How do you think 2008 will be remembered years from now...
Will it be the year that Roger won an Olympic Gold and his fifth consecutive Us Open title?
Will it be the year where Nadal finally got the no.1 rank and won his first Wimbledon title
Maybe the year that began and ended with two unbelievable wins for Novak Djokovic?
The year that saw the rise of Andy Murray?..
Well, all that and much much more happened this year,it was just a year full of emotions, full of ups and downs, full of unexpected events...
The tennis season started with Roger declaring his infection with mononucleosis,and so he wasn't able to defend his title at the Australian Open and this title just went to Novak Djokovic.
Djoko was the rising star at the begining of 2008,after getting a grand slam under his belt he won Indiam wells, got to the semifinal of Dubai, won Rome Masters and then had consecutive chances to clinch the second rank in Rafa at the semifinal of Hamburg and Roand Garros, but maybe the fact that those chance came to him on Clay courts where Rafa is the absolute Favourite to win didn'r help him much.
After Rome, it was Rafa's time, the young Spaniard has proven once again that he earned the title "King of Clay" winning Montecarlo, Barcelona, Hamburg and his fourth consecutive Roland Garros title.
But it was Wimbledon that turned things upside down, it was just a breaking point of the season, I know you would expect me to talk about what is called: "The Best Final Ever" but I think too many words have been said trying to describe what is truly a Masterpiece.
Of course, being a Roger fan, it still hurts to remember that moment when Wimbledon was no longer ours but the battle we witnessed in that final just promises us many more great Roger-Rafa finals.
Actually the match I want to highlight at Wimbledon is Murray vs Gasquet! Murray fighting back after being two sets down just fired a new tennis spirit into him,from that match on, Murray never looked back. On the contrary he improved his game and became one of the most fit players around to end the year winning five titles: Doha, Marseille, Cincinnati, and Madrid masters and St. Petersburg.
As I said, I can just draw a line using Wimbledon to separate a season into a first half pretty much dominated by Djoko then Rafa..,and a second half where we started hearing realatively new names as Gilles Simon, Del Potro, Tsonga, Murray, and Cilic.
I think that the fact that spotlights were taken just a bit from Roger and Rafa made people realize that there are some new talents in the making, a new generation immune to Roger and Rafa, a hybrid where you can find a vast group of talents, the great serve, the precise FH, the double handed controllable BH, the great net performance, the fitness.
They have it all. It is such generation that makes us hopeful for more great interesting years to come for tennis.
So what does 2009 hold for us?
Actally, very tough to predict, but I am sure that it will be a very interesting season specially that each player has many aims and hopes this year.
I personally expect that the Roger-Rafa fight will be still going on, Roger wanting to take his rank back, win Wimbledon again and break Pete's record.
Rafa,on the other hand, will be trying to keep the rank, win his 5th Roland Garros and try to improve where is most weak: hard courts.
Djoko and Murray will have a new fight of their own too. Both are young, fit, talented and want to prove that they can join Roger and Rafa up there in the rankings.
Other players to keep an eye on
Del Potro: It will be interesting to see what the young Argentinian is ready to offer after winning four titles: Stuttgart, Kitzbuhel, Los Angeles, and Washington and ending the season as the world's No. 8.
Gilles Simon: Though I am still not convinced that he is the world No. 9, but if he improved his game I think he will be able to do something in 2009.
I mean he is still in the making phase and all he is known for is that he has a 2-0 lead over Roger and he was the one who has beaten Nadal in front of his home crowd at Madrid.
Ernests Gulbis and Marin Cilic: Two rising stars that just need some luck in the draw, I mean they always fall infront of Roger, Rafa, or Djoko at early rounds, and so they can't advamce in the Rank, but both are definitely talented with a great future to come..
Bottom line: You don't want to miss it...