What a tournament it has been, the Australian Open continues to show how welcoming and world-class it’s services and stadiums are. As the first grand slam of the year the Australian Open usually dictates what the rest of the year holds and if that is so, well I think it’s safe to say our old favourites are still in it and some new young guns are on their way up.
I definitely do not know all the historic numbers in tennis but I did learn a few during the past two weeks and I was amazed by each one. The two most recent numbers being 18 and 23, Federer has started the year off with an 18th grand slam win, after not playing a match for 6 MONTHS! How incredible is that! Whilst Serena won her 23rd grand slam and is one grand slam win away from equalising the record with Margaret Court. If they are not the epitome of athletes, well I don’t know what is.
The tournament was one of my favourite yet, and I have to say when Djokovic got knocked out in the second round by Istomin, and Murray lost to a relatively unknown name in Zverev, I was hoping Nadal and Federer would follow suit. I’m Australian so it’s pretty much in my DNA to go for the underdog, I wanted to see two new faces in the finals. As the rounds went on and commentators, news readers, journalists, pretty much anybody who loves tennis talked about the potential Nadal v Federer ‘dream’ final, I stopped going for the underdogs.
What an opportunity for these two, arguably the biggest names in tennis if not sport, meeting again at an Australian Open 8 years since the last and with so much experience under their belts and so much respect for each other. They’re both so good that I didn’t care who won (although I was going for Nadal), and after Federer’s speech I don’t think he cared either, well of course he’d care a little I’m sure but the way he spoke made me realise that the moment itself was all he needed, he even said he wish it could have been a draw! Winning allowed him to believe he can still compete at such quality.
I discovered some new favourite tennis players to keep an eye on next year;
- Young Aussies Alex De Minaur and Destanee Aiava; I think they are both amazing and show so much potential for years to come
- Brits Daniel Evans and Johanna Konta; first time I had seen them play and they are definitely both fighters with the capability of shaking up the big guys
- Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni; WOW what a story. Hasn’t won in the first round of the Australian Open in so many years and makes it to the semi’s, amazing and inspiring
- Czech player Barbora Strycova; I really thought she was going to take out the title this year, she played powerful matches and always dug deep.
- Austrian Dominic Thiem; saw him at Fast4 in Sydney and immediately knew he was one to watch, great speed on the court and on the balls which can sometimes lose him the point but what a talent.
- German Alexander Zverev, after watching him defeat Federer at the Hopman Cup I knew he was going to be something special, and after nearly taking out Nadal he is definitely one to watch.
And the one’s who I have loved watching over the last 1-7 or so years;
- Obviously the big names; Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray, William sisters
- Australians; Daria Gavrilova, Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic, Jordan Thompson, Thanasi Kokkinakis (who unfortunately withdrew with an injury – hope he gets to play a grand slam this year)
- Spain’s Fernando Verdasco
- Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
- Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov
I think the Australian Open 2017 was the greatest slam I’ve watched to date, there were so many great match ups, so many great shots and world class athletes. I look forward to the other grand slams throughout the year and Australia Open 2018…. Is that too soon?
Who did you love to watch this year, did you find a new favourite?
“I’m free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest, the greatest, the greatest alive”