In the world of professional tennis, the year 2023 was filled with excitement, intense rivalries, and stunning performances on the court. From the US Open to Wimbledon, BNP, Miami, and many other tournaments, your favorite tennis pros laid it on all the line as they showcased their skills for a chance at victory. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most memorable matches of the year. We’ll also look at the up-and-comers, those who hung up their hat, and see what’s in store for 2024.
Medvedev’s Masterclass: Denying Carlos Alcaraz a Rematch
One match that left spectators in awe was the semifinal clash between Daniil Medvedev and the young sensation Carlos Alcaraz at the US Open. Medvedev, known for his precision and strategic play, prevented a highly anticipated rematch of the Wimbledon final between Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic. Instead, Medvedev used his impeccable shot placement and remarkable defensive skills to neutralize Alcaraz’s forehands and signature drop-shot. The results were Medvedev defeated Carlos Alcaraz, 7-6(3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. However, Medvedev lost to Nole in straight sets during the finals.
Marathon Match between Tsitsipas and Thiem
It was a roller-coaster match played over two days at Wimbledon between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem. From the moment the first serve was tossed, until the dramatic final-set tie-breaker, it was a match that could have gone either way. At one point, Tsitsipas trailed by a set. But in the morning, after an overnight rain delay the Greek god of tennis took control. Thiem responded with a saved break point early in the fourth, however, a ball that was called long was overruled by the chair umpire leaving the players on-serve. Ultimately, Tsitsipas was able to close out the victory in a three-hour, 55-minute contest where he was cheered on by WTA player and girlfriend Paula Badosa. The end result was Tsitsipas defeated Thiem 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-6(10-8).
Zverev vs. Sinner: A Battle of Power and Stamina
One of the longest matches played in US Open history was between Alexander Zverev and Jannik Sinner. The four-hour, 41-minute battle was played under the lights and in the humidity of New York. Captivating a stadium at full capacity, Zverev, a former US Open finalist, and Sinner, an Italian superstar, engaged in a grueling five-set battle.
Consequently, both players showcased their remarkable skills and determination until the wee hours of the morning. Ultimately Zverev persevered with his massive serve and penetrating groundstrokes, even after a fan was ejected for yelling a phrase that had been removed from the German national anthem for its Nazi reference. The final scores were 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. This is one match that will be remembered as a testament to both players’ resilience and competitive spirit.
Madison Keys’ Sheer Determination
American tennis pro Madison Keys‘ journey at the 2023 US Open was nothing short of extraordinary. Keys, a former finalist at the tournament, demonstrated her court knowledge during her early round matches defeating Arantxa Rus, Yanina Wickmayer, Liudmila Samsonova, Jessica Pegula, and Marketa Vondrousova. During her semi-final match against Aryna Sabalenka, Keys dominated the first set, leaving her opponent with a bagel. Despite being up a break in the second, Keys couldn’t seal the deal and Sabalenka would get the win. Sabalenka served 12 aces and secured a spot in the finals against Coco Gauff.
A Triumph for American Professional Tennis Player: Coco Gauff
Fast-forward two days, and New York spectators witnessed another unforgettable match. The epic showdown was between rising star Coco Gauff and the powerful Sabalenka. Gauff, just 19 years old, had been touted as a future star since her early teens. Fueled by the energetic support of the home crowd, Coco demonstrated her potential by defeating the second seed, Sabalenka, in a thrilling three-set battle. This was Coco’s first WTA career Grand Slam title. It also put her in good company with legendary Black American champions such as Serena Williams and Venus Williams.
Now let’s turn our focus to the professional tennis players that stepped away from the game in 2023.
Professional Pros Retired
Some big names announced their retirement in 2023. For example, John Isner who was former No. 8 in the world, hung up his racquet. The six-foot, 10-inch tall pro is best known for his height and wicked fast serve. He holds the record for hitting the ATP’s fastest “official” serve ever at 157.2 mph (253 km/h) during his first-round 2016 Davis Cup match. He also holds the record for the most aces served, 14,470, as of August 31, 2023, and the longest match ever played during the 2010 Wimbledon Championships. The match lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes.
Eugenie (Genie) Bouchard and Jack Sock traded in their professional tennis gear for pickleball paddles. Likewise, Feliciano Lopez ended his long-time career in June. He took with him several titles including one won during the 2016 Roland Garros with doubles partner Marc Lopez.
Anett Kontaveit retired after reaching a career high of No. 2 in the world. She shared how a degenerative back condition had kept her from performing at her best. Finally, Misaki Doi and CoCo Vandeweghe also decided to leave the game after a string of injuries.
Up-And-Comers to Watch
Here are a few professional tennis pros to watch. They are listed in random order, however, showing great potential and expected to shine in 2024.
Mirra Andreeva has 75 wins on the WTA and is only 16 years old. Anastasia Potapova has earned two career titles one of them last year in Linz. Ukrainian, Marta Kostyuk, is ranked 38 and climbing. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention American sensation, Alycia Parks as a player to watch.
Ben Shelton and Chris Eubanks are also fellow Americans to watch. While the Frenchman Arthur Fils made it to the finals of the Next Gen ATP held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, He lost to Hamad Medjedovic, who is also chasing the leaderboard.
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