Australian Open 2011 Recap

Djokovic at his 2008 Australian Open quarterfinal.
Image via Wikipedia

I was planning to write my thoughts of this year’s Aussie Open a while ago but got distracted with other things. I think it was a unique event with some interesting stories. Of course, the Men’s final having neither Federer or Nadal present was the biggest change and it was nice to see two similar players and friends fight it out for the title.

It would have been even better had Andy Murray been able to win and tie it at 1 grand slam each with Novak Djokovic but the fact was that Novak was just far better on that day, as well as Murray not seemingly being able to play his best tennis in the final. How much of that was pressure and how much due to Novak’s dominating play is unknown but I still think that Murray can win a grand slam. The problem is that many other players can also win grand slams and there won’t be many better opportunities to get off the board.

When Nadal and Del-Potro are fit again, Federer and others on top form it will be very difficult to get back to another final, nevermind winning the tournament. Not only the opposition but the pressure of Wimbledon will probably prove too much. He’ll likely have to wait until the US Open for his next big chance, but we’ll see.

On the women’s side, Kim Clijsters is one of my favourite players and her comeback is a great story. She was the obvious pick for the title with Serena out and many other top players either struggling for form, such as Ivanovic, Safina and Venus, or recovering from injuries like Justine Henin, who has now retired a second time due to persistent knee injuries which is a great shame for her. Caroline Wozniaki looked to be the other obvious pick but she still hasn’t won a grand slam and may end up like Safina and Murray in continually falling just short.

Kim faced Li Na in the final. She did win a set but ultimately couldn’t fend off Clijsters. Li Na is really starting to gain in popularity with her comedy interviews as well as her tennis. I hope she continues at this level and maybe she can win a grand slam this year.

Both players were funny at the post-final ceremony with Kim talking about her dentist and someone in her box’s horrible green pants that she forced him to wear for superstitious reasons. She even gave the ok to Australian fans calling her Aussie kim officially now that she won the event after she had been called that for years after her engagement to Lleyton Hewitt.

Overall I think it was a good start to the grand slam tennis year and I hope the partial trend of seeing different players at the contending for top honours continues.