2009 Awards; Federer Named Player of Year

by Staff | December 13th, 2009, 10:42 pm

In lieu of sending you bushels full of guarantee money to secure your continued allegiance to our site, the staff has instead compiled its 2009 year-end awards for the best and the brightest of the year that was. ADHEREL

Player of the Year — Roger Federer

He looked shaky at times, but in the end it was the numbers that mattered. He won his first French Open title, broke Pete Sampras’ Grand Slam singles mark, added another Wimbledon, and had twins. His nemesis Rafael Nadal helped out by pulling up lame at key times of the year, but the Swiss again ended up the true King of Swing after many had written him off after Rafa took No. 1. No more crying for King Fed.

Honorable Mention: Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro

Match of the Year — Wimbledon Men’s Final

In the 30th game of the fifth set, with the light failing and the shadows playing havoc with the players, Andy Roddick finally faltered and Roger Federer collected his sixth Wimbledon crown in his seventh final 5-7, 7-6(8), 7-6(7), 3-6, 16-14. “Sorry Pete, I tried to hold him off,” joked a tearful Roddick to Sampras in the crowd after the match. “It was great to play against Roger, a great champion, in front of all these legends of the game.” Two heavyweights hammering it out — history for Federer, and heartbreak for Roddick.

Honorable Mention: Nadal v. Federer (Australian Open), Nadal v. Verdasco (Australian Open), Djokovic v. Nadal (Madrid), Del Potro v. Federer (US Open), Serena v. Dementieva (Wimbledon)

Quote of the Year — Serena Williams

“I swear to God I’m (expletive) going to take this (expletive) ball and shove it down your (expletive) throat, you hear that?”

The expletive, by the way, was “fucking.” Serena Williams gets called for a foot fault late in a match against Kim Clijsters at the US Open and completely loses her shit, threatening a frightening level of violence against a linesperson. Then it took Serena three attempted press statements to offer a proper apology.

Honorable Mention: Roger Federer (Miami): “It was unfortunate, you know, but thank God the hardcourt season is over.”

Coach of the Year — Magnus Norman

The former world No. 2 and ward to fellow Swede Robin Soderling has taken his charge into the Top 10 for the first time to end 2009, as well as given him the confidence to do what no one has been able to do over the last handful of years — beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open. And the biggest accomplishment for Norman since dating Martina Hingis. “I feel more involved with Robin. He’s younger and listens more. I like that!” said Norman, who formerly coached another Swede, Thomas Johansson, before switching to Soderling near the beginning of the year. Known as a sporadic big-hitter, Soderling has improved his consistency but moreso his attitude under Norman, transforming from a short-fused head case to a more mature player willing to stick it out and grind when things aren’t going his way. “Before starting work with Robin, we looked into what he needed to work on. His mental attitude was an obvious priority. So we talked a lot, discussed things. Before, he was like a teenager on court: now hes a man. He became a great warrior with a cool head. That’s the thing I’m most proud of.”

Honorable Mention: Zlejko Krajan (Safina), Larry Stefanki (Roddick), Franco Davin (Del Potro)

Surprise Performance of the Year — Robin Soderling (French Open)

Not the best of friends after Soderling imitated pulling his shorts out of his ass when playing against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon years ago, the Swede treated the Spaniard like an enemy in their meeting at Roland Garros this year, bullying him off the court. Nadal was ripe for the picking after another long claycourt season, and Soderling simply took it to him — letting his forehand fly, resulting in a lot of unforced errors but also a lot of winners. He knew he couldn’t just sit back and rally with Nadal, and in groundstroke rallies Soderling has the height advantage where the Spaniard’s high-bouncing shots don’t bother him as much as other players. He came in with a game plan and executed, and his forehand was “on.” Not many players can hit Nadal off a red clay court, but the Swede showed how it was done.

