You see them at every tournament. Sweat dripping down their backs, furrowed brows hidden under hats and visors, technologically advanced equipment slung over shoulders as they scurry to the court, eyes darting to and fro waiting for the perfect moment to strike. No, I'm not talking about the players, but the photographers, all of whom endure the elements week in and week out to bring the rest of us the compelling images that defined a year of surprises.
From candid moments in victory and defeat, to split second displays of pure athleticism, here are some of our favorite photographs from 2011.
[slideshow]All photos from AP