Tennis has been played since 1873, giving the sport almost 150 years to debate the identity of its greatest all-time player.
With the curtain coming down on the tennis calendar, I thought it appropriate to reflect on a stellar year for the women’s game.
In 2011, the four slams were won by 4 different players, including the first winner from Asia, Li Na (or is it Na Li?) at the French in June, and the long drought for Aussie women was broken by Samantha Stosur in September at the US Open.
At the Australian Open in January, Stosur was beaten in the third round by the somewhat unheralded Petra Kvitova.
That win was a forerunner of things to come as Kvitova went on to win six titles in the year, including Wimbledon and, more recently, the season ending championships in Istanbul to finish the year as world number two to Caroline Wozniacki.
Wozniacki also won six titles this year and her first grand slam title cannot be far off.
We saw the resurgence of German tennis with Lisicki, Görges and Petkovic each making their mark (no pun intended), plus the usual Stoli (best collective noun I could think of) of Russians, notably Sharapova, Kirilenko and Zvonareva.
Throw Radwanska, Azarenka, Ivanovic, and Bartoli into the mix and it was certainly one of the more competitive seasons in some time.
Whilst the men’s game has been dominated by one player in 2011, the women’s has proved exciting, unpredictable and very watchable.
With a situation similar to Tiger Woods’ previous domination of mens golf, Serena Williams, when fit and motivated, is the best player in the world by some distance.
But when she’s not, there are at least a dozen evenly matched women battling it out for tournaments each week.
Predicting the slam winners for 2012 is certainly anyone’s guess. But if it’s anything like this year, serve it up, I say!