Class of 2022 Year in Review
Throughout a fascinating year in men’s tennis, Laver Cup’s Class of ’22 made headlines for their incredible feats on the Tour and indelible memories created at The O2 in London.
Next Generation players disrupted the world order, but seasoned champions maintained their hold on many of tennis’ biggest prizes.
From new faces appearing in the top 10, to inspiring comebacks, emotional retirements and Team World’s come-from-behind maiden Laver Cup victory, it was a season like no other.
Andy Murray moves back into the top 50
Andy Murray earned a place on Bjorn Borg’s Team Europe in 2022 following his comeback from hip surgery in 2018 and 2019. In January, the three-time major singles champion reached his first ATP singles final in three years as a wildcard at the Sydney Tennis Classic. “I’ve really missed playing in front of these sorts of crowds and these sorts of matches,” Murray said. Ranked No.134 in December 2021, Murray ended 2022 at No.49. His matches at The O2 against Alex de Minaur in singles and partnering with Matteo Berrettini against Jack Sock and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Sunday’s doubles were two of the most hotly contested battles in London.
Rafael Nadal wins two more majors
Rafael Nadal came back from two sets down and 0-2 in the third to defeat Daniil Medvedev 2-6 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4 7-5 for his second Australian Open crown and a record 21st major. “For me it’s just amazing. A month-and-a-half ago I didn’t know if I’d be back and today I’m back here with you holding this trophy,” said Nadal, who had missed the second half of 2021 with a foot injury. A few months later, Nadal lifted an unprecedented 14th Roland Garros title, becoming the oldest champion in Paris at 36, his 6-3 6-3 6-0 victory over Norway’s Casper Ruud coming 17 years to the day since he won as a 19-year-old in 2005. “It means a lot to me,” said Nadal after claiming his 22nd major crown. “Means everything.”
Taylor Fritz breaks through at Indian Wells
Two-time Team World representative Taylor Fritz played Nadal four times in 2022 and won twice, beating the red-hot Spaniard 6-3 7-6(5) to claim his first ATP Tour Masters singles title at home in California – becoming the first American men’s champion at Indian Wells since Andre Agassi in 2001. Fritz won two important points for Team World at Laver Cup London against Cameron Norrie and secured a spot in the Top 10 in October for the first time stating, “There is more that I want to achieve. But I’ll always be a Top 10 player. That can never be taken away from me.”
Frances Tiafoe finds form at the US Open
America’s Frances Tiafoe arrived in London as a Team World Captain’s Pick and rewarded John McEnroe’s selection with a three-set victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas to seal the Laver Cup for Team World. Prior to his third Laver Cup appearance, Tiafoe rocked Arthur Ashe Stadium with an upset over Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the US Open. “I don’t know what to say right now,” Tiafoe said on court. “I’m beyond happy, I’m almost in tears, I can’t believe it. He’s got to be one of the greatest of all time.” Tiafoe backed up the win with a ripping quarterfinal victory over Andrey Rublev, becoming the first American man to reach the men’s semifinals in New York since 2006. He narrowly lost the championship match to Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz in a grueling five-set final 6-7 6-3 6-1 6-7 6-3, vowing to “come back and win this thing one day.”
Casper Ruud is a two-time Grand Slam finalist
Casper Ruud won three ATP singles titles in 2022, reached the finals at Roland Garros, the US Open, and the ATP Finals in Turin, and was at a career-high No.2 when he joined Team Europe for a second time at The O2, holding back a spirited Jack Sock in a 10-point third-set Laver Breaker. Ruud attributed his growing self-belief to joining Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg’s team in Boston the previous year. “It gave me a good confidence booster,” he said in London. “I was around great players during the whole week. Learned a little bit from them, said to myself, ‘I wanna be part of this group in the future.’”
Big Four unite at Laver Cup
Dressed in black suits and bow ties, taking a boat along the River Thames for dinner in London, posing for selfies at Tower Bridge, coaching each other from the sidelines, sharing laughs, tears and meals in the Team Europe lounge, the greatest rivals of tennis spanning the past 20 years joined forces at the Laver Cup in a dream team spectacle not seen before in tennis. The iconic quartet of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray had a combined 66 Grand Slams and 329-tour level titles. “I am super excited to have them on our team and my team and not having to play against them in my last match,” Federer said.
Roger Federer’s emotional farewell
Laver Cup London 2022 saw an outpouring of tears across the globe as Roger Federer bid farewell to life as a pro player. The Swiss legend’s last ATP match was a doubles partnering with long-time rival and friend Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard equally overcome with emotion as tributes flowed and 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer was raised onto the shoulders of players from both teams. “Even if I cried a lot, they were tears of satisfaction,” Federer beamed in the early hours of the morning. “I was so happy that I could feel that way, that I could be part of a team – I’ve always thought of myself as a team player, even if it was just me on the court.”
Team World wins the Laver Cup
Team World won its first Laver Cup 13-8 at The O2 in London steered by captain John McEnroe. Showered by champagne and exhilarated by the come-from-behind victory, McEnroe stated: “It beats losing, that’s for sure. The difference was that we kept battling. There was a great team spirit. We knew we had a shot at it, but it was an uphill battle.” Team World came into the final day trailing 4-8 and needing to win three of the final day’s four matches. The team collapsed around ‘Prime Time Foe’ Frances Tiafoe after his gutsy victory over Tsitsipas.
Felix Auger-Aliassime goes on a post Laver Cup winning spree
Felix Auger-Aliassime regrouped from Saturday’s singles loss to Matteo Berrettini at the Laver Cup when on Sunday he partnered with Jack Sock for a doubles victory against the Italian and Andy Murray. His confidence growing steadily throughout the match, Auger-Aliassime returned to the court after a short break to down Novak Djokovic in straight sets and put Team World in a winnable position on the Laver Cup leaderboard, having earned six points and inspiring his teammates to greater heights. In October, the young Canadian embarked on a 16-match winning streak that included titles at Florence, Antwerp, and Basel. He finished the year ranked #6 and steered Canada to its first Davis Cup title in 109 years alongside Denis Shapovalov, his tennis buddy since their junior days. “The Laver Cup was a nice collective emotion … I took will and energy from there. And the motivation to play good until the end of the season.”
Novak Djokovic wins a 7th Wimbledon and 6th ATP Finals Championship
Novak Djokovic won his seventh singles title at Wimbledon against first-time finalist Nick Kyrgios. The records kept coming for Djokovic despite a reduced schedule. He secured four points for Team Europe in singles and doubles (with Matteo Berrettini) on the middle Saturday, despite not having competed for several months. He later reached the final of the Paris Masters, then captured his sixth championship at the year-end ATP Finals in Turin, his 91st singles title. “I feel motivated, and I feel good in my own body,” said Djokovic, 35, in Turin. “As long as that (love and passion) is there, I’ll do anything in my power to challenge the young guys for the biggest trophies. I’m very hungry to prove I’m still one of the best players in the world, that I can win big trophies.”