Best of the 2000 season


The 2000 tennis season is now officially over and what a season it was. Eurosport would like to honor those players who have engraved their name in tennis history books forever, those players who have made us remember what a grand sport tennis is and whose charm and personality will never be forgotten.

Without any doubt the best player of the year award, on the men�s side, goes to Brazil�s Gustavo Kuerten for his amazing year. Winning a total of 5 titles which includes his second Roland Garros crown, Guga won the Grand Slam after 11 match points in a tough battle against Magnus Norman. His participation in the year end Masters Cup was the best of all as he did the impossible: he beat the odds and took the number one spot from Russia�s Marat Safin by winning the title and becoming the first South American player to achieve this honour.

On the women�s side, even though Martina Hingis finished the year as number 1, no other player deserves this award more than Venus Williams. Venus came from behind and showed the tennis world that she has what it takes, setting a 35 match winning streak. She won a total of 5 tour titles and two Olympic gold medals. Among her tour titles we can find Wimbledon and the US Open were the defending champion was her sister, Serena. Venus travelled to Sydney for the Olympics, winning the singles title and sharing the doubles with Serena, at a Games which proved a triumph for a vibrant and confident player.

Marat Safinbecame the most watched player this year as his strenghth and determination made him overcome the biggest challenges. Winning a total of 7 titles during the year, Marat�s bigggest moment was at the US Open final when he defeated the player of the decade, Pete Sampras. Safin made the year end Masters Cup as the player to beat after having won two Matsers series titles in Toronto and in Paris where he gave an incredible performance in the final against Philippoussis after having gashed his right eyebrow.

France�s Mary Pierce will take home the achievement award as she stunned the tennis world by winning her second Grand Slam title of her career: the French Open. She made the dream of any athlete come true, to win an important title on home-ground. After being absent from the courts Mary gave a superb performance, beating along the way her doubles partner Martina Hingis in a match that will stay in everybody�s mind for a long time. She produced one of the most amazing shots ever done by a women, a return volley in between her legs.


Spain�s Juan Carlos Ferrero led his country to their first Davis Cup title earning the title of �King Juan Carlos� by his Spanish fans. He reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at the French Open and proved once more that he will be a tough contender for years to come.

Kim Clijsters of Belgium took the tennis stage this year and managed to attract the attention of the media. She won a total of 2 titles and became a nightmare for the highest ranked players. Her ranking progression was very impressive, beginning the year as number 47 and finishing as number 18. She led her team in the Fed Cup finals and defended the honour of her country as no other player has done.

At the beginning of the season he was an unknown but promissing player in 87th position. Later on he crashed and reached 127th position. Little by little his concentration and determination helped put his game together and he began to fly through the rankings. By May 22nd he was already among the top ten and swiftly continued his progression. On September 18th he reached the number one spot for the first time and traded places with Gustavo Kuerten until the end of the season. Russia�s Marat Safin stunned the tennis world with a growing confidence that helped him overcome all the obtacles he faced on his way to glory.

She has been compared to Steffi Graff, she started the year ranked 62nd and began to make her move by reaching the final four at Indian Wells in March. Others began to take notice during the summer when she made a semi-final appearance in Los Angeles before reaching the final four at the U.S. Open in September. Demure and soft-spoken, Elena Dementieva possesses an air of quiet confidence that has grown with each new hurdle cleared. The highlight for Dementieva came when she took home a silver medal from the Sydney Olympics, beating everyone she faced except Venus Williams. She finished the year as number 12 and her goal for next year is to dethrone Martina Hingis.

Without any doubt and by far the Williams sisters have dominated tennis fashion this year. With their extravagant outfits and hair do�s on and off the courts, Serena and Venus have always tried to be orginal designing their own outfits and wearing out of the ordinary attires. Their matching hair do and shoes have made them a fashion frenzy on the tennis courts. This is the first time in tennis history that fashion has become a �must� when going on the court.

