This has been a good year for tennis. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, whose dazzling five-set Wimbledon final provided tennis with a match for the ages, this match halted Federe’s five-year reign at Wimbledon and supplanted the mighty Swiss atop the rankings, a position Federer owned for a record 4 1/2 years without interruption. Nadal cemented his No. 1 status by dominating Federer with four wins in as many tries in his great 2008.
Rafa also captured three Masters Series events this year and was the runner-up at two other tournaments, as he appeared in 10 finals all told (8-2). All these accomplishments helped him become the first-ever Spanish year-end No. 1. In addition to his Wimbledon setback, the 57-time ATP titlist Federer also lost his two-year hold on the Masters Cup title, which went to Djokovic, who is only a few points behind the Swiss superstar for the second spot on the ATP rankings list.
Honorable mention this year goes to a pair of men who finished just outside the Top 10 — Argentine David Nalbandian and Spaniard David Ferrer. The former Wimbledon runner-up and former Masters Cup champion Nalbandian went 44-16 with a pair of titles in five finals, while Ferrer came in at 44-23 with two titles (and a Davis Cup championship).
Their’s also some I need to highlight NOT in the top 10. The new Davis Cup champs hail from Spain, which upset the host Argentines 3-1 in the final, with Fernando Verdasco, playing in place of Ferrer, outlasting Jose Acasuso in a five-set thriller in the fourth rubber. The Nadal-less tie featured three of the Top-12 players in the world, but the final match was decided by a pair of players outside the Top 15. Including the doubles rubber in Mar del Plata, Verdasco went 2-0 for the week, as did his fellow lefthander Feliciano Lopez, who played alongside Verdasco in the dubs and won his singles match on Day 1 of the final.