2012 was a unique year in tennis history—seven different singles champions of a possible eight. It has not happened in recent times that the competition on the men's as well as women's side has been so open.
Serena Williams can be called as the spoilsport by being the only player to have won two Slams this year. Other than her, there were four gentlemen and two ladies who won one tournament each.
The jury is still out whether a fifth slam is required, but this year, the fans had the Olympics as one of the "Other Major." Coming just after the Wimbledon Championships were completed, the Olympics provided an additional complexity in the already hectic schedule of the players.
Let us revisit the champions in the four Slams this year, not only in the singles category but in the three doubles categories as well.
Leander Paes was denied a second Australian Open trophy by the pair of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Horia Tecau in the final.
The duo won the title by defeating Paes and Elena Vesnina 6-3, 5-7, [10–3].
Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi won the mixed doubles, defeating Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Santiago González in the final 7-6, 6-1
Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond won the mixed doubles, defeating Leander Paes and Elena Vesnina in the final 6–3, 5–7, 6–4.
Mike and Lisa would try to repeat this in the Olympics competition in vain.
For Leander and Elena, this was the second loss in the final of the Grand Slam tournament in 2012.
Ekaterina Makarova and Bruno Soares won the US Open mixed doubles, defeating Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski in the final 6–7(8–10), 6–1, [12–10].
It was a wonderful feeling seeing the unheralded pairing reach the finals and then win the trophy.
Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva won the final, defeating the Italian duo of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
Gone are the days when Kuznetsova would be a formidable opponent on the singles court. She is happy winning the spoils on the doubles court now.
Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci lost in the Australian Open doubles final, but they were not to be denied here.
The duo defeated Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova in the final by 4–6, 6–4, 6–2.
We will win twice in Wimbledon!
The Williams sisters defeated Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in the final 7–5, 6–4
They would repeat the feat in the Olympics as well. A class apart, aren't they?
Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci defeated Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in the final 6–4, 6–2.
Overall, this win made it two Slams and one final for the year of 2012. No prizes for guessing who was the best on the women's doubles circuit.
Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek won the men's doubles at the first Slam of the year, defeating the Bryan brothers 7-6, 6–2
It was a career Slam for Leander while Stepanek won his first.
By beating the Bryan twins, both Leander and Stepanek cemented their partnership for the rest of the year as one to watch out for.
The Bryan brothers would be refused once again but by the new combination of Mirnyi and Nestor.
Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor won the doubles trophy, defeating the Bryan brothers in the final 6-4, 6-4.
It was not Andy Murray who won the Grand Slam tournament first this year. The record goes to his brother, Jonathan, at his home Slam in front of the same crowd who would watch Andy falter against Federer.
Jonathan Murray and Frederik Nielsen defeated Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau in the Wimbledon final 4–6, 6–4, 7–6(7–5), 6–7(5–7), 6–3 to win the trophy.
Bob and Mike Bryan defeated Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek in the finals 6–3, 6–4 to win their first Slam of the year.
The year ended well for the twins after they won the Olympics gold as well as the U.S. Open, while Paes and Stepanek started with a Slam but ended with a finalist!
How the world turns, doesn't it!!
It was a dominating performance by Azarenka, who claimed the No.1 ranking as a result of the win
Azarenka thrashed Sharapova in the final and showed her class, while in the subsequent part of the year she would reach the finals of the US Open and give Serena Williams a close fight.
After losing in the Australian Open finals, Maria was unstoppable in the French.
Against an unexpected opponent (Sara Errani), Maria gave the dose she herself had received in Australia in the final.
Maria Sharapova completed a career Slam by winning the French Open, defeating Sara Errani 6–3, 6–2 in the final.
Would this give Maria the much-needed respect to her overall record?
Serena Williams won the singles trophy, defeating Agnieszka Radwanska 6–1, 5–7, 6–2 in the final.
It was the fifth Wimbledon title for Serena, tying her sister's record here.
If Serena's form and concentration is reined in, only injuries can stop her from winning every tournament that she enters in.
No one else can stop her. That is a worrying thought for the rest of the WTA Tour girls.
Her wins have become closer than she's used to. But the fact is that she is still winning. By a long way!
It is that woman once again—Serena Williams. Defeating the first Slam winner of the year (Victoria Azarenka) 6–2, 2–6, 7–5, Serena made it a glorious year for herself.
It was the sixth final and fourth win in the tournament for Serena.
This win meant that Serena had won the Wimbledon and Olympics gold as well as the U.S. Open tournament.
The next focus for Serena would be to win the Australian and French Open in 2013 to complete a Grand Slam sweep.
Better still, she should try to get a calendar Slam like Steffi Graf in 1988.
Only one can stop her, probably two. Who? The Williams sisters!
Djokovic won a marathon match against Rafael Nadal in the final of the Australian Open 5–7, 6–4, 6–2, 6–7, 7–5
This was easily the longest final in history, and Djokovic relied on all the tricks in his sleeve to win the final.
The third Australian Open as well as the fifth Grand Slam for Djokovic, this win drained out the players by the end of the match.
By winning this, Djokovic held three Slams (including 2011 Wimbledon and U.S. Open).
Could he win a fourth in Roland Garros?
How many times have I done this now?
Rafael Nadal extended his reign over the Roland Garros by one more year, defeating Novak Djokovic in the final 6–4, 6–3, 2–6, 7–5
For the seventh time in eight years, Nadal won the French Open title by defeating the No.1 Djokovic.
Bjorn Borg's record of maximum number of titles was erased by Nadal, but what impact the run had on his body was still unknown to most of the tennis fans.
Nadal would lose early in Wimbledon and then not pick his racquet again for the rest of the year.
It would be a pity if Nadal cannot regain his past glory, but let us hope he recovers soon enough.
Roger Federer regained the Wimbledon title as well as his No.1 ranking by defeating local favourite Andy Murray in the final 4–6, 7–5, 6–3, 6–4
Federer thus equalled the record of seven titles on the hallowed greens and then went past the records of his friend Sampras as the one with the maximum number of weeks as No.1.
It was Roger's 17th Grand Slam title as well as his 75th career title.
Is No. 17 going to be an unbeatable record? Time will tell, but I will not place my bets on anyone reaching that number in the next five years!
Andy Murray became the first British player in 76 years to win a Grand Slam when he defeated Novak Djokovic in the final, 7–6(12–10), 7–5, 2–6, 3–6, 6–2
After the Wimbledon final loss, Murray capped a great run by winning the Olympics gold as well as the U.S. Open title.
Murray, after his drought-breaking win, gave new hopes to his fans to become the world No.1.
That would have to wait, though, as the current holder (Roger Federer) is no mood to give it up. Neither are the other two from the fabulous quartet at the top!
Nadal won three consecutive Slams before Djokovic took over. Djokovic also won three consecutive Slams before Nadal won.
Will it be Andy's turn to dominate the ATP Tour next year?