried to turn the tide and break her seemingly endless losing sequence against Williams.
Serena seemed to have been suffering from illness in the opening set and you wondered whether this was Sharapova’s chance to get ruthless. But that famous Williams warrior spirit prevailed as she took it 6-3.
Back came Maria as the match turned into a war of attrition, full of bruising rallies and sparkling winners. In the end it call came down to a nerve-jangling tie-break – and even though Sharapova won the first point, Williams took the next four and triumphed 7-6 (7-4).
‘I wasn’t the richest of kids but we were rich in spirit,’ Serena said in a memorable post-match speech.
She was destined to win the next two Slams as well, a remarkable achievement.
4/ DJOKOVIC V FEDERER AT WIMBLEDON
The sheer majesty of the Wimbledon final, the grace of Federer and the near perfection of Novak made for a wonderful showpiece at the greatest Slam of them all.
The second set turned into one of the most dramatic and rapturous ever seen at Wimbledon, as the crowd willed Federer back into the match and saw their wishes come true during a truly epic tie-break.
The sheer effort it required to match and temporarily tame the winning machine that is Novak Djokovic eventually took its toll on Federer, however, and he couldn’t hit those heights in the final two sets. Novak deservedly won 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (10-12), 6-4, 6-3.
But just to witness two magnificent champions doing battle on the famous Centre Court was a privilege for all who were there.
3/ MURRAY INSPIRES GB DAVIS CUP TRIUMPH
The Davis Cup final that rounded off the tennis year was an extraordinary event. GB faced Belgium and were expected to win. And yet it never seemed that simple as the Belgians, inspired by the flare of David Goffin, never gave up.
It made for one of the most raucous and joyous sporting atmospheres of the year, as the fans’ sheer love for tennis shone through.
Those who hoped to see history made were not disappointed. The amazing Andy Murray rounded off an awesome eleven Davis Cup victories in the campaign to seal glory for the Brits.
It had been a long time coming. GB hadn’t won the Davis Cup since way back in 1936.
2/ VINCI SHOCKS SERENA AT US OPEN
Ironically, our second-best moment of 2015 involved history not being made. Everyone expected Serena Williams to win the US Open and complete a Calendar Slam for the first time. As it turned out, she didn’t even reach the final.
An Italian woman called Roberta Vinci showed great sporting bravery and spirit to overcome the odds and create one of the biggest shocks of the year.
But it wasn’t just the fearless tennis she played in a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory that made the moment.
It wasn’t just the sparkling way she showed what any player can do when she feels she has absolutely nothing to lose.
No, perhaps most memorable of all was Roberta’s post-match speech, an out-pouring of emotion that charmed the world as she mocked the 300-1 odds against her.
‘Did you hear that? They exaggerated! I won!’
1/ WAWRINKA STUNS NOVAK AT ROLAND GARROS
There was one clear winner, and this year it came at Roland Garros, where recent history had seen a predictable procession of victories and titles for the great Rafael Nadal.
But 2015 was supposed to be the year that Novak Djokovic secured his career Slam, by winning the one big title that had so far eluded him.
Standing in his way was the pugnacious Stan Wawrinka, a dangerous player on his day but not expected to change the script when the final drama was acted out.
The scoreline, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, doesn’t do justice to the explosion of brilliance that launched Wawrinka to unlikely victory. A blend of raw aggression and outrageous optimism led to one stunning winner after another from Stan The Man.
And then the crowd applauded Djokovic, the loser, so warmly that the Serb was moved to tears. Unforgettable stuff.
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