Along this great voyage of life we all take, there are moments of bliss and happiness, as well as tough times of despair and hopelessness. The realm of professional tennis takes these highs with the lows. With increasing ticket sales and thus more money for pro tennis players, times have never been better, but with a generational shift slowly pushing out some of our favorite established stars, sad endings are coming upon us. Here are 20 of the best and worst tennis moments during 2014:
1. (Best) – New stars forming – The likes of Eugenie Bouchard, Kei Nishikori, Marin Cilic, Milos Raonic, Simona Halep, and Cici Bellis are beginning to truly compete against the established stars, bringing exciting faces and bold new styles of play to the game. Tomorrow will be a great time for tennis indeed!
2. (Worst) – Li Na of China Retires – Just 32 and coming off of her 2014 Australian Open title, the Chinese star was at the height of her game. However, by the summertime she had sustained a bad knee injury, and decided to call quits on her career in September.
3. (Best) – Cici Bellis wins a US Open match – At just 15, she became the youngest player to win a U.S. Open match in 18 years, defeating the 13th ranked Dominika Cibulkova.
4. (Worst) – Serena Williams pulls out of the BNP Paribas Open – Having refused to play in the Indian Wells tournament for over a decade due to a racially charged incident in 2001, Serena was all set to return in 2014, only to pull out in the weeks leading up to the event.
5. (Best) – Marin Cilic wins first Grand Slam – The towering Croatian conquered the 2014 US Open, paving the way for a major challenge of the “Big Four” and the first major title of his career.
6. (Worst) – Agnieszka Radwanska still can’t win a Grand Slam – Having been a top 5 ranked player for several years, one would think the Polish star would have taken a major title by now. Unfortunately, she continues to keep us waiting…
7. (Best) – WTA expands to Singapore with 10 year contract – The WTA Finals took place in Singapore to great success this year. Also, a fabulous WTA media deal will help increase women’s tennis exposure throughout the world!
8. (Worst) – Serena Pulls out of Wimbledon with “bug” – Something was clearly wrong with the world #1 woman as she bumbled through a Wimbledon doubles match before quitting the tournament. She had even surprisingly lost in just the third round of the singles tournament. Fortunately, her health returned shortly.
9. (Best) – Maria Sharapova wins her second French Open – Despite being ranked near the top of women’s tennis players for years, the Russian star hadn’t won a Grand Slam since 2012. Claiming the 2014 French Open, she returned to the top of the game!
10. (Worst) – Peng Shuai of China collapses on court – In the semifinals of the US Open, Shuai fell over after suffering from extreme heat. Incredibly she returned only to collapse again. John McEnroe was quite critical of the health team’s response.
11. (Best) – Stanislas Wawrinka claims Australian Open – Some things get better with age, including this Swiss star who finally captured a Grand Slam at 28. This victory broke the “Big Four’s” run of majors that had lasted since 2009!
12. (Worst) – Injuries plagues Rafael Nadal – Starting with him pulling out of the Aussie Open Final, injuries continued to slow down the tremendous Spaniard. While he did still claim his annual French Open title, his absences are disheartening.
13. (Best) – Simona Halep reached French Open Final – Though she fell to Sharapova in the Final, Halep had a breakthrough year, making deep runs at several Grand Slam events, cementing herself as one of tennis’ rising stars.
14. (Worst) – Victoria Azarenka’s injuries continue – Despite recently claiming two straight Australian Opens, Azarenka’s 2014 was blighted by a foot injury. Still competitive while healthy, she’ll be looking for a return to form in 2015.
15. (Best) – Eugenie Bouchard & Milos Raonic become the first Canadians to reach Wimbledon semi-finals – Canada has never been known for tennis stars, but that’s all set to change. These two youngsters are among the top prospects in the sport!
16. (Worst) – Roger Federer failed to win a Grand Slam – The living legend hasn’t won a major title since 2012, and though he came close at the Wimbledon Final, he wasn’t able to seal the deal. Will he win another?
17. (Best) – Petra Kvitova wins Wimbledon – With a tremendous lefty shot, the Czech star took Wimbledon and has set the stage for an exciting career. Expect great things to come.
18. (Worst) – Tommy Haas’ career is threatened by injury – Still competing at age 36, the German had a nasty shoulder injury that took him down for much of the year. While he hopes to return in 2015, father time is surely beckoning…
19. (Best) – Novak Djokovic takes Wimbledon – Winning the 5-set thriller, the Serbian world #1 closed the gap in his all-time record against Federer and asserted his top position in men’s tennis.
20 (Worst) – Federer and Djokovic lose in US Open semifinals – While it’s great to see young stars succeed at majors, we would have all loved a Federer-Djokovic Wimbledon rematch in the US Open Final. Both lost in the semifinals. Nevertheless, the pair met in London for the ATP World Tour Finals, where Djokovic won and claimed the title.
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