According to Isentia Media Monitoring, a year of run-ins with tennis authorities and allegations of poor behaviour both on and off the court shadowed the young star’s rapid rise in the ATP rankings since he burst onto the scene at last year’s Wimbledon. As well as on-court sledging and claims of tanking, he was dropped from the Davis Cup team and had a verbal stoush with Dawn Fraser.
Meanwhile he finished the year at 30 in the ATP rankings.
Other notables are former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke is second on the list, with more than 220,000 mentions across the year.
He led Australia to a fifth Cricket World Cup win after defeating first-time finalists New Zealand at the MCG in March, but a disappointing Ashes tour to England followed, with Clarke announcing his retirement from all international cricket before the last Test, following Australia’s losing its fourth series in a row in England.
Former coach John Buchanan criticised Clarke’s captaincy style following his retirement, with extensive debate in the media about his legacy. Clarke and his wife Kyly announced the birth of their daughter Kelsey Lee in November.
The second tennis player in the top three, Bernard Tomic, ended the year ranked 18 by the ATP, the highest ranking of his career.
Tomic called for an investigation into Tennis Australia’s own conduct after a fall-out with Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter and claimed the organisation has been disrespecting him.
Later in the year, Tomic told a press conference he agreed that he and Nick Kyrgios need to ‘control our personalities’.
Steve Smith took the Australian captaincy in both Test and One Day cricket during the year, achieving success against England in a One Day series and New Zealand and the West Indies in Tests with a significantly changed side following the retirements of Clarke, Watson, Rogers, Haddin and later Johnson.
His own form was strong through most of 2015, becoming Australia’s highest-ranked batsman.
Sydney Swans player and former Australian of the Year Adam Goodes made headlines as he spoke out against racism in sport and was named one of David Jones’s ambassadors, taking a break from AFL as the booing contr sy peaked and returning for a few matches before announcing his retirement.
Rugby League star Johnathan Thurston enjoyed a return to success with the Maroons in the State of Origin, and finished off the year by scoring the golden point that secured a come-from-behind maiden premiership for the North Queensland Cowboys.
Golfer Jason Day briefly reached number one in the world rankings in September, following a string of tournament victories including his record-breaking US PGA win, the first player to finish at 20-under-par in a major.
Former NRL player Jarryd Hayne tried his hand at American football with the San Francisco 49ers with Aussie media cheering him on, only to lose his spot on the team roster for most of the season after a couple of fumbles.
Tennis player Lleyton Hewitt’s near-two-decade career is drawing to a close, with Hewitt mentioning plans to retire after the 2016 Australian Open and become captain of the Australian Davis Cup team, while surfer Mick Fanning rounds up the top 10 sports people in Australian media, with 70,000 mentions, after surviving an altercation with a shark in July and also having to deal with the death of his brother in December, and still coming close to his fourth world title.