This year’s will be very special at the Australian Open as it will be the 100th time the Men’s Singles event will be contested. A total of 59 men have won the title, which begs the question will we once again have a repeat winner as we did with Novak Djokovic or will someone new win the event for the first time, making them Champion No. 60? Continue reading
Tag Archives: Australian Open
Each Grand Slam has its own style and flavor and although this year’s AO lacked the drama of the ’09 U.S. Open, its best moments could be summed up in the well-worn phrase “mind over body.” I say that because a lot of the matches came down to how well players dealt with personal injuries through mental focus. And even if a player wasn’t ailing, some will wish they had had a checkup with a local shrink before stepping onto the Melbourne grounds.
Roger Federer got some mild rebukes for his comments during his last press conference when he said that Great Britain had been waiting “150,000 years” for another Grand Slam champion when it reality it’s only been 74 years. Even if Fed’s math is a little off, he’s spot on when discussing the excruciating pressure Andy Murray faces to not only win a tennis match, but to validate a nation.
Serena Williams and Justine Henin took it down to the wire before Serena’s serve saw her through to her fifth Australian Open singles title with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win that now ties her with Billie Jean King for 12 total Grand Slam titles.
Henin stuck with her new gameplan of more aggressive play especially attacking the Williams’ second serve. But it was Henin’s shaky first serve that probably cost her the match.
Serena served strong in the first set and was able to break Henin at 4-5 when Henin hit two aces and two doubles faults before a backhand volley sailed long for Serena to go up 6-4.
Three years ago, Serena Williams came back from injuries and her own “walkabout” to humiliate then No.1 Maria Sharapova to take the Australian Open title. Now Justine Henin faces a somewhat similar task as she takes on Serena in tomorrow’s final.
The last meeting between them was Miami in 2008 which Serena won in impressive fashion 6-2, 6-0. That defeat, followed by Dinara Safina’s win over Henin in Rome, led to Henin’s surprise retirement before the 2008 French Open. Henin’s return to the Australian Open is somewhat surprising considering many still have not truly understood (or forgiven) her bizarre retirement in the 2006 final to Amelie Mauresmo when Henin complained of a stomach ailment.
Henin’s return has been warmly received by fans though you can tell the tour players are less than thrilled even when they say in their press conferences “it’s great to have her (Henin) back on the tour.” Serena would probably be facing Elena Dementieva if Henin weren’t around. And for Serena, that’s probably good news as she is not 100% physically.
The New Year is not but two days old but the pros are already gearing up for the Australian Open by taking part in the warm-up events with the first one, the Brisbane International, already underway.
Unlike the clay court or hard court seasons, the “Aussie” season is a two week whirlwind of several events, some playing concurrently, and even on different continents with some of the top men, including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, choosing to get ready at the Doha event in Qatar.
All eyes will be on Justine Henin this week at Brisbane as she makes her return to the tour with an opening match against No. 20 Nadia Petrova. Even if Henin gets some big wins here and at Sydney, featuring nine of the top ten women, I still think her draw at the Open will be the deciding factor if she’s got a shot to win it all.
With the brevity of the AO series it would be hard to look for trends or players on winning streaks to gauge what might happen in Melbourne later this month. Still, I would look out for Lleyton Hewitt, Sam Stosur, Jelena Dokic and rising star Bernard Tomic as they all will want to make strong showings now if they have any hopes of winning their country’s Grand Slam.
I know I am few days behind on this one, but I was glad to hear that Richard Gasquet was given the green light to resume a normal playing schedule in 2010 after the Internatonal Tennis Federation (ITF) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) failed in their appeal to have Gasquet’s recent ban extended to two years, this after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) revealed their final decision on December 17th.
The CAS in their statement upheld Gasquet’s defense that he ended up with traces of cocaine in his system after kissing the now infamous woman only known as “Pamela” earlier this spring in a Miami nightclub. Gasquet, after failing a drug test, missed most of the spring and summer events, before having his ban lifted in time for the U.S. Open in September.
For her part, “Pamela” said in a statement she was “content” with the verdict even though she did file a lawsuit against Gasquet this summer over his accounting of what actually happened.
No matter if you do or don’t believe Gasquet, it will be good to see him back on the court swinging away with that beautiful one-handed backhand. The real question is, can Gasquet put this all behind him and finally live up to his potential and win a big event. Let me know what you think?