Thursday, 21 November 2013

The 2 Best Served Out the Year

Whatever 2013 may have offered us in the way of tennis delights, no one dare deny with a straight face that 3 players stood on a tennis court far beyond the reach of the rest of those wielding racquets in various fashion.  Things will continue to be said and written concerning the place in the game that belongs to Serena Williams, and I am fortunate enough to be among those battling to find the words to adequately describe her eminence.

Today though I pay overdue recognition to the year's dominant 2 male exponents of the wonderful art of tennis ball persuasion.  Although he finished 2013 ranked number 2, Novak Djokovic displayed truck loads of stoicism and wizardry, not losing a single match following the shattering Flushing Meadows result.  For anyone else second prize in New York would be a joy, but of course Nole knows that on hard courts he is best placed to win against Nadal.  Given that he came to the absolute brink of knocking off Rafa in Paris on the surface in which the Spaniard eats and sleeps, another loss in Grand Slam tournament play was doubly agonising.

Rafa, for his part, entered the 2013 fray having missed the Australian Open and doubts still lingered over his ability to withstand a full season with the troublesome knee.  However the only thing troublesome was Rafa himself if you as a player happened to run into him in a tournament draw.  The guy won practically everything - Wimbledon was a blip in proceedings - including 2 of the year's GS titles, making him the best, and Novak was the first to hand him that accolade after the US Open.

The 2 arrived in London for the ATP Tour finale, as the top 2 seeds, and proceeded to demonstrate that to be a true measure of where they sit in Men's tennis.  Cruising through to the semis undefeated in their groups, they had Swiss opponents with which to contend next.  Neither had difficulty - Rafa dispatched Federer as he does most times, and Stan Wawrinka could not contain the excellence and consistency of Djokovic to the same degree he had shown in 2 classic encounters earlier in the year. 

The final was as it should have been in terms of the participants, if not in competitiveness (Djokovic too strong indoors) - both had extraordinary years and one can only hope that the 2012 Australian Open final can be relived in 2014, because these 2 are at the peak of their powers and managing their duties to serve and ancillary obligations so much better than the next tier of players.

2013 belonged to 3 players and Rafa and Nole join Serena to take the chocolates. 

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