Tennis photographers shoot tens of thousands of player images each year. Whittling that library down to just a handful of favourite photos is perhaps the hardest job of all.
But we tasked three of the best shooters in the sport – Getty Images’ trio Clive Brunskill, Julian Finney and Matthew Stockman – to do just that. Below is the back story to each photographer’s favourite image of the year and at bottom is a link to a gallery of more of their favourites from a memorable 2018 season.
Rafael Nadal’s dominance on clay and at Roland Garros is historic. And here, I was able to photograph him just after the championship-winning point in June. But what I love about this frame is that it also tells the story of Nadal’s opponent, Dominic Thiem, who is walking towards the net after being defeated.
Nadal is such a unique player to shoot because he plays with so much aggression and doesn’t shy away from displaying his emotions. On this day he breezed to victory in straight sets and at 32 years of age, no one expects him to slow down any time soon.
Many experts say that German player Alexander Zverev is “next up” on the ATP World Tour, and here, I was able to photograph him in some magical afternoon light at the 2018 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.
A few things have to happen for this image to be created: the sun has to be out in the late afternoon, it must be at a point in the sky so that it creates shadows on the court, and I have to find the perfect vantage point on top of a building looking down at Centre Court.
Fortunately, many photographers typically leave for the day by the late afternoon and everything came together for me to capture this unique angle.
At this point, I have photographed Roger Federer thousands of times at tournaments across the world. Now, I love looking for new and creative angles that visualise his elegance as a player.
He always makes the impossible look easy, and here, I was able to capture him placing a forehand volley at the BNP Paribas Open in March.