By Leighton Ginn
It’s been a fantastic year for Andy Murray and firmly established him as one of the Big Four in what could be the greatest generation in tennis.
Murray’s has been steady all year, reaching the finals of both the Australian and French Opens. But then it went into overdrive with his Wimbledon title, following by his repeat as an Olympic gold medalist.
Last week, Murray won the year-end ATP Tour World Finals to clinch the No. 1 year-end ranking.
However, the timing could be bad for the rest of the sport.
This has nothing to do with Murray, so don’t mistake this as a criticism of him.
But Novak Djokovic was having a historic year at the start. By winning the Australian and French Opens, Djokovic clinched the Nole Slam as he won four consecutive majors, a feat that hasn’t happened since Rod Laver in 1969.
What Djokovic had done elevated him past the standard bearers of this generation — Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
After the French Open, Djokovic was in the conversation of the greatest ever.
Djokovic will finish the year No. 2, but his fall was significant. He only won one title since the French Open.
Earlier, his coach Boris Becker blamed the drop to the fact he wasn’t pushed by Federer nor Nadal. There is validity to that theory most times, but not in this case.
Djokovic wasn’t just chasing history, he had a chance to rewrite it.
During Wimbledon, Djokovic alluded to personal issues in his family life.
Whatever the case, Djokovic’s slip was disappointing because it could have meant so much for tennis.
Again, don’t mistake this as a shot at Murray, who is one of the top personalities in tennis. His story is great, and who isn’t charmed by the push to get him knighted in England.
Actually, why hasn’t he been knighted already for ending the curse of Fred Perry when he won Wimbledon in 2012, or his US Open title in 2011?
Murray is a great No. 1. It’s a great story.
But Djokovic was at such a high level that his success would provide more crossover attention.
Djokovic was challenging how we defined greatness in tennis. The run he was on was unprecedented.
Historically, when we look back on 2016, more likely, we will talk more about Djokovic than Murray.
And what could have been.