Nadal and Williams raise the bar sky high

Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:39pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - A year in which a British man won Wimbledon, Roger Federer's star began to fade and doping reared its ugly head was defined by the dominance of two players - Rafa Nadal and Serena Williams.

Between them they won half of the grand slam singles titles on offer, triumphed at 21 tournaments in total, collected more than 150 match wins and $25 million in prizemoney.

Not bad considering both have battled back from potentially career-ending injuries.

Written off by some when his knee problems returned with a vengeance in June 2012, Nadal launched a comeback in Chile in February that was nothing short of extraordinary.

Playing like a man on a mission Nadal won 10 titles, including the French Open and U.S. Open, and reclaimed the world No.1 ranking for the first time in more than two years.

The Mallorcan was expected to dominate again on clay, which he did, culminating in an eighth Roland Garros title when he beat countryman David Ferrer. But he reached new heights on the hard courts that had proved his Achilles heel.

After beating arch-rival Novak Djokovic on his way to the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Nadal claimed the Cincinnati crown before taking New York by storm, winning the U.S. Open for the second time with victory over Djokovic.

The only blip in a season of 75 match wins and 14 finals from 17 tournaments was at a wildly unpredictable Wimbledon where he lost in round one to Belgium's Steve Darcis.   Continued...

Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal arrives for a news conference before a celebrity poker tournament, the European Poker Tour Charity Challenge, in Prague December 12, 2013. REUTERS/David W Cerny