Talking points from 2018: Featuring Serena Williams’s meltdown, Novak Djokovic’s comeback

Isaac Seelochan

The 2018 season has seen plenty of triumphs, tantrums and political divide, and that’s just been the tennis! Below, Isaac Seelochan looks at the main talking points of the year, including Serena Williams’s US Open meltdown and Novak Djokovic’s comeback, and how they may impact the tennis world going into 2019.

What impact will winning the Davis Cup have on both Marin Cilic and Borna Coric?
Croatia’s triumph in the last Davis Cup final in the current format was emphatic, as some bizarre selection decisions from France captain Yannick Noah helped both Borna Coric and Marin Cilic record comfortable wins over Jeremy Chardy and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, which ultimately proved decisive as Cilic closed out the tie for Croatia on the final day.
Mate Pavic, Marin Cilic and Borna Coric celebrate Davis Cup win

This was no doubt the biggest title of Coric’s career and the biggest for Cilic since he won the US Open, but can they take this momentum into 2019?

Cilic will have a lot of points to defend at the Australian Open having reached this year’s final and Coric will be looking to continue his development having reached the Shanghai Masters final.

Serena Williams’s incredible comeback ends in disgrace
Women’s tennis has had plenty of talking points from 2018, but none were bigger than Serena Williams’s meltdown in the US Open final.

It’s a shame that the inspirational comeback that saw her reach both the Wimbledon and US Open finals has been overshadowed by her meltdown against Naomi Osaka in New York. What many will have forgotten is that regardless of the outburst, Serena was being outplayed and the 6-2, 6-4 scoreline was a fair reflection of how well Osaka played that day.

With the likes of Osaka and Aryna Sabalenaka on the rise, it won’t get any easier for Serena as she looks to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, but few will be ruling her out from achieving that feet in 2019.

Are Alexander Zverev and Elina Svitolina finally about to reach their potential?
Both Alexander Zverev and Elina Svitolina share similarities in that they both have complete games and have been tipped as future world No 1s.

Neither player had previously managed to find the breakthrough, particularly at the Grand Slams. But their triumphs at the season-ending championships felt significant.
Alexander Zverev with ATP title

For Zverev, becoming only the fourth player to beat Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the semi-final and final of the same tournament is some achievement, and could be the launch pad he needs to win a maiden Grand Slam, whilst Svitolina played an incredible match in the final of the WTA finals against Sloane Stephens to win the biggest title of her career. 2019 is a big year for both of them.

Novak Djokovic completes one of tennis’s greatest ever comebacks
The story of men’s tennis this year has undoubtedly been the renaissance of Novak Djokovic.

From being ranked 22 in the world in April to world No 1 in November, has there ever been a bigger turnaround within a single season?

Djokovic managed to add two more Grand Slam titles to his CV at Wimbledon and the US Open, to take his tally to 14. Only Nadal with 17 and Federer, 20, have won more major singles titles, although that could very well change over the next few years.

Winning the Cincinnati Masters back in August also saw Djokovic become the first player in singles to win all nine Masters 1000 tournaments.

Davis Cup reforms are approved but met with large-scale dissatisfaction
Whilst many have agreed that the Davis Cup was in need of a reform, the changes which have been made have been widely criticised by both fans and ex-players.

Next year’s event will see the finals being played between 18 teams at the Caja Magica in Madrid. The fact that the finals will take place at a neutral venue has been one of the biggest complaints amongst tennis fans, with many unable to make the trip to the Spanish capital.

The reforms come along at the same time as player complaints over the length of the season and with several top players including Djokovic and Zverev raising doubts about their participation in next year’s event, the future of the Davis Cup remains uncertain.

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