Honorable Mention: Nikolay Davydenko (London Finals), Yanina Wickmayer (US Open), Fernando Verdasco (Australian Open), Svetlana Kuznetsova (French Open)

Biggest Disappointment — Andy Murray

Who would have believed that after his 2008 US Open final run, that Andy Murray would get completely shut out of all four Grand Slam finals this year. Murray not only failed to reach a single Slam championship match, but he only reached just one semifinal that coming at Wimbledon where he fizzled under the pressure against Andy Roddick. Murray, still had a great year winning six ATP titles, but at the London Masters he failed to make the weekend.

Honorable Mention: Richard Gasquet, Marat Safin, Ana Ivanovic

Biggest Choke of the Year — Dinara Safina (French Open)

Dinara Safina spent much of 2009 writing the manual on how not to rise up to and keep the No. 1 ranking, but her effort in the 2009 French Open final was stand-out. Safina faced another big-match choker, Svetlana Kuznetsova (10-18 in career finals to this point), but in this situation even Kuzy could see that Dina was in it to win it in the shakes department, and she didn’t have to do a whole lot more than keep the ball in play. Safina was broken at love to start the match, which was all you need to know about the intervening period up to the point where she double faulted on match point, at least stretching the match to over the hour mark. “She plays with too much pressure,” summed up Kuzy afterwards, perhaps the pot calling the kettle black if you didn’t consider she now had two Slam titles to her name and a new-found confidence. “I play to enjoy it.” Unfortunately few others enjoyed it, a final lacking an artiste or creative such as Henin or Mauresmo or Serena Williams (just kidding!), two Russian robots slugging it out before approximately 30% empty seats at Stade Roland Garros.

Honorable Mention: Andy Murray (Wimbledon), David Nalbandian (Indian Wells), Nicolas Almagro (Paris), Andy Roddick (Wimbledon)

Newcomer of the Year – Melanie Oudin

“C’mon!” Who couldn’t get with that? Apparently Oudin’s hotel couldn’t. The hotel threw Oudin out after her reservation ran out in NYC, but that was the only downer in a year for the Mighty Mariettan. The feisty Oudin fought her way to the fourth round at Wimbledon and the quarterfinals at the US Open where the 17-year-old stunned Elena Dementieva and Maria Sharapova en route. There was plenty of talk a year ago of who the next great American girl was going to be, for many that question has now been answered. In a weak year for fresh faces on either tour, Oudin was the “O”-so easy choice.

Honorable Mention: Yanina Wickmayer

Best Comeback — Kim Clijsters

Kimmy pushes put a kid, announces her un-retirement, plays a few warm-up tournaments then does something she couldn’t achieve during her pre-baby year, winning the US Open. Clijsters straight-setted the talented yet weapon-challenged Caroline Wozniacki in the final, shaking off the spectacle of witnessing Serena Williams almost sinking her teeth into the head of a US Open lineswomen during the semifinals, dropping enough f-bombs to populate an episode of The Wire before subsequently being defaulted. “I just wanted to come here and get a feel for it all over again, play a Grand Slam so when I started [2010] I didn’t have to go through all the new experiences,” Clijsters said. “It’s a great feeling to have, but confusing in a lot of ways as well.” Confusing for the rest of the tour as well — Clijsters beat Serena and Venus Williams, arguably the two best players on tour, en route to the title, begging the question, just how weak is the women’s tour right now? No wonder Justine Henin soon after announced her subsequent return from retirement — there’s Grand Slam titles up for grabs out there!

Honorable Mention: Taylor Dent, Kimiko Date, Nikolay Davydenko

Shot of Year — Roger Federer Tweener

Someday this category will just be called the “Roger Federer Award”. The Swiss maestro has arguably never done it better, or anyone else for that matter when Federer went between the legs and somehow conjured a laser passing shot against Novak Djokovic in the US Open semifinals. It’s not just one of the best shots of 2009, it’s one of the best EVER.

