THE FOUR MAJOR CHAMPIONS:
The final major of the year is over and the four majors were won by the same two male players. Roger Federer started the season off by winning the Australian Open.
Then it was Rafael Nadal’s turn; as is usual for “the king of clay”, he excelled during the clay court season, claiming three prestigious titles en route to claiming his 10th Roland Garros title. He won three tournaments this year for the 10th time (Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, Barcelona Open and the French Open).
Then Federer reclaimed the spotlight with his stellar play to win Wimbledon, claiming his 19th major title. Nadal had not won a title on hard court since early 2014; thus, while he was having a resurgent season, there were doubts he could win the US Open. When the draw came out and revealed that his current nemesis, Federer, was in the same half of the draw, quite a few Nadal fans may have shuddered at his luck. Yet, while there were obstacles in Nadal’s path, they were equally present in Federer’s path and he lost in the quarterfinals to Juan Martin Del Potro.
To win a major title requires a bit of luck and Nadal got some this year. He contested the final against first time major finalist, Kevin Anderson. While his opponent was potentially dangerous, he had never won a match against Nadal and he was in his first major final. Nadal won the US Open trophy to claim his 16th major title.
While there was predictability on the ATP World Tour; there was unpredictability on the WTA Tour and there would be four different women champions of the major titles. As expected, Serena Williams started the year winning the Australian Open to claim her 23rd major title. Many expected she would dominate the season; however, that was not the case, as soon after Williams announced she was pregnant and would be out for the rest of the year.
Suddenly it was wide open on the WTA Tour and anyone could win a major. There were a few key players that were expected to step up and claim the big titles; however, they faltered along the way. Jelena Ostapenko would surprise many by claiming the French Open title as her first career singles title.
The Wimbledon champion was no surprise though. Garbine Muguruza was a Wimbledon finalist in 2015; thus, she knew what it took to get there again and this time she would not be denied by a Williams. She defeated Venus Williams to claim her 2nd major title.
Which female player would claim the final major title? Once again, many expected a few key players to step up and once again we got an unexpected but pleasant surprise. Certainly no one but the winner could have predicted the outcome. The American women dominated the semifinals; thus for the first time since 2002, we had an all-American final. This time it would be two first time major finalists: Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys. Stephens stunned the world and her opponent to claim the US Open trophy and her 1st major title.
The tennis season officially ends in November, the first week for the women and the third week for the men; thus, there is still time for more unexpected surprises. There is a new crop of young players who have announced their presence; will one or more of them continue to excel for the remainder of the season? Which female and male player will end the season as the number one ranked player of their respective Tour?
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