Welcome to the final instalment of our series on the top sporting moments from 2015. In this issue we will be looking at tennis, Formula 1 and of course the Rugby World Cup which was hosted on home soil.
The final Grand Slam of the tennis season occupied the first two weeks of September. Flushing Meadows Park, New York is the location for the U.S. Open and it was a chance for Serena Williams to complete a calendar Grand Slam by winning all four majors of the season. This had not been done since Steffi Graf in 1988 so there was a lot of excitement heading into the tournament. Williams made it to the semi-final of the competition, losing to the unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci. Vinci then lost in the final to her compatriot Flavia Pennatta in straight sets. In the men’s draw Novak Djokovic was able to match Williams’ three majors in a season when he defeated Roger Federer in the final. Djokovic would also go on to win the ATP World Tour Finals and complete one of the most successful seasons ever. He has won Three Grand Slams, six Masters 1000 titles (a record) and 11 tournament wins with the year-end title at the ATP World Tour Finals. With an 82-6 record and more than $21 million in earnings, it is also a new ATP record.
Following completion of the ATP World Tour in London attention turned to the Davis Cup. Led by British Number 1 Andy Murray, the UK team were in the final and a chance to win the competition for the first time in 79 years. The final against Belgium took place on the weekend of the 27th November with Britain’s Kyle Edmund losing the first rubber in five sets. From then on though it was Murray in control as he won his first singles rubber, the doubles with his brother Jamie and the second singles match to give Britain a 3-1 lead with one rubber remaining. A fantastic achievement for the team.
England played host to the 2014 World Cup in September and October. Twenty teams competed in what was the most heavily attended World Cup ever with almost 2.5 million spectators watching 48 matches. This was 95% of the potential capacity. Unfortunately for the host nation, England crashed out at the pool stage. Losing to both Wales and Australia to finish the group in third place. This was the first time the host nation has been eliminated before the knockout stage. The other three home nations did progress but none made it past the quarter finals, in fact no northern hemisphere side was present in the semi-finals for the first time. The final was contested between New Zealand and Australia, with the Kiwis successfully defending their title. A quick start to the game from New Zealand continued to give them a 21-3 lead just after half time. However Australia made a game of it and were back within four points with 16 minutes remaining. A couple of kicks from Dan Carter and a late try ensured the All Blacks would take home the trophy with a score of 34-17.
In the Formula One Championship it as again between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for the drivers title. Going in to the US Grand Prix Hamilton knew that a victory would hand him his third title. Rosberg took poll position but Hamilton was on the front row and a thrilling opening to the race saw Hamilton overtake Rosberg immediately. The manoeuvre ran Rosberg of the track and down into fifth spot, prompting criticism from the German driver following the race. Hamilton was able to hold on to his lead over the 56 laps to claim the title with three races to spare. It was Hamilton’s second in a row and third overall, drawing him level with his idol and Brazilian legend Aryton Senna.