Sport

Pregnancies, babies and new stars: The world of tennis in 2017

2017-12-29 09:13

This was my first year as a fully fledged journalist, and I was fortunate enough to find my calling – writing about tennis.

There were many highlights this year. At some point it felt like all these events were waiting for me before they could happen. In January, one of the greatest athletes of all time, Serena Williams, won her 23rd Singles Grand Slam when she defeated her sister, Venus, at the Australian Open while she was pregnant.

READ: Why Serena Williams is the greatest

Months later she gave birth to a baby girl and married her hubby, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian. The wedding ceremony was attended by big names in the entertainment industry including Jay Z and Beyoncé. Sounds like a fairytale huh?

On the other hand, the world number two in men’s singles tennis, Roger Federer, won quite a number of unexpected titles, including two Grand Slams, taking his tally to 19. Of course his biggest rival, Rafael Nadal, also had a successful year, becoming the world number one for the first time since 2014.

READ: Another epic Nadal vs Federer battle?

Nadal also won two Grand Slams in his favourite – and tenth – French Open and US Open.

READ: Imagine if Anderson actually beats Nadal

On the women side, with Williams’ absence since the Australian Open, the tennis world saw three new champions emerge in every Grand Slam. First was the unseeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia at the French Open then Spanish Garbiñe Muguruza at Wimbledon, Sloane Stephens at the US Open and a number of different number ones.

READ: Women’s tennis in the doldrums

The only South African to reach the US Open was Kevin Anderson.

The biggest highlight for me was when City Press and Kaya FM, through awareness, helped raise R70 000 for 14-year-old tennis player from Soweto, Amukelani Mokone, to play at Wimbledon.

READ: Odds stacked against brilliant Mokone

High-profile sports officials contacted our sports department wanting to help the young player.

READ: Soweto tennis academy in dire need of funding

One thing that I look forward to seeing next year is if the Federer/Nadal battle for dominance will continue.

Also, if Serena Williams will continue where she left off or whether Venus Williams will reach three semifinals of the Grand Slams or even do better.

New stars in tennis include the likes of 20-year-old Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Denis Shapovalov. 


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April 22 2018