The Beyond The Baseline awards are our look back at the best — and worst — of the tennis season. Today we offer our final “grades” for the ATP Tour singles players. Rafael Nadal headlines the list after a monstrous comeback season in which he regained the No. 1 ranking. Click here for our complete archive of year-end awards.
Head of the class
Rafael Nadal: He’s the player of the year by any metric. The Spaniard won 10 titles, including his eighth French Open and second U.S. Open, upping his Grand Slam haul to 13 titles. His season was shocking simply because he was able to bounce back from a seven-month injury layoff to dominate the tour so quickly and so consistently. Beating everyone on his beloved clay was one thing, but through the U.S. Open he also transformed into the best hard-court player, outpacing the likes of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and an admittedly subpar Roger Federer. For eight months, the Big Four was reduced to the Big One, and in this era of greatness, that’s one heck of a feat.
Andy Murray: Seventy-seven. It’s a figure that will live forever in tennis history, signifying the number of years that Great Britain had to wait for another male champion at Wimbledon. Murray ended that hand-wringing drought, and that will forever define his career.