After a 17-year roller coaster, the glittering and sometimes controversial career of Maria Sharapova has come to an end.
It’s hard to believe that the year is almost at an end, but with only 17 more days until the big fat bloke with the white beard and red robe breaks into our houses (if, of course, you believe in such things) it is no understatement to say that the year has positively flown by.
So with the spirit of reflection, here are a couple of random reflections, in no particular order, on the tennis season that was 2015.
It only seems like yesterday when we watched everyone’s favourite giant Argentine, Juan Martin del Potro, make a return to tennis in Sydney.
This tentative start at rejoining the tour was sadly ended far too early when he withdrew from that event and then from the Australian Open.
Tennis fans can only wonder what the 2015 tennis season would have looked like with an in-form Delpo and his crushing, flat forehand.
And while we are encouraged by footage circulating of him back on the court practicing, the announcement that he will travel to Australia for the 2016 Summer of Tennis has fans anxiously waiting to see how his return to the tour fares.
Undoubtedly, yours truly will be among the many anxious Delpo fans. If there is one thing at the top of my Christmas wish list it is to see a healthy Delpo back on court.
As I’ve discussed in a couple of my columns, 2015 saw an unstoppable Novak Djokovic take ownership of the ATP along with an enticing narrative of promised, but sadly unfulfilled Grand Slam glory in both the ATP and WTA.
However, there have been a couple of other storylines that have sprung to my mind as I write this.
This year Andy Murray won his first clay court title and was a key member of Great Britain’s winning Davis Cup team.
In some ways it’s hard to believe that until this year Murray had never won a clay court title but then again, it’s not hard to believe either. Clearly clay is not his best surface and let’s be honest, there has been a certain Spaniard over the last decade who has had a habit of hogging all the clay court titles. This isn’t to say that others haven’t snuffled the odd clay court title here and there, but it does remind us that the opportunities for clay court glory are limited.
By winning his first clay court title in Munich, he became the first Brit since 1976 to win a title on the dirt. He then backed this up by winning a second consecutive title in Madrid, defeating Rafael Nadal in straight sets. This win also ended his six-match losing streak to the King of Clay and handed him his first victory over the Spaniard since 2011.
Murray may have fallen short in the final of this year’s Australian Open and he may be yet to add another Grand Slam to the mantle piece but it’s been a year that Murray must take some satisfaction from.
And to top it all off, he was a key member of Great Britain’s first Davis Cup final win in 79 years.
However, not all of Murray’s achievements this year are so positive. Before Nick Kyrgios and his disgraceful sledge of Stan Wawrinka, which wasn’t a sledge at Wawrinka at all but a misogynistic attack on a young woman, Murray was leading the tennis sledging stakes.
On the road to his maiden clay court title in Munich, Murray informed the world that nobody on the tour likes Czech, Lukas Rosol. And he said it in pretty much those words, too.
A review of 2015 cannot skip over the biggest Grand Slam surprise of the year, with Flavia Pennetta winning the US Open.
Yes, I sense some of you may be feeling angst at Wawrinka’s French Open win not being included here, but Wawrinka was already a Grand Slam winner and Djokovic was never a dead cert against the Swiss.
No one could have predicted Pennetta’s victory in New York. At the very least, most would have predicted Serena Williams in the final with many more hoping for a historic Grand Slam.
But fate cannot be dictated to.
As usual there are those WTA detractors who bemoan that the women’s competition is poor and most of the women can barely serve faster than an under twelve kid.
Blah, blah, blah.
The reality is, you cannot win a Grand Slam unless you win seven matches against the best players in the world.
And Pennetta did just that.
She defeated the second and fifth seeds on her way to the final. She also finished her career in a manner that others can only dream of.
About a month before the US Open, she made a decision to retire at the end of the 2015 season. What a way to retire.
It’s impossible to know what 2016 has in store for tennis fans, but the wonderful thing about the travelling carnival that is tennis, is that it will be coming to our shores in just a few short weeks.
Bring it on!