Most Improved (ATP)
Their were 8 to 10 players who became household names this season, but their were a few that stood out from the rest. Jo Wilfried Tsonga, Juan Martin del Potro, Gilles Simon and Andy Murray all became top-tenners this season, but because Tsonga was injured and did not play all season, he is eliminated from the race. Del Potro did win 4 straight tournaments during the summer and reach the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, but his results were dismal from the beginning of the year to June, and to be named the most improved on the tour, he has to show up for all 11 months of the tennis season. Simon beat Roger Federer twice and Rafa Nadal once this year, reaching the semis of Toronto and Shanghai, and becoming number 7 in the world, but to be deserving of this award, playing well at the grand slams is a must, and he didn't, at any of them. Third round at the open, Wimbledon and Australia are pretty bad, but a first round loss at the French adds to it, so Simon doesn't win it this year. That leaves me with Andy Murray, who went 3-1 against Federer, won Cincinnati and Madrid, reached the U.S. Open final and rose to number 4 in the world. Sounds deserving of this award to me.
Best Match (ATP)
I'm going to have to go with the obvious one for this category. I just can't resist the 2008 men's Wimbledon final. 5 sets, 2 tiebreaks, mind-blowing passing shots from 10 ft. behind the baseline, rain delays, suspense, an oh so close comeback, and Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and the fans. Federer and Nadal produced what WILL go down as if not the best match ever, one of them. As you obviously know, Nadal pulled it out 9-7 in the fifth. I was disappointed, but I have to say, that the match was the most entertaining one i have ever experienced in my short life.
Youngster to Watch (ATP)
Their were several players this year that got on national television and got to show what they were really made of. My first look at Marin Cilic was a good one, when i saw him dominate Andy Roddick at the Rogers Masters. He rose to number 23 in the world, took no prisoners, reached the 4th round at both the Australian and Wimbledon, and fired a 135 mph serve at anyone who stood across the net from him. I could see Cilic fighting his way into the top 10 by the middle of 2009.
Biggest Upset (ATP)
Who expected Jo Wilfried Tsonga to reach the final of the Australian Open? No one. Who expected him to do it, while making a mockery of rafael Nadal in the semis? No one, again. 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 Tsonga dominated Nadal. Full of energy, he went into the final an underdog, lost but had the tournament of his life. Nadal scored just 7 games and Tsonga's two thumbs up rattled him the whole match. I guess Tsonga's whole Aussie Open run could be considered the biggest upset, but this match in particular was mind-blowing, and was the start of a career half year (injury) for Tsonga.
Worst Drop (ATP)
This one came down to David Ferrer, Guillermo Canas, Marcos Baghdatis and Richard Gasquet, but my heart is telling me to go with Gasquet. After a career year in '07 and major expectations for the 2008 season, Gasquet failed. He played much better the second half of the season, but in he first 6 months his record was 12-12 and he dropped from number 8 to number 25.
Best Player (ATP)
Wimbledon, French Open, Olympic Gold, 82-11 record, Aussie Open semis, U.S. Open semis, 4 masters and the best match ever. I think you know who I am talking about.
Serving up the topics for you to discuss,