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2012 Year in Review: Top American Pro Tennis Stories

December 31, 2012 03:00 PM
Andy Roddick retired from professional tennis following his fourth-round loss at the 2012 US Open.
Serena Williams won her 15th Grand Slam title at the 2012 US Open and was named the 2012 WTA Player of the Year.
We said goodbye to one of American tennis' biggest stars, witnessed the continued greatness of a few others and watched one of the greatest comeback stories in recent memory. All in all, we will not forget these storylines from American professional tennis in 2012.
1. Andy Roddick retires from professional tennis: After 13 years and 32 career singles titles, 2003 US Open champion and former world No. 1 Andy Roddick announced his retirement during the 2012 US Open—on his 30th birthday, no less. His final match was in the fourth round, against 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro. After falling in four sets, Roddick left to a standing ovation from the crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium, at what he always said was his favorite tournament. He was the shining star and symbol of American men’s tennis for over a decade, but injuries began to pile up the last few years, and Roddick said he simply could just not give all he had physically, mentally or emotionally to tennis anymore. And for a game he loved so much, he was not going to give it any less than all he had.
2. Serena named WTA Player of the Year: Serena Williams won her first Grand Slam title 13 years ago and turned 31 this year. But in 2012, she proved yet again that even though she is older than most of her peers and has missed significant time due to injury over the past few years, she is still the best in the game when she plays her best. After a shocking first-round loss at Roland Garros, Williams was crushed and hired a new coach, moved to do some training in Paris and thereafter was nearly unstoppable. She won her 14th career Grand Slam title at Wimbledon and the Emirates Airline US Open Series title in Stanford, Calif., before winning her first career Olympic gold medal in singles, dominating Maria Sharapova in the final. She also won Olympic gold in doubles with sister Venus and, a few weeks later, won her fourth US Open title and 15th career major. And she still wasn’t done. In November, she capped an amazing year with the title at the season-ending WTA Championships and was named the WTA Player of the Year.
3. Bryans' record-setting Grand Slam win: Already the career Open Era leaders in doubles titles, Bob and Mike Bryan added yet another mark to what will likely be Hall of Fame resumes in 2012, as they go down in history as the greatest men’ s doubles team of all time. With their win at the US Open, the 34-year-old twins from California clinched their 12th career Grand Slam title, breaking the record.
4. Brian Baker makes triumphant return: After multiple surgeries to his arm and hips, including baseball’s famous Tommy John-ligament replacement surgery on his elbow, Brian Baker was out of professional tennis for most of six years. He made a return to Futures tournaments in 2011, without a ranking, but no one could have predicted he would then finish 2012 ranked No. 61 in the world. Baker always knew he has the talent – which had made him one of the world’s top junior players – if he could stay healthy. And feeling 100 percent again, Baker showed it in 2012. He opened the year playing on the USTA Pro Circuit but was back playing ATP tournaments in the spring, reaching the final in Nice, France, and winning his opening match at Roland Garros. He then qualified for Wimbledon and made an amazing run to the round of 16 to propel him back into the world’s top 100, making him one of 2012’s most inspiring success stories.


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