Best Of 2016: ATP Heritage Review
ATPWorldTour.com marked a number of milestones and historic anniversaries throughout 2016
Murray, Djokovic Battle For No. 1
Andy Murray finished as the year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time and enters 2017 with a career-best 24-match winning streak, which included five straight titles. Djokovic saw his run of 122 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end on 7 November. The Serbian had been at the summit of men's professional tennis for 223 weeks overall, behind Jimmy Connors (268 weeks), Ivan Lendl (270 weeks), Pete Sampras (286 weeks) and Roger Federer (302 weeks).
For the past 13 years the No. 1 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings has been held by a member of the Big Four: Murray (2016), Djokovic (2011-12, 2014-15), Rafael Nadal (2008, 2010, 2013) or Roger Federer (2004-07, 2009). The last time a foursome finished No. 1 for 13 straight years or longer was from 1974-87 with Connors (1974-78), Bjorn Borg (1979-80), John McEnroe (1981-84) or Lendl (1985-87, 1989).
Djokovic finished 2016 as one of only four players in the history of the Emirates ATP Rankings to finish in the Top 3 for 10 or more years – including Lendl (10, 1981-1990), Federer (10, 2003-12; also No. 2 in 2014-15) and Connors (12, 1973-84). Djokovic celebrated 200 weeks at No. 1 and also became only the eighth player in tennis history to complete the career Grand Slam with his first Roland Garros crown in May.
Match Win Milestones
Roger Federer required just 13 match wins in 2016 to pass Lendl (1,071) for the second-most victories in the Open Era (since 1968) and now, with 1,080, only Connors - the all-time record-holder with 1,253 match wins, achieved in early 1985, stands ahead of the Swiss superstar.
This year also marked surges for Djokovic and Murray. As Nadal notched 800 match wins, Djokovic went an astonishing 100-6 from 600 to 700 match wins and Murray moved from 500 to 600 in just 116 matches.
‘#NextGen’ Campaign Launched
The ATP unveiled its 'Next Generation' campaign on the eve of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on 8 March. With Murray and Djokovic continuing to take the sport to new levels, the campaign introduced an exciting crop of young and talented players, who are rising to prominence on the ATP World Tour. There were 14 players – including Nick Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev and Borna Coric – in the Top 200 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, including six players in the Top 100, born in 1995 or later. Aged 21 or under each of them is striving to pose a future threat to the well-established hierarchy.
Later in the year, on 19 November, during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the ATP announced that Milan in Italy, would host a new tournament, the Next Gen ATP Finals, featuring the world’s top 21-and-under singles players of the ATP World Tour season. The event in 2017 will be held from 7-11 November and the Race To Milan for the Next Gen ATP Finals will begin in January.
The 40th anniversary of the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings was celebrated on 1 March 2016, a year that saw the top spot change between three players: Marcelo Melo, Jamie Murray and Nicolas Mahut. To date, 49 different players have risen to the top spot.
Daniel Nestor became the first doubles player to record 1,000-match wins when he partnered Marcelo Melo to a first-round victory at the Apia International Sydney on 11 January. Ten months later, on 28 October, it was the turn of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan to become the first doubles team to attain the 1,000 match wins milestone after beating Pablo Cuevas and Viktor Troicki at the Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna.
Calling It A Career
Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 and 2002 year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, bid an emotional farewell to professional tennis at the Australian Open. He returned as a doubles competitor at Wimbledon alongside Jordan Thompson. The Adelaide native remains the third-youngest player to win an ATP World Tour title, having prevailed in his hometown at 16 years, 11 months.
Eric Butorac, a former president of the ATP World Tour Player Council and a winner of 18 doubles titles, officially retired at the US Open on 5 September. Michael Berrer, Rui Machado, Andreas Beck, Jesse Huta Galung, Julian Reister also ended their careers as professional players.
ATP, Grand Slam Anniversaries
ATPWorldTour.com reflected on the 10th anniversary of Djokovic’s first ATP World Tour title in Amersfoort and also the 2006 Rome final between Nadal and Federer at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.
The ATP also looked back on the 20th anniversary of Richard Krajicek’s 1996 Wimbledon final victory over MaliVai Washington. Krajicek is currently the Tournament Director of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam and also coach to Milos Raonic. Spanish greats also celebrates Manolo Santana’s run to the 1966 crown on Centre Court at the All England Club.
There were tributes to the late journalist and broadcaster Bud Collins (4 March), Gardnar Mulloy, who passed away aged 102, (14 November) and also Tim Gullikson, the amiable former player and coach to Pete Sampras, on the 20th anniversary of his death (3 May).
Finals Club Celebrates 1980s
The ATP World Tour celebrated year-end championship participants from the 1980s at The O2 in London in the second year of the Finals Club. More than 30 other players reconnected with the sport, their peers, as well as the world’s best players of today.