2022 was a memorable year for Australian tennis. Ash Barty stood out winning the Australian Open and then surprising the tennis world with her early retirement.
On the doubles court we saw two pairings claim Grand Slam titles. There was also title success on the singles court.
In team events we saw the Australian teams reach the finals at the Billie Jean King Cup and at the Davis Cup.
Early in the season Thanasi Kokkinakis defeated France’s Arthur Rinderknech 6-7(6), 7-6(5), 6-3, to claim the ATP250 title in Adelaide.
After that it was not the greatest of seasons on the singles court for Kokkinakis. His best result was reaching the round of 16 at the ATP Masters 1000 in Miami.
Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis changed the image of doubles when storming to the title at the Australian Open. They were greeted like rockstars for each and every match.
In the final it was an all-Australian clash with the Special K’s facing Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell. The final was won 7-5, 6-4 by Kyrgios and Kokkinakis.
“I have won some big titles around the world, played some amazing matches. This one ranks (number) one for me,” declared Kyrgios.
“When I say I wouldn’t want to do it with anybody else, I mean it. It was just special. The whole week, winning each round, I didn’t take it for granted. I was soaking it in.
“I’m just super proud of myself. I don’t really care too much after I lost to (Daniil) Medvedev (in singles), but doing it with ‘Kokk’ is insane.”
“I have had an unbelievable summer. Comparing to what I have gone through in the years I have had the last few years, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Adelaide was No. 1 for me, but this has trumped it,” said Kokkinakis.
Purcell and Ebden would claim a Grand Slam title of their own when winning at Wimbledon. Purcell and Ebden winning five of their six matches in five sets, including twice coming back from two sets down. They did that in the opening round and in the semis.
The pairing had also saved three match points against Andre Gorannsson and Ben McLachlan in the first round and another five match points against Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram in the semi-final.
The Aussies won an epic final 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) over Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.
“I thought we were out of here in the first round. We (faced three match points) and we just won Wimbledon. How good is that?” Purcell said.
“They have been the number one guys for the last year, the last two years, and they almost beat us with an injury,” Ebden said.
“We were very lucky to win. That just shows how great a team they are. With a big problem, they almost won Wimbledon. Incredible, you guys.”
Purcell and Ebden also won the ATP250 title in Houston.
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios won the ATP250 title in Atlanta and then Kyrgios added another title when teaming up with Jack Sock to win the ATP500 tournament in Washington.
Nick Kyrgios had his best season of his career, the highlight being the abovementioned Australian Open doubles title but it was his singles play that made people take notice. He reached the final of the Wimbledon Championships before losing to Novak Djokovic.
Kyrgios also won the ATP500 title in Washington to go with his doubles title.
The Canberra would see his ranking go from no. 137 in February down to no. 20 in late October. If not for the Wimbledon points not being award, Kyrgios would have been ranked close to the top-ten.
The Special K’s were not the only Australians to win a singles title in 2022 at the ATP level, Australia’s long time top ranked player, Alex de Minaur won the ATP250 title in Atlanta.
de Minaur also helped steer Australia to the Davis Cup final for the first time since they won the competition in 2003.
Barty Bows Out
On the women’s side it was Ash Barty that finally ended the singles title drought at the Australian Open, winning the title after defeating USA’s Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6 in the final.
Barty being the first Australian woman to win the singles title since 1978 when Chris O’Neil took the title.
The former world no. 1 also won the Adelaide title before her Australian Open success.
Barty made the announcement via her Instagram account on March 23.
“I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top level anymore,” she told close friend Casey Dellacqua in an Instagram video.
“I just know I am absolutely spent. I know physically I have nothing more to give and that for me is success.
“I’ve given absolutely everything I can to this beautiful sport of tennis and I’m really happy with that.
After Barty stepped aside it was Ajla Tomljanovic that suddenly was Australia’s no. 1 player.
Tomljanovic had a solid season reaching the quarterfinals at both Wimbledon and the USA Open.
Storm Hunter (Sanders) tasted doubles success with Luisa Stefani when the pairing won the WTA1000 title in Guadalajara. Hunter also reached the USA Open doubles semifinals with Caroline Dolehide.
With Katerina Siniakova Hunter won the WTA500 title in Berlin.
Ellen Perez also had a good season on the doubles circuit. She also reached the doubles semifinals at the US Open with Nicole Melichar-Martinez. That pairing won the WTA250 title in Cleveland and they lost the WTA1000 final in Cincinnati and Toronto.
Earlier in the year Perez won the WTA250 title in S’Hertogenbosch with Tamara Zidansek.
Australia reached the final in the Billie Jean King Cup losing to Switzerland.