Honorable Mention: “Crazy” Daniel Koellerer Dive v. Del Potro (US Open), Roger Federer Overhead Smash v. Davydenko (London Masters), Rafael Nadal Pass v. Verdasco (Australian Open), Nadal Forehand Winner v. Federer (Australian Open)

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27 Comments for 2009 Awards; Federer Named Player of Year

Kimmi Says:

Murray gets three
1.Player of the year
2.Biggest disappointment
3.Biggest choke of the year

Is it possible to be “player of the year” as well as “biggest dissapointment”? It just does not add up with me.

I would not call Kuznetsova a “suprise perfomance of the year” at Roland garros. Kutzy was hot during the clay tourneys leading up to RG. She won Stuttgurt (def Safina) and was runner-up in Rome (l to safina). I think her perfomance was good enough to put her one of the faves at RG. I was not suprised when she won it.

jane Says:

I agree with the New York Times – Fed’s inside-out forehand to turn things around when he was on the ropes versus Haas at the French Open was a better, riskier, smarter and more pivotal shot than the tweener versus Djokovic; even Fed’s smash return versus Davydenko was a better shot imo – great defense.

Here’s the link to the NYT’s article:


Kimmi, I don’t think it’s impossible for a player to be both an Honorable Mention for Player of the Year, and a disappointment, as I think the article points out that Murray was, in particular, a disappointment at the slams as he didn’t reach a final this year after having ended 2008 on such a high note. But there’s always 2010~!

Curtis Says:

Sorry, but Ana Ivanovic wins the “Biggest Disappointment: award going away. it’s not even close. Andy Murray still finished the season in the top 5. Ana dropped out of the top 20. Murray still made it to at least the quarters of all 4 slams. Ana didn’t do it once. Murray won 6 titles, Ana won none. All this being only a year removed from being #1 in the world and winning the French Open. Has there been any player who has fallen as badly as Ana has? Ana’s 2009 season should not only go down as the most disappointing of 2009, but probably as one of the most disappointing seasons of the past 25 years in tennis.

tennis_fan Says:

No respect for Eduardo Davydenko for Nikolay’s year?

Trip Says:

Roger completely deserves the Player of the Year award as there is nobody above our Rog… He’s the Player of the Decade.
As for his ‘tweener’, he himself said that it was his best shot ever. It really was an impossible shot- pure Federer magic.

madmax Says:

Morning staff!,

an interesting article, but i have to take issue with a point you have made here –

‘His nemesis Rafael Nadal helped out by pulling up lame at key times of the year’………..

We could say so many things about this, and could say that other players had also benefited, but that is a whole other argument, my point here is that firstly, give rafa some credit. HE is the one who chooses HIS schedule, HE had played THE most matches during the early part of 2009 and HE alone paid the price for it. He took his chances, he arranged his schedule

Secondly, why not say that Soderling had the slam of his life, he was a machine, a terminator during that slam, he was incredible.

And please dont forget the two tricky matches that fed had, against Delpo and against Haas, say no more, so fed had to bloody well fight for his place in the final, rafa or no rafa.

Federer deserved his place.

madmax Says:

I’m talking about the FO by the way,everyone. Plus i wish people would stop treating rafa as if he had no intelligence. He is not a boy, he is a man, who is able to make choices. Yes, that’s right choices. He is in charge of the tournaments he plays – if he doesnt feel he is ready, then one has to say that too many tournaments were played by him and he paid for that, secondly, there is another argument that the ATP calender is far too heavy. Plus, rafa’s style of play is going to catch up with him sometime soon, he grinds for every ball. I wouldnt be surprised to see a different style of play for rafa in 2010. we shall see.

Tennis club Says:

Kim Clijsters – best comeback ever

Vinoth Kumar Says:

How come Maria Sharapova’s name is not there in the best comebacks of the year? She rose from No.126 to No.14. And remember after giving birth, Kim took a lot of rest and practised a lot to win the Grandslam. But it is not so easy to come back like Maria after a major surgery on the serving shoulder which forced her to change the very essential of a Tennis player – the service action. But still with her guts and determination Sharapova rose to No.14. Hers is the best comeback for me!!!

jane Says:

Curtis says “Murray still made it to at least the quarters of all 4 slams.”

