Prizes shared but Djokovic and Serena still rule

Fri Dec 19, 2014 2:33pm EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Grand slam titles were shared around like slices of pizza in 2014 but for all the welcome variety Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams ended the year still setting the standard.

For the first time since 1998 the eight grand slam singles trophies on offer were lifted by eight players.

While the four women's champions were existing members of the elite club, Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka and Croatia's Marin Cilic marked the biggest shake-up of men's tennis for a decade with breakthrough victories.

After years spent in the shadow of 17-times grand slam champion and compatriot Roger Federer, Wawrinka came good in Melbourne, beating Djokovic in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and showing no mercy to injured Spaniard Rafa Nadal in the final.

Nadal rebounded to claim a ninth French Open title, but the year was too prove a worrying one for the injury-prone Mallorcan who suffered a shock defeat by Australian teenager Nick Krygios at Wimbledon before a wrist problem and a grumbling appendix restricted him to only seven more matches.

Federer, 33, claimed five titles but was unable to add to his record collection of grand slams.

He came close though. The Swiss maestro went toe to toe with Djokovic for five sets in an epic Wimbledon final, while a few weeks later in New York he looked favorite for the title before being ambushed by the powerful Cilic in the semi.

The door had been opened invitingly by events earlier on that sweltering New York day when Asian trailblazer Kei Nishikori became the first Asian man to reach a grand slam singles final with a stunning defeat of Djokovic.   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia kisses the 2014 ATP World Tour Number 1 Award trophy at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London November 14, 2014. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth