Roundtable: ATP year in review
With the Davis Cup final now in the books, the sanctioned tennis events of the season are over. It was a memorable year on the ATP Tour. Andy Murray finally broke through for his first major, at the U.S. Open; Rafael Nadal won a record seventh French Open title before falling in a historic upset at Wimbledon and succumbing again to a knee injury; and Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic exchanged the No. 1 ranking. SI.com's tennis writers reflect on the ATP season that was. (Click here for the SI.com WTA roundtable.)
Who is your ATP Player of the Year→
As a result, these coveted honors -- world ranking, Player of the Year -- have as much to do with Madrid and the month of November as the Grand Slam events. So credit Djokovic for winning this marathon, convincingly, in a manner reminiscent of Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors in their relentless, year-round pursuit of world domination. He is definitely the man.
We were waiting for Djokovic to crash and burn in 2012 after his massive 2011 season. Everyone knew he couldn't meet those expectations, and yet his performance was gauged against it regardless. Under that specter, Djokovic showed his quality week in and week out. He could have gone negative after Nadal got the better of him on clay, Federer on grass and Murray at the Olympics. But he remained resilient and finished his year with six titles, including a win over Murray in the Shanghai final and victories against both Murray and Federer at the season-ending championships. He's the only man to make three Slam finals this year, tied Federer for the lead in Masters shields with three and retook the No. 1 ranking at the end of the year.
Is Federer the greatest of all time→
As Federer solidified his grasp on Wimbledon dominance, Laver could hardly contain his admiration. Here was the same brand of champion, only faced with a deeper men's field, more variety in the Grand Slam surfaces and a greater test of hand-eye coordination. Modern-day tennis looks like a video game when measured against those classic films from the '50s and '60s. In the case of both men, however, there are no flaws, no "what ifs" on the résumé. For my money, they go down as equals.
Has Andy Murray officially joined the elite→
How will Nadal bounce back in 2013→
What's the biggest disappointment of 2012→ Biggest surprise→
If we want a more traditional underachiever-as-disappointment, a vote here for Bernard Tomic. It's not just that Tomic -- who reached the Wimbledon quarters as a teenager -- put up results like these and is now out of the top 50. It's that his comportment was often lacking. He has often acted like a juvenile. He sometimes offered something less than wholehearted efforts (take a bow whoever coined the nickname: Tomic the Tank Engine). He had a standing date, it seemed, with local law enforcement. The good news: He's young, he'll learn and with any luck, this too shall pass.
Biggest surprise→ Rosol defeating Nadal at Wimbledon. We know Nadal wasn't 100 percent, but he was savagely beaten into submission by a player "zoning" to such an extreme, he looked like a character from
Surprise: Brian Baker's Cinderella summer. In a year of feel-good stories, Baker's run from April to June was the feel-goodiest of them all. He won the Savannah Challenger to earn a wild card into the French Open; made the final in Nice, France, as a qualifier in his first ATP Tour-level main draw in seven years; reached the second round of the French; and not only qualified for Wimbledon but also backed it up with a run to the fourth round. It was a Hollywood comeback story and so fun to follow.
Bold prediction for 2013