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.


US Open 2010 – The story so far and predictions

2008 US Open Tennis
Image by Akibubblet via Flickr

The US Open is always one of the top highlights of the tennis year. It’s this tournament and Wimbledon that are the ones that most people want to win. This is the tournament that is the fairest to all different play styles and therefore it’s unpredictable and fun to follow.

This year has been no different so far. Many seeds have gone out in the men’s side especially. The likes of Roddick, Davydenko and Berdych all going out early. It seems unlikely that we’ll see anyone put out any of the top four or five players for the next round or two, now that they’ve found their rhythm in the tournament. However, Murray plays Wawrinka next and he’s had at least one tough match with him before. They played the first ever night match at Wimbledon under the roof a couple of years ago and it was a typical Murray classic. He’ll be wary of the danger this time as well.

Nadal is going to be extra pumped up for this event as he needs the win to complete his career grand slam. Despite Djokovic being ranked higher than Murray I can see Andy getting further based on past performances as well as a recent return to form and a masters title.

On the Women’s side things are equally unpredictable, but not for the same reasons. There have been some shocks, with Jankovic going out early, but not as many as on the men’s side. The issue is that while there aren’t that many dominant forces, there also aren’t many who seem ready to win a grand slam title. It may be the time for Caroline Wozniaki to win her first. With the likes of Serena Williams and Justine Henin both out, it opens the draw up massively, but whether some lower ranked players can step up to take advantage of the opportunity is another question entirely.

Kim Clijsters is the defending champion and with the way she’s playing, a rematch of last year’s final between her and Wozniaki is looking a very strong possibility.

If I was to predict winners now I’d have to go with Clijsters, as she has the experience and is playing well. The men’s is almost impossible to call. Any of them could win and any prediction I make would be almost a pure guess. I would personally love to see Andy win though and finally get that monkey off his back and take his first grand slam title.