The 2022 Grand Slam season is over. Now is the time to think.
It was an amazing season that saw three of the big companies win world number one at the time. Ashleigh Barty started the year with A dominant dribble for the Australian Open title She then handed the torch to Iga Swiatek, who would become the first woman since 2016 to win two slam titles in one season. Amid her 37-game winning streak a century ago, the 21-year-old was from Poland She got her second Roland Garros title Then she crowned the year with Her first title at the US Open.
Despite dominating at the top, the Hologic WTA Tour will still be crowning a new main champion in Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, Who gave an inspiring performance at Wimbledon. And in a dramatic and fitting farewell, Serena Williams quit one last time.
Greg Garber, Courteney Nguyen, and Alex Macpherson come together to break it all down.
What are the biggest takeaways from the 2022 Grand Slam season?
Garber: Unpredictability. Ashleigh Barty won the Australian Open title over Daniel Collins, but what about Alizee Cornet’s arrival in the quarter-finals – her first ever in a major tournament in her 63rd appearance. At the French Open, Coco Gauff became the youngest senior finalist since Maria Sharapova’s victory at Wimbledon in 2004. Elena Rybakina won, out of nowhere, Wimbledon.
At the US Open, Serena Williams defeated second seed Annette Kontaveit, defeated Agla Tomljanovic Williams – then Anas Jabeur beat Tomljanovic and Caroline Garcia to reach the Grand Slam final for the second time in a row.
Nguyen: When Iga Swiatek sets her mind to something, she gets it done. Even before she shed tears, Swiatek had a hit in the semi-finals of the Australian Open, her biggest result on the tough courts at the time. Going to Roland Garros, she easily succeeded in improving her mark as the heavyweight favorite.
But New York was something else. To win the US Open, Swiatek had to play her part under unfavorable circumstances, for a draw that would be the toughest of her three main rounds. Swiatek showed the field that she could be dominated by sheer force of will. She is only 21 years old.
Macpherson: Alizee Cornet’s treasure is on the Grand Slam stage while we still have it. Describing herself as the “Disappointed Girl” at the US Open, the French made some of the most indelible moments in every discipline.
In Australia, she beat Simona Halep by more than 2 hours 33 minutes in temperatures of 33 degrees Celsius to reach the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam. In Paris, backed by a raucous crowd, she directed Jelena Ostapenko to win the first women’s night match at Roland Garros. At Wimbledon, she ended Iga Swiatek’s 37-game winning streak in the third round. And in New York, she knocked out defending champion Emma Radocano in the first round, conveniently setting the record for back-to-back Grand Slam night-time main draw over Arthur Ashe.
Swiatek has clearly been the best player in the slam this season. Who is the runner-up and why?
Garber: Anas Jaber, of course. Although it was heading into an achievement season, this should have been particularly satisfying for Gaber, who had only competed in the previous major quarter-finals. She and Swatik were the only two players to reach the Grand Slam finals in 2022.
Nguyen: Greg covered Jaber, so I’m going with Coco Gauff. By achieving her first major final at Roland Garros, the 18-year-old American showed her readiness to take the next step in singles. She then showed impressive poise and drive at Arthur Ashe Court to reach her first US Open quarter-finals. Through it all, she has wowed fans and reporters with her poise, sense of humor, and willingness to use her platform to discuss any and all issues. We always knew Gauff was ready for prime time, but now I can’t wait.
Macpherson: For me it should be Elena Rybakina, who will finish 2022 as the only active Grand Slam champion other than Swiatek. Ahead of the US Open, the Kazakh noted that she didn’t really feel like a big winner in terms of media attention or court assignments, and she had a point. The media probably has no idea what to do with an introverted woman from a few words that don’t give her easy-to-pack “moments.”
So it’s worth saying here: Rybakina’s reactions are not so extreme as to be creative, but most importantly original; And while the other players had stories that could easily be sold, she was the one who actually went out and handed over the merchandise to win Wimbledon.
Who hasn’t performed particularly well in the big companies this year that you expect to rebound next year?
Garber: I’d like to see Maria Scari back in the game. Having reached a major semi-final in 2021, she seemed ready to take her to the next level. Instead, she failed to get past the fourth round in any of the major tournaments. After an off-season reset, hopefully you’ll find a way to get back into shape.
Nguyen: For the first time since 2017, Naomi Osaka went a full slam season without winning a major tournament. In fact, I went 2-3 at Slams this year, with both winning in Australia. Drawing her certainly didn’t help, as Amanda Anisimova painted in Melbourne and Paris and Danielle Collins in New York. I think her luck will change next year. I’m sure she’ll be back in the slam mix in 2022.
Macpherson: I return to Courtney in Osaka, and I repeat that Bianca Andreescu should never be written off.
But throughout 2022, I felt that Belinda Bencic was on the cusp of a deep peace race like never before. She lost to Anisimova at the Australian Open and lost 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 to Leyla Fernandez at Roland Garros – a match that was closer and better than I expected, given Bencic’s distaste for red clay. On beloved grass, her preparations for Wimbledon were hampered by an ankle injury she sustained in the Berlin final. Then at the US Open, she inexplicably lost from a group and broke up with Karolina Pliskova. Is Bencic sure to cross the hump in 2023?
What is the most memorable match?
Garber: Elena Rybakina Dr. Ajla Tomljanovic, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, Wimbledon quarter-finals.
During her first four matches at Wimbledon, six of Elena Rybakina’s eight sets required seven matches. Rybakina was rolling. Then in the quarter-finals, Agla Tomljanovic clinched the first set 6-4. It was the only group Rybakina would lose before reaching the final and it forced her to dig deeper. She returned to win 6-2, 6-3, hitting a total of 15 aces. That moment prepared her for the final. When Ons Jabeur won the first set, Rybakina hit back and went on to her first major title.
Nguyen: Oh, Tomljanovic d. Serena Williams, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1, US Open third round.
It’s poetic that Williams’ last match was the longest match I’ve ever played at the US Open. She did not want to leave and the fans did not want her to leave. I’ll remember the last game, which saw Williams save five match points, and the outpouring of emotions from the fans that so desired. And I’ll also remember Tomljanovic, against all odds, keeping her nerve through it all.
Macpherson: Tajana Maria D. Jelena Ostapenko 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, fourth round of Wimbledon.
I was on Court #1 for this wild ride, about the most extreme stylistic variation you could find on a tour. At any moment, I felt that anything could happen. Ostapenko delivered a thrilling power up, Maria bluntly lowered, and Ostapenko responded by upping the ante even more – but it was the 34-year-old mum who would save two match points and move on to an unlikely first major title. Four slam semi-finals.
Finally, in just a few words, can you describe in words what it felt like when Serena Williams walked off the field one last time in New York?
Garber: respect. At the age of 40, holding five match points and going over three hours in her farewell match against Agla Tomljanovic, so was Serena. I will miss that fire and fury. So is tennis.
Nguyen: I often think of Serena’s 2015 US Open, a tournament that was supposed to be a packed celebration of her career, but was held back by the tension surrounding her quest to complete the Grand Slam calendar, as well as Roberta Vinci. When Serena stepped off the court this time, she thought of 2015 again because she finally got a full week-long flow of love, admiration, and respect that she deserves.
Macpherson: Duplication, just as you also clearly feel. I’ve rarely seen a hero retire – sorry, has evolved Reluctantly, when they still feel they have a lot to offer. There’s been a lot of talk about what a “fairytale ending” might look like, but I also seriously admired Serena had the opportunity to do just that after the 2017 Australian Open – and rejected it in favor of an ambitious and unprecedented comeback that will in time be seen as one of the most seasoned. leading in her career.