So many highlights from the 2021 season including Osaka winning in Australia again, Auger-Aliassime cracking the top 10 and Gauff continuing her impressive rise
Australian Open (CHAMPS: Djokovic and Osaka)
Naomi Osaka wins Grand Slam number four. Beat Serena Williams in the semis and Jen Brady in the final, both in straight sets. Played sublime tennis against Garbine Muguruza in round four winning from a set down.
Serena (in that incredible cat suit) played her best tennis of the year in Australia – looked especially good against Simona Halep in the quarter-finals.
Felix Auger-Aliassime, fresh from reaching the Murray River Open final a few weeks earlier, reached the fourth round in Melbourne – losing in five sets to Aslan Karatsev.
Mikael Ymer made it to the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career. Beat Hubert Hurkacz  in round one and Carlos Alcaraz in round two, before going down Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Frances Tiafoe gave eventual champ Novak Djokovic a headache in round two, losing in four sets. Played at a very high level in the 3h, 30m battle.
Miami ATP/WTA 1000…
Sloane Stephens secured her first win of the season. Osaka reached the quarters – ending a 21-match win streak which began back in August 2020. Auger-Aliassime reached the quarters. Tiafoe reached the last 16 – beat Gael Monfils en route. M.Ymer made a run to the third round (would go on to reach his first ATP Final in Winston-Salem in August).
Alycia Parks beat Grace Min in the main draw in Charleston (MUSC Health Open) after coming through qualifying. Had Alycia and her dad Michael on the pod in April.
Hailey Baptiste and Caty McNally won the MUSC Health Open doubles title.
Oceane Babel made her WTA debut at the French Open – went down 2-6, 5-7 to fifth seed Elina Svitolina.
French Open (CHAMPS: Djokovic and Krejcikova)
Osaka announced that she would skip news conferences for mental health reasons before the tournament. Ended up withdrawing from the event after her first-round win. Started a massive debate in sports.
Coco Gauff was seeded  at a Grand Slam for the first time. Made a run to the quarter-finals losing to eventual champ Barbora Krejcikova. Also played doubles with Venus!
Serena fell in round four to Elena Rybakina. Sloane fell to Krejcikova in round four. Ymer beat Monfils in four sets in round two. Qualifier Baptiste reached round two.
Arthur Fils and Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard won the boys’ doubles title. Fils finished runner-up in the singles.
Grass court season…
Felix reached his eighth ATP Tour final in Stuttgart – lost out to Marin Cilic. The Canadian also beat Roger Federer in Halle.
Tiafoe won the Nottingham Challenger – his first ever title on grass. Went on to reach the quarters in Queens the following week.
We touched Eastbourne on finals day thanks to the LTA!
Wimbledon (CHAMPS: Djokovic and Barty)
Tiafoe took out Stefanos Tsitsipas  in round one in straights. Went on to reach the third round.
Venus, playing her 90th career Grand Slam main draw (the most in the open era), reached the second round.
Serena’s season ended after that nasty slip behind the baseline early on in her first-round match with Aliasksandra Sasnovich.
M.Ymer took out Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in round one in a five-set epic. Went out to Auger-Aliassime  in round two after four quality sets.
Sloane reached round three. Madison Keys reached round four.
Felix, went on to reach the quarter-finals for the first time at a Grand Slam. Beat fourth seed Alexander Zverev in round four.
Gauff reached the last 16, falling to former champ Angelique Kerber in straight sets (we were there).
2020 Tokyo Olympics…
First-time Olympian Osaka became the first player to light the cauldron in Olympic history. Went on to reach the third round. Tiafoe, another first time Olympian, reached the second round in both the singles and doubles.
US Open (CHAMPS: Medvedev and Raducanu)
Tiafoe took out Andrey Rublev in an epic five-setter and then faced-off against Auger-Aliassime in round four.
Auger-Aliassime made it to his first Grand Slam semi-final – picked up wins against Roberto Bautista Agut and Carlos Alcaraz.
Stephens took out Gauff  in the second round after beating Keys in round one. Gauff and McNally would go on to reach the women’s doubles final – the pair didn’t drop a set en route.
Robin Montgomery won the girls’ singles and doubles titles Ashlyn Krueger.
Auger-Aliassime cracked the top 10, reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final and semi-final and made it to two more finals.
Paolini picked up her first WTA Tour title in Portoroz (also reached a new career-high  and secured her first top 20 win at Indian Wells).
Gauff did the double in Parma – won the singles and doubles titles. Also reached a career high in the world rankings .
Tiafoe had a career-week in Vienna reaching the final of the ATP 500 event. Also won his first Davis Cup match in dramatic fashion.
Shout out to our guests…
Sports broadcaster Anne-Marie Batson
Tennis Channel’s Jordaan Sanford
Guardian journalist Tumaini Carayol
Dustin Brown shouted us out (thanks to Rodney Rapson)