In the world of men’s tennis 2009 was a year many expected to see Rafael Nadal dominate and hold onto his no. 1 ranking. People thought Roger Federer was a spent force and would never again win a Grand Slam singles title.
2009 saw Nadal starting the year on 13,160 ranking points ahead of Federer on 10,610 at no. 2. Novak Djokovic was just behind on 10,590.
The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year it was Nadal who did not upset tennis fans by getting leg one of a calendar Grand Slam. Nadal defeated Federer in five sets. The Australian Open scoreline was 7-5, 3-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2.
With the French Open to follow it looked good for Nadal, he of course had never lost at Roland Garros.
Jump forward to the French Open and it was Robin Soderling who shocked the tennis world by handing the first ever defeat to Nadal on the Roland Garros clay from 32 starts. Nadal looked a bit off his game as he was bundled out in the fourth round. The score was 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6. This opened the way for Federer to win his elusive French Open Grand Slam singles crown but he still had plenty of work ahead of him.
Federer had lost three straight French Open finals to Nadal and a semi back in 2005. Once Nadal was ousted from the tournament Federer had to Tommy Haas in five sets, Gael Monfils in four, Juan Martin Del Potro in five in the semi and then he faced Nadal’s conqueror in the final. Against Soderling Federer etched his name in greatness by claiming a career Grand Slam. He won the final 6-1, 7-6, 6-4.
After the French Open loss it was bad news for Nadal as he was unable to defend his Wimbledon crown due to a knee injury. He was out of the game until August when he returned at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Canada, Montréal, Canada.
With Nadal out of the game Federer moved back to the top of the rankings on 6 July, 2009. This came thanks to his French Open win and of course another Wimbledon crown. The Wimbledon title took his career Grand Slam singles tally to 15, more than any other male player. Federer won Wimbledon after defeating Andy Roddick in a memorable final. The score was 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 16-14 in a match lasting four hours and 16 minutes. This was Federer’s sixth Wimbledon crown.
At the US Open Federer took his amazing record for consecutive semifinal appearances to 22. He moved on from the semi to reach his 10th consecutive Grand Slam singles final and 17th of the last 18. Amazing if you ask me. In the final Federer was going for his sixth straight US Open singles title. His opponent was Juan Martin Del Potro. Federer had a tough match against the young Argentine at the French Open however he was still favoured to win.
In the end it was Del Portro that stunned Federer with a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 victory. This was the first Grand Slam title for Del Potro.
In team competition the Spanish team claimed back-to-back Davis Cup titles. Nadal returned to lead his country to victory over the Czech Republic 5-0.
At the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals the top eight players from the 2009 season took to the courts in London. The players were Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro, Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling. It was Davydenko who pulled off the biggest win of his career by defeating Del Potro 6-3, 6-4 in the final.
The 2009 rankings end with Roger Federer still holding the no. 1 spot with 10,550 ranking points, Nadal is second with 9,205, Djokovic third on 8,310, Andy Murray is fourth with 7,030 and Del Potro holds fifth spot with 6,785.
Outside of the slams it was Andy Murray that promised to make a charge to the no. 1 ranking however he could not come up with the goods in the ones that counted and he would at one time claim the no. 2 ranking.