As the 2019 tennis season draws to a close, it is time to look back at a huge year in which Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have dominated the headlines.
In the women’s game it was a different story, with four different Grand Slam winners, while young guns like Coco Gauff burst onto the scene at Wimbledon.
Sportsmail was invited to SW19 – courtesy of Jaguar – to sit down with three of the biggest names in the sport, Milos Raonic, Tim Henman and Katie Boulter, to find out who comes out on top in their review of 2019…
Sportsmail sat down with Milos Raonic, Katie Boulter and Tim Henman (L-R) at Wimbledon
The three Jaguar ambassadors played tennis with competition winners at the famous venue
2019 MEN’S GRAND SLAM WINNERS
Australian Open – Novak Djokovic
French Open – Rafael Nadal
Wimbledon – Novak Djokovic
US Open – Rafael Nadal
Men’s Player of the Year
Milos Raonic: I’d have to say Rafa. He’s just won more events, and Novak has struggled a little bit outside of the Slams. I think Rafa has just stepped up and been a bit more consistent there. I think it shows, he’s leading the race to be world No 1 and he was there in the finals in Australia as well. To have two Grand Slam wins, a final and a semi-final, that’s pretty darn good.
On a personal note, when I’ve been healthy, when I’ve been able to play, I think I’ve been able to play well. There haven’t been many of those glimpses, so I’m just trying to figure out that equation – what’s the right balance for me to be able to play, to get the most out of myself?
I started well in Australia, played well in Indian Wells, was playing well here as well. I’ve had those three glimpses. It’s not fun having the moments few and far between, but I’ve struggled with these injuries over the last couple of years. I’m trying not to get too down on myself about it, and I just need to find that rhythm and the answers to solve those issues.
Rafael Nadal won two Grand Slams and was the unanimous choice for Men’s Player of the Year
Tim Henman: Yeah, Rafa. He’s obviously such a phenomenal player, but it’s the way he’s gone about it. Earlier this year, for whatever reason, was struggling for confidence, and then had the injury at Indian Wells.
On the clay, he was struggling by his standards. It’s his mentality, the way he just breaks it down and stays in the present. He plays one shot at a time, one point at a time, game at a time, set at a time, match at a time, and he just builds that momentum.
Really, from Rome – he won that, won the French, played well at Wimbledon – that was a great match against Federer in the semis – and then wins in Canada and then wins the US Open. The way he won that final was just incredible, so I think that’s been amazing to watch.
Katie Boulter: Rafael Nadal. Two Grand Slam victories this year now puts him only one behind Roger Federer in the all-time list. It’s been amazing to be able to watch these two battle it out over the years and I hope there are a few matches and finals to come between the pair yet.
Novak Djokovic also won two Grand Slams and enjoyed a stunning year on the court
2019 WOMEN’S GRAND SLAM WINNERS
Australian Open – Naomi Osaka
French Open – Ashleigh Barty
Wimbledon – Simona Halep
US Open – Bianca Andreescu
Women’s Player of the Year
MR: Four different Grand Slam winners, but I guess I’m biased so I’d have to say Bianca Andreescu. She hasn’t had the freedom to play as much as the other girls, but when she has… to go and win Indian Wells, then to not really play anything until she gets around to Toronto, to then win Toronto, not play anything again, skip Cincinnati, then win the US Open. It’s a lot of firsts for her, but also a lot of firsts for Canadian history. So I’m definitely biased but I would pick her.
TH: On the women’s side, Andreescu I think. The top three players have just dominated the men’s game, and some might say that’s slightly predictable, but in the ladies’ game it’s been the opposite of that and has been so unpredictable.
That’s been going on for a long time, but I think Andreescu just seems like she’s got a complete game. She’s a great competitor, and I think she can improve in a lot of areas. I think she’s going to be very exciting to watch. We need to find the Canadian secret, because they’ve got great players everywhere.
KB: This one is easy for me… Bianca Andreescu. Having suffered injury troubles last year, it’s been great to see Bianca come back and move into the world top 10.
To win the US Open at the first time of asking, against none other than Serena Williams, was an incredible achievement.
There were four Grand Slam winners in the women’s game, but Bianca Andreescu impressed
Match of the Year
MR: The match of the year, I think the one that probably drew the most eyeballs was Novak and Roger here at Wimbledon. Just because of how many momentum shifts there were. And as for my match of the year, I’d say the second round at the Australian Open, when I played four tie-breakers with Stan Wawrinka.
TH: I’m a bit biased, but probably the Wimbledon final. The changing of the final set procedure, and me being involved in that decision… and then the first singles match that’s ever had a final-set tie-break being the men’s final, and Federer-Djokovic. Federer had two match points, it’s a pretty amazing scenario, so that would probably get my nod.
KB: There were so many to choose from this year but I’m going to have to go with Federer vs Djokovic, Wimbledon Final. The match had everything and to go to a fifth-set tie-break just topped it off.
The men’s singles final at Wimbledon was another unanimous choice for Match of the Year
Djokovic celebrates by lifting the Wimbledon trophy above his head after winning back in July
Favourite Tournament of the Year
MR: I would have to say Wimbledon is always far and beyond special for me. It obviously wasn’t as great a personal experience for me, being up two sets to love and coming up short with the result and physically.
