Following on from 2014 which saw a football World Cup in Brazil, the romantic, spiritual homeland of the sport, a Commonwealth Games in Scotland and a somewhat controversial Winter Olympics in Russia it may have been tempting to think that 2015 could be underwhelming for sport. In reality a Rugby World Cup, some of the greatest tennis performances ever and a thrilling Ashes series made sure sport lovers were not disappointed.
You couldn’t say Novak Djokovic was struggling over the past few seasons but after winning three majors in 2011 many people expected him to completely dominate for years to come. He did have incredible seasons, making eight finals in the next three seasons, but ‘only’ won three of these. So what was to come in 2015 for the Serbian was truly phenomenal. His great run started in January at the Australian Open, a competition he had previously won four times and twice beating Britain’s Andy Murray in the final. Djokovic again faced Murray in the final at Melbourne and beat him over four sets, the final set a 6-0 thrashing. This set Djokovic on the path to one of the greatest seasons the sport has seen. In the women’s game Serena Williams would be equally dominant throughout the season. Adding a sixth Australian Open title by defeating Maria Sharapova in straight sets in the final. This was Williams’ 19th career Grand Slam title, becoming the fourth most successful female single tennis player of all time. She would continue to close in on the number one spot throughout the season.
The popularity of American football has been rising in the UK over the past few years. Regular games being played at Wembley stadium since 2007 and increased TV coverage have brought the game to the British audience. This year was the 49th Superbowl and was contested between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. The Patriots won twenty eight points to twenty four in front of the largest ever TV audience in the US. One hundred and sixty eight million viewers watched the game on American TV Network NBC.
In February and March we went down under to enjoy the Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. This was the eleventh World Cup and the second time it was hosted in these countries. Unfortunately for the home nations it was an unsuccessful tournament. Whilst Ireland and Scotland have little history of playing cricket and may have expected to exit at the first hurdle it was a major disappointment that England also fell here. Winning only two of their six Pool A matches. Co-hosts Australia and New Zealand met in the final of the competition in Melbourne with Australia winning by a comfortable seven wickets, taking home the trophy for the fifth time.
Also in March, across the city at the Melbourne Grand Prix circuit, Lewis Hamilton got the defence of his Formula One Championship underway by taking top spot on the podium. Team mate Nico Rosberg took second place, setting us up for another season long battle between the two Mercedes drivers. As with the previous season it seemed like the Mercedes team are so far ahead that no other driver can even challenge and it would be a two horse race yet again. Hamilton would have been much happier starting the season with a victory in a race he had been forced to retire from the previous year.
The first of golf’s four majors took place during April in Augusta, Georgia. Jordan Spieth, a 21 year old from Texas won the tournament by four shots and breaking a number of records in the process. Spieth set a record as the youngest player to lead the Masters after the first round, broke the 36-hole Masters scoring record by posting 14-under 130 through two rounds, broke the 54-hole record at the Masters shooting a 16-under 200 through three rounds and tied Tiger Woods for the score record of 18 under. This would be a winning start to an incredible year for Spieth who would enjoy great success over the coming months.
One of the most popular events of the year, the London Marathon took place towards the end of April. As always the streets were lined with spectators. Organisers estimating around 750,000 were cheering on the field of elite and amateur runners. The men’s field was incredibly strong and the top four finishers were all Kenyan, the gold being taken by Eliud Kipchoge. In the women’s event, Ethiopian runner finished in first. Celebrities taking part in the London Marathon included Formula One driver Jenson Button and rowing Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell who were raising money for Cancer Research UK and a brain injury charity called Headway respectively.