Tennis might have hoped for a period of normality as it emerged from two years severely impacted by the Covid pandemic, yet 2022 has agreeably been even more chaotic.
The year started with Novak Djokovic being caught up in a political and diplomatic storm as he was initially permitted entry to Australia for the first Grand Slam event of the year and was then deported in a story that was, arguably, one of the biggest in tennis history.
There was more political drama during the summer as Wimbledon and the Lawn Tennis Association opted to ban Russian and Belarusian players from their UK events, with their move resulting in big fines being handed out by the governing bodies of tennis.
With tournaments in China still off the agenda due to Covid and other ongoing issues, the end-of-year rankings may not have served up an accurate reflection of this year’s play.
So here is your All Court Tennis Club roll-of-honour for this year, as we crown our kings and queens of the game.
1. Iga Świątek
What a year it has been for the women’s world No.1.
This Polish superstar started in the shadow of Ashleigh Barty and looked on as the Aussie won the first Grand Slam of the year in front of her home fans.
🏆 I am honored to join many incredible players and amazing people who recived this award over the years… Thank you for the #WTAPlayerofTheYear and for your support. 2022 was amazing. It wouldn't have happened without you. pic.twitter.com/mOZFrQhZee
— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) December 13, 2022
Yet, Barty’s shock retirement from tennis in March propelled Świątek to the No.1 position in the WTA rankings list, as she admitted she was “scared” by that prospect at the age of just 20.
Those comments did not impact her performance on the court, as she embarked on a 37-match run of wins that included victory at the French Open in Paris. It was the longest winning streak put together by any female player this century.
Świątek ended the year by winning the US Open, leaving her with an impressive eight titles and 67 match wins in 2022.
2. Novak Djokovic
It’s hard to know where to start reflecting when it comes to Djokovic’s eventful year.
Thrown out of Australia in January due to his stance on Covid vaccinations, the same issue cost the Serbian a chance to play in the North American Masters series and the US Open.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 11, 2022
When he was permitted to play, Djokovic confirmed he is still the best player on the planet, with his wins at Wimbledon and in the ATP Finals in Turin being notable highlights.
One of the all-time greats of the game will be the player to beat once again in 2023.
3. Rafael Nadal
This time last year, Nadal’s remarkable career appeared to be coming to an end.
His ongoing foot problem was restricting his ambitions to train and play while he gave strong hints that his time at the top may be coming to an end.
Then, he exploded out of the blocks to win the match of the year and beat Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open final, before winning a remarkable 14th French Open title in May.
Injury doubt continues to be a big concern for Nadal as he looks towards 2023, but this has been a stellar year for the champion, now the current leader in the race to secure the most Grand Slam titles, with his current total sitting at 22.
4. Nick Kyrgios
How can Kyrgios be ahead of world No.1 Alcaraz in our All Court Tennis Club rankings? Let’s explain our thinking.
The Aussie maverick may not have won a singles Grand Slam title this year, but his race to the Wimbledon final in July confirmed he was finally putting his impressive talents to best use at last.
Throw in a thrilling Australian Open doubles title with his good friend Thanasi Kokkinakis from last January and an ATP 500 title in Washington and this was a year that saw Kyrgios move from a player who could worry the game’s top stars into a category where he is now a contender for all big titles next year.
5. Carlos Alcaraz
This brilliant Spaniard started 2022 ranked 32 and ended at the top of the ATP list.
Alcaraz’s US Open win in New York was a remarkable moment for the sport, as the teenager disrupted the era that has been dominated by Djokovic, Nadal and Federer.
Injuries have halted Alcaraz’s efforts to back up his status as the world No.1 and he will head into the Australian Open with the pressure of being No.1 seed in a Grand Slam for the first time.
6. Caroline Garcia
This 29-year-old French star had a year to remember.
Ranked down at No.43 at the start of 2021, Garcia enjoyed a stellar second half of the season that included a run to the fourth round at Wimbledon and the semi-finals at the US Open.
She also won the Cincinnati Masters before producing a sparkling performance to win the end-of-season WTA Finals in Dallas, with a victory in the French Open doubles alongside Kristina Mladenovic helping to ensure she ended the year with an impressive hail of $3,729,317 in prize money.
73.9% – According to Opta’s Live Win Probability Model, Caroline Garcia is the most successful underdog on the WTA Tour 2022 (73.9% winning ratio as underdog). Analysis.https://t.co/97h5PT63Dx@WTA_insider @WTA pic.twitter.com/9315J3y3eR
— OptaAce (@OptaAce) December 16, 2022