Elsewhere, I guess maybe I could put it up there just because it was a first experience and it was something completely new, I would say the Laver Cup. It was really a great surprise for me, and I’m happy that I got to do it for the first time. I was supposed to do it the previous two years, but I was always hurt, so it was nice to finally get there.
I had heard great things about the event from other players. They’d always hyped it up, but it really exceeded those expectations far and beyond. To have that kind of collection of players in one event, supporting each other. I got to know a lot of guys that I wasn’t necessarily that close with before. To have them support you and really back you and want you to do well, it’s an invigorating and exhilarating experience.
Milos Raonic was part of the Rest of the World team which lost out in the Laver Cup last month
TH: My favourite tournament is obviously going to be Wimbledon, but I was back in New York for the first time in 12 years this year. It was great to see the changes… the Arthur Ashe Stadium is really the only structure and that’s got a roof, they’ve done a great job with the Armstrong Court and the grandstand, and just the facilities, so it was good to be back there.
KB: Easy… Wimbledon. Every year!
Standout Moment of the Year
MR: There are the things that will always generate a lot of media attention, but for me the thing that I remember most is the match points that Roger had here in the final. I don’t know why, but how those played out – especially the second one – it’s pretty vivid in my mind when I look back.
TH: A bit of a strange one… Andy Murray playing doubles at Queen’s and winning it with Feliciano Lopez. That was a good news story, and that is going to be an interesting story to follow.
KB: I know he divides opinion but one moment that made me laugh this year was Nick Kyrgios asking a fan where he should serve on match point before closing out the match with an ace.
Tim Henman picks out Andy Murray’s Queen’s success as a standout moment of 2019
MR: Both Canadians, for me… Bianca Andreescu and Felix Auger Aliassime. On the women’s side, she is a standout and clear choice, and on the men’s Felix is definitely up there. Going from just outside the top 100, and now he’s squeezed into the top 20. I think I’d nominate those two.
TH: The Canadians are already at a very high level, when you talk about Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime, but bringing it closer to home – Jack Draper. He’s pretty much around 300 in the rankings now, he’s still very young and has had a few injuries. I think he’s going to be decent if he can stay fit and healthy.
And then on the women’s side, Emma Raducanu. She is someone that has been having some good results. She’s young and she’s got a big game. They’re two that I’d like to see progress in the next 12 to 18 months.
KB: I don’t think there will be too many surprises when I say Coco Gauff. To play such mature tennis at 15 years old was just fantastic to see and I’m sure everybody is looking forward to watching her progress over the coming years.
Boulter picks out Coco Gauff as her Rising Star after an incredible season at the age of just 15
Henman is also keen to see the progress of young Englishman Jack Draper over the next year
Prediction for 2020
MR: Realistic or wishful thinking? Milos Raonic wins his first Slam, then his second, and maybe a third. Who knows? I think it’s going to be hard to count out those top three guys, Novak, Roger and Rafa. I think Roger will have his opportunities and his moments, but consistency will be hard for him. Rafa and Novak, those guys are going to be a big part of the storyline for 2020. You know what, maybe Team World will win the Laver Cup in Boston, too.
TH: It’s pretty difficult to look past Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in the men’s game right now. There’s always question marks about how long Federer is going to go on, but he’s still fit and healthy and enjoying it. I think he’s going to contend for the majors in 2020.
Medvedev has surprised me, he’s been a good player for a long time but the way he’s come through in the American summer and played so consistently, making the four finals and then he’s just won in St Petersburg. So it’ll be interesting to see how he backs that up next year. It’s not always easy… people work out your game and your strengths and weaknesses. Some of the other ones, whether it’s Zverev or Thiem, Kyrgios has been pretty volatile. We just have to watch that space, really.
KB: I’m going to play it safe here and go with Nadal to win his 13th French Open.
Big guns Nadal and Federer are both likely to play a huge role in the world of tennis in 2020
What does the future hold for Andy Murray?
MR: He had that run where he was pretty much in the semis of every tournament, but was playing Novak or Roger or Rafa. Is he going to be able to do that, with the way he plays? He plays a very physical game. He’ll be able to do it in spurts and have great moments, but will he be able to do it for a full season? I think that will be so tough, but you can never count him out.
He’s proven so many people wrong; people never thought he’d never get to No 1. He won Queen’s beating me in the final (in 2016), then beat me in the final at Wimbledon, won Cincinnati, then won a lot of indoor events, won the World Tour Finals when it was pretty much coming down to one match, he really stepped up and beat Novak pretty routinely.
Andy Murray has been in action in China this week and has a huge few months ahead of him
He’s proved a lot of people wrong in a lot of different scenarios, so you can never count him out. He’s going to have great moments, I just don’t know if he’ll be able to do it for six months straight like he did before to finish the year as world No 1.
TH: He’s playing four or five tournaments before the end of the year, and if he can get some matches under his belt… the early part of next year, I think we’ll get a better idea of just how far he can go, but that he’s even out there and competing with a new hip is so impressive.
Tim Henman, Milos Raonic and Katie Boulter were speaking as part of Jaguar’s official vehicle partnership with Wimbledon, which saw the Jaguar ambassadors lead a tennis masterclass for a group of Ace Pace competition winners.
The Jaguar I-PACE recently won the treble at 2019 World Car Awards including World Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year and World Green Car awards.
For more information about the Jaguar’s partnership with Wimbledon click HERE.
Henman, Boulter and Raonic stand with the Jaguar competition winners at Wimbledon