"We've come a long, long way together, through the hard times and the good."
These lyrics, from Fatboy Slim's 1998 hit song Praise You, could be the theme song of the 2020 tennis season. Amidst such somberness, the game and the moving components that surround it have managed to shine bright. Because of the deep love for the sport from tennis' governing bodies, tournament directors and essential workers—and, of course, the players—memorable moments were made in a year everyone would otherwise love to forget.
This Thanksgiving week, Tennis Channel gives thanks to some of many players that have put it all on the line for the love of the game—in pre-pandemic times—and in doing so, have helped evolve the sport to where it is today. Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki, among other stars, will be showcased with replays of some of their greatest career matches.
For one, viewers will be able to take in the 2005 Wimbledon final between Venus and Lindsay Davenport. Davenport, the world No. 1 at the time, had reached the Australian Open final earlier that year and was the tournament favorite coming in. Venus, on the hand, was the No. 14 seed and was overlooked for much of the tournament, despite having won Wimbledon twice before.
The 2005 Wimbledon champions, Venus Williams and Roger Federer (Getty Images)
A usually tranquil and serene Centre Court was crackled in edge-of-the-seat excitement. Venus would grab a hold of history once again by saving a match point and finding a way to come out victorious. She became the first woman since Helen Willis in 1935 to win Wimbledon after erasing a championship point.
Fans will also get to dip their toes into a flashback of Federer's blue-clay 2012 Madrid final against the hard-hitting Tomas Berdych. The road Federer traveled at the Masters 1000 event was full of potholes, and it nearly gave the Swiss star a flat tire. But in true Federer fashion, he put on a show that fans around the world would remember to this day.
As we look back this week and give thanks for these history-making players, and the great contributions they have all made to this sport, may we remember what pulled Venus, Federer and other top names to victory: the love for the game. Which is also what willed the sport through a grueling 2020.
Monday 11/23: Venus Williams
2005 Wimbledon Final vs. Lindsay Davenport
2017 US Open Quarterfinal vs. Petra Kvitova
2018 Indian Wells Rd. of 32 vs. Serena Williams
Tuesday 11/24: Bryan Brothers
2014 ATP Houston Final vs. Marrero/Verdasco
2014 Monte Carlo Final vs. Kubot/Melo
2016 ATP Rome Final vs. Sock/Pospisil
2018 Miami Open Final vs. Khachanov/Rublev
2019 Miami Open Final vs. Tsitsipas/Koolhof
Wednesday 11/25: Caroline Wozniacki
2016 WTA Tokyo Final vs. Naomi Osaka
2017 Miami Open Semifinal vs. Karolina Pliskova
2018 Australian Open Final vs. Simona Halep
Thursday 11/26: Maria Sharapova
2006 WTA Linz Final vs. Nadia Petrova
2014 Roland Garros Final vs. Simona Halep
2019 Australian Open Round 3 vs. Caroline Wozniacki
Friday 11/27: Rafael Nadal
2012 ATP Rome Final vs. Novak Djokovic
2013 Roland Garros Final vs. David Ferrer
2018 ATP Rogers Cup Final vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas
Saturday 11/28: Serena Williams
2010 Australian Open Final vs. Justine Henin
2012 US Open Final vs. Victoria Azarenka
2015 Roland Garros Final vs. Lucie Safarova
Sunday 11/29: Roger Federer
2004 ATP World Tour Finals Semifinal vs. Marat Safin
2005 Hamburg Final vs. Richard Gasquet
2012 Madrid Final vs. Tomas Berdych