2013 ATP World Tour - A Look Ahead
It's been said the ATP World Tour is enjoying a “golden era” and it was never more evident than in 2012 when the Big 4 accounted for 14 of the 15 biggest titles in men’s tennis.
The Big 4 of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal finished in the Top 4 together for a record fifth consecutive season. Each of the foursome won a Grand Slam title, marking the first time in nine years that there were four different champions.
Leading the way was Djokovic, who finished as the ATP World Tour No. 1 player for the second straight season. The Serb won six titles, opening the year with his fifth Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open and closing the season by capturing the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. He also won three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles and was runner-up at Roland Garros and the US Open.
Federer turned in another memorable campaign by winning his 17th Grand Slam title with a record-tying seventh Wimbledon crown. Afterwards he regained the No. 1 ranking to break the record of Pete Sampras (286 weeks) for the most weeks atop the Emirates ATP Rankings. He held No. 1 for 17 weeks in 2012, bringing his career total to 302 weeks.
Murray became the first British player to finish No. 3 in the history of the Emirates ATP Rankings (since 1973). The Brit captured the two biggest titles of his career by winning the gold medal at the Olympic Games in London and his long-awaited maiden Grand Slam crown - in his fifth Slam final - at the US Open. He was the first British man to capture a Grand Slam singles title since Fred Perry at the 1936 US Championships. Murray also reached his first Wimbledon final.
Nadal dominated the clay court season, capturing four titles including a remarkable eighth consecutive title in Monte-Carlo and a record seventh title at Roland Garros, before being sidelined with a knee injury for the second half of the season.
Another Spaniard, No. 5 David Ferrer, put together a career-best season with seven titles and 76 match wins, both of which were ATP World Tour-best marks on the season. He was the only non-Big 4 winner of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, breaking through in Paris to win his first.
Overall 19 of the year-end Top 20 players captured at least one ATP World Tour title during the season. Canadian Milos Raonic continued his rise up the rankings, finishing at No.13. Raonic hit a career-high 1,002 aces, just three behind American John Isner, who led the ATP World Tour with 1,005 aces. It is the first time that two players topped 1000 aces in the same season.
In doubles, Americans Bob and Mike Bryan finished as the ATP World Tour No. 1 doubles team for the eighth time in 10 years, as well as capturing an all-time recordtying 12th Grand Slam crown. They also won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in London. They have won 82 career doubles titles, the most in the Open Era.
At the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, Djokovic defeated Federer in the final to become the first No. 1 to win the year-end title since Federer in ’07. Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez took home the doubles title, becoming the first Spanish duo to win the season finale since 1975.
The 2012 season saw the retirement of former No. 1 players Andy Roddick and Juan Carlos Ferrero, both deciding the time was right to put an end to their illustrious careers. In addition, former Top 10 players Ivan Ljubicic, Fernando Gonzalez, Rainer Schuettler and Arnaud Clement chose 2012 as the year to hang up their racquets.
At the beginning of the year Australian Brad Drewett began his tenure as ATP Executive Chairman and President. Key partners like Ricoh and HEAD signed new multi-year sponsorship extensions with the ATP, with Barclays also extending its title sponsorship of the ATP’s season-ending event, which will now remain at The O2 in London through 2015 following a two-year extension announced in November.
On-site attendance at ATP World Tour events matched record numbers with close to 4.4 million spectators. The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, in its fourth year at The O2, welcomed its 1 millionth fan and set a new record attendance of 263,229. Audiences on television and online continued to grow, with total broadcast hours of ATP events growing 30% and more than 4 million fans a month visiting ATPWorldTour.com, as well as more than 40 million people following the ATP, its players and tournaments through social media.
Prize money on the ATP World Tour is set to increase 20% from 2012-2014, exceeding USD $95 million for the 1st time by 2014, whilst prize money at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals continues to increase significantly with the 2012 purse up 10% to USD $5.5 million and increasing to $6.5 million by 2014. At Grand Slam level, ongoing discussions initiated by the ATP with each of the Slams brought about prize money increases for players in 2012 and, in particular, significant increases for the 2013 Australian Open.
As eyes now turn towards the 2013 season, there will be no shortage of drama as the current golden generation of players continues to captivate fans worldwide as they battle for the biggest titles on a thriving global platform of tournaments that the ATP World Tour offers. Much interest will surround the burgeoning rivalry between Djokovic and Murray, but few will count out the ever-present Federer, nor a fully fit Nadal, whilst the likes of Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro will continue to strive to break into the Big 4.
A season of the highest calibre awaits as players chase the ultimate accolade of finishing the season as the 2013 ATP World Tour No. 1.