I am not sure if you mean this over his career or over this year; presumably over this year since that’s what the article is about. And if so, you’re incorrect on two counts. Murray made the Round of 16 at the Australian and U.S. Opens. He made the Quarters at the French and the Semis at Wimbledon. I think that in a way the two Round of 16 slam losses were disappointing since Murray’s favorite surface and the one on which he’s had best results is hard courts, and thus he was expected to do a little better at those two slams.

I am sure he’ll come around next year.

BTW, agree with you very much on Ivanovic – quite the let down of a year for her. She just could not get it together. It’s like since she won her slam she’s been in a downward turn; too bad. Maybe she will do better next year.


You make a good point about Sharpie; I said something about Hewitt coming back from hip surgery on another thread, and getting all the way to the Wimbledon quarters. Didn’t Maria make the quarters of the French and the USO? Can’t remember but she surely did do well on her return.

ines Says:

The numbers Roger has racked up and records he has broken in about 6 years are truly astonishing.
Plus his class and life.I think he´s really the best player of the year.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

These Choker awards don’t make sense- Murray’s match against Roddick was tremendous. The better man won. Then, how you can call a 3-set-equivalent final stanza in the Wimbledon final a “choke” is beyond me.

steve Says:

I have a great affection for Kuznetsova. Her game is beautiful and she can beat anyone when it’s on, but she can be flaky mentally. But her meltdowns are entertaining. Plus she isn’t a glamor girl like so many of her colleagues, which is refreshing.

Really, it’s she who’s Marat Safin’s sister in spirit, even if Safina is his sister in the flesh.

Cindy_Brady Says:

Another category – MOST IMPROVED player of the year.

Martin Del Potro and his 5 set victory over Federer to win the U.S Open. Simply over powering and consistent.

Kimmi Says:

Cindy, definetly. Most improved has to be Delpo. From a rout by federer at the AO to winning a grand slam in september..who would have thought. I am sure we are going to see even more improvement from him. He is now becoming very comfortable on best of five matches.. to come back from 2 set to one down at the US Open final speaks volumes. One to watch 2010.

Kimmi Says:

jane and other Novak fans

Thought this is interesting.

jane Says:

Thanks Kimmi! That was great. It makes me want to watch tennis, or try those things next time I am in the park. LOL. The importance of the wrist, footwork, positioning, it all comes through really clear. Maybe Novak can be a coach someday.

Kimmi Says:

I know jane, he really knows how to explain, doesn’t he? Great lesson, I enjoyed it too. definetly coach material.

Lenny Says:

Best shot of the year DEF goes to Fed. But best EVER? Fluke or not, I’d have to say that goes to Jimbo

Tommy Says:

Federer deserves player of the year simply for breaking the record and reclaiming the Wimbledon title. He must be fancied for the Australian Open now, although on recent form, Davydenko is looking like a genuine contender! Millions of fans still can’t bet on the action because of EU restrictions. Right2bet are petitioning for basic consumer rights for everyone

Nina Says:

Why hasn’t Djokovic won any award? *insert incredulous face here*
At least I vote him for sexiest tennis player. Does that count?

jane Says:

For Fed and Rafa fans – these two have certainly achieved mucho in the last 10 years – kudos to them, in a big way!!

Estelle Says:

Err, don’t you think Ernests Gulbis should get biggest dissapointment. He did worse than Murray.

madmax Says:


You asked me a while ago if I knew if there were any updated photos of fed’s babes! Whooo hooo! NEW FAMILY PORTRAIT ON FACEBOOK! – Jane, sooooooo cute. I mean, fed’s double! without a doubt. Awwww, just a beautiful photo – go check it out. Love it!

tennis Says:

Wimbledon final will stay in tennis history.

Top story: 2024 French Open Day 3: Djokovic Returns With Ruud, Sabalenka, Rybakina Tuesday