At the end of last year, we previewed six storylines we thought would be the most exciting to follow throughout the 2016 ATP World Tour season. And now that the year is officially over, we figured it’s time to re-visit those narratives and see just how they panned out!
We wanted to see if Novak Djokovic would continue to take over the tennis world, and the answer was yes … for half the year. Through the first six months of 2016, it was all Djokovic as he claimed the Australian Open and finally Roland Garros for the career Slam. We were talking potential calendar Grand Slam at that point. But, turns out it was Andy Murray who would take over the dominance train and ride it till the end of the year.
We made note of the fact that the only major singles title missing from Roger Federer’s resume was Olympic gold and wanted to see if he would complete his trophy case … but unfortunately he didn’t even get the chance to try. Federer ended his season after Wimbledon and so did not compete in Rio.
It’s funny to consider 25-year-olds the next generation, but players like Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, and Grigor Dimitrov are the group just below Djokovic, Murray, and Rafael Nadal. Stymied by the Big Four’s hold on the sport for so long, we thought some might make a move in 2016 after a stagnant 2015. And in fact, it was Canada’s own Raonic who did the most damage. While Djokovic, Murray, and Stan Wawrinka still claimed the major titles, Raonic made his first Slam final at Wimbledon and ended 2016 as the world No. 3.
We would say Andy Murray’s big Davis Cup win for Great Britain at the end of 2015 was a boost for him! After winning Wimbledon and Olympic gold, making the Aussie Open and Roland Garros finals, and capturing three Masters titles plus the year-end championships, Murray is your world No. 1. It was definitely a phenomenal season for the 29-year-old.
After a 2015 season in which the Bryan brothers didn’t win a Grand Slam – for the first time since 2004 – it turns out it wasn’t an anomaly. Bob and Mike did not win a Slam once again in 2016, though they did make the Roland Garros final. While they were still the No. 3 team on the year, the top of the doubles charts is now filled with teams like No. 1s Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, ATP World Tour Finals champs Henri Kontinen and John Peers.
At the end of last year, a few teenagers were starting to make noise. That definitely continued through 2016 with Alexander Zverev rising to the top! The still only 19-year-old climbed from No. 83 to No. 24 this year, winning his first title at St. Petersburg. New to the list is Taylor Fritz, now the second-highest ranked teenager at No. 77. A couple other teenagers outside the Top 100 started to make a name for themselves as well – Canada’s own Denis Shapovalov who rose to No. 240 all the way from No. 1162 at the age of 17, and the highest-ranked 16-year-old in world, Felix Auger-Aliassime at No. 602.