Spanish players have always been somewhat attractive and sexy. This year Carlos Moya is said to be the sexiest player on the tour. His long hair, his personality and his amazing body attracted the attention of spanish director Santiago Segura, who gave him a role in his latest movie, Torrente 2. Now as a movie star and a tennis player, Carlos is known worldwide but this has not affected his attitude as he is still a sweet and caring guy. He is currently dating a spanish comentator named Patricia Conde but he still hasn�t tied the knot. So all you Moya fans, you can still attract this cute guy�s attention and who knows, maybe you will become the future miss Moya.

She is a gorgeous long haired blond, blue eyes and with an exquisit body. She has become the most photographed athlete ever and she has charmed tennis fans all over the world. The minute Anna Kournikova walks on the court, the eyes of every man point at her. Her amazing moves and dazzling looks have made people forget she is a tennis player. But after her performance at the year end championship she has prooved that she is more than a pretty girl. We salute Anna for combining her exquisite looks with her astonishing tennis abilities.

This year the team cups, Davis and Fed Cup, have been filled with excitement. Many countries particpated and only a few were noticed and honored. Spain and the United States have been recognised as the best teams of the year. In this year�s final of the Davis Cup, there is no doubt that Spain takes the honour. They accomplished the unthinkable, thrashing Australia 3/1 and winning their first Davis Cup title ever. Led by captain Javier Duarte, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alex Corretja, Juan Balcells and Albert Costa defended their flag colors and made every single Spanish citizen feel proud. Victory over the Australian defending champions in front of 14,000 screaming fans at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona made Spain only the 10th nation to win the tournament in its 100-year history.

The United States gained a measure of sweet revenge from a gut-wrenching Fed Cup defeat, to Spain in 1998, by sweeping to a 5-0 victory to capture the 2000 Fed Cup title. Lead by Billi Jean King, the American heroes, Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles and Lisa Raymond showed their red, blue and white pride, leading their country to their second consecutive title and 17th overall.

All throughout the season there have been many matches that will be remembered but there is one match in particular that will never be forgotten. Paris: Palais Omnisport Bercy where the Paris Masters takes place. The best tennis players have gathered here to win a place in the season-ending Masters Cup in Lisbon. Among the players, 20-year-old Marat Safin, the world number one, and 24-year-old Mark Philippoussis. Both players faced each other in the final fight for the title. Safin cut himself above the right eye when he hit himself with his own racket attempting a diving volley mid-way through the third set. He resumed after being treated by a doctor at courtside -- and promptly broke Philippoussis serve to take the set. He needed ice on the injury to keep down the swelling but finally won in three hours 28 minutes on his sixth match point despite being battered and bloodied. The pair slugged it out for three hours 17 minutes before it came down to the tie-breaker. Safin served 22 aces and Philippoussis 21 as the pair traded shots.

Tour has a tradition in offering us very long and exciting matches. This year was not an exception. During the Grand Slam season we tend to see five hour long matches as both players give their best to reach the following round. In this year�s Wimbledon we witnessed the longest and most stressful match of the season. Third round of the tournament and Mark Philippoussis faced Sjeng Schalken from the Netherlands in a 5 set match that lasted four hours and 51 minutes. The match took off rapidly as both players evened the match to one set all in one hour and four minutes. One hour and 32 minutes later the match was leveled again as both players gasped for air and searched for some extra energy that would help them finish the match. The fifth and final set lasted a record time of two hours and 15 minutes with a score of 20/18 in favour of Philippoussis. Philippoussis advanced to the next round were he faced Agassi and was eventually eliminated.

A special ovation to Pete Sampras who, this year, won a record 13th grand slam title on the Wimbledon grass, gaining the title of player of the decade. He defeated Australian Pat Rafter in four sets, watched by parents who steadfastly avoided the media. Pete is known as a perfectionist and no other player in history has won as many titles as he has since the 60?s. He has reached the top of his game with a combination of strength and skill that no other player has ever had. The key to his game is his serve which is extremely powerful on fast surfaces, especially on the grass at Wimbledon. Pete Sampras has indelibly written his name on the pages of tennis history and it will be hard for any player to try and even his accomplishments.

The next meeting will be January 1st 2001 when the season begins, hoping that it will bring us as much of excitement as the year 2000 has.

Eurosport : Alejandra Sanchez