As I've written in previous posts, the Australian - long the forgotten stepchild among tennis's Majors - may well be my favorite. For starters, Southern Australia looks amazing in January. Most players are well-rested, having just come off tennis's skimpy off-season. The hard court surface is a happy middle ground between clay and grass. All courts have lights, so plenty of night tennis. Perhaps best of all, the Australian has two courts with retractable roofs. The time zone is a bummer from the Eastern US perspective but otherwise, Aussie has positioned itself very nicely as the Slam of the Future.
|via Shrewd Tennis|
The narrative in women's tennis is very different these days. When she is in top form, Serena Williams is not only the best player on tour, she's the greatest female athlete in the world. Case closed. Also 32, she seems as invincible as ever, last year becoming the oldest woman to be ranked #1 in the world. Every tournament is hers for the taking unless she finds a way to beat herself through injury or emotional meltdown. She has a history of ankle troubles Down Under so there's always a possibility someone else will snag the big paycheck. The best bet to do so is Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. Vika is the two-time defending champion, not usually the sort of player one would consider a long shot but such is the state of the sport in 2014.
I'm looking forward to the Australian Open as well - there are some younger up and coming players that need to make the breakthrough but the top three or four men won't give up their positions easily. I think Del Potro is in with a chance this year! The women's game is open ended with no particular favourites, apart from Serena, nor does there seem to be any particular dominant, consistent player. I don't think the British girls stand much of a chance unfortunately. The time difference (Australia and UK) means I can usually watch the evening matches live (work permitting).ReplyDelete
Del Potro is one of my favorites: terrifying power game but soft-spoken and humble, at least publicly. I'd love to see him grab another Major but the Big Four oligarchy doesn't appear to be giving ground anytime soon. Amazingly, at 25 years old, he's the youngest active men's player to win a Slam. There's not even a man under 25 in the top 10. The youth movement still has some work to do to catch up with the old guys.Delete
Regarding British women, I've long been an admirer of Laura Robson. I think she'll put it all together one day but not yet. It's hard to believe she's still only 19!
LOL, I can't stand tennis screamers. But I guess they can be amusing.ReplyDelete
Tennis is such a great sport to watch!
I often watch tennis on mute, less for the screamers than for the idiot commentary. I hope you get more tolerable people in Australia than we get here. You are, at least, spared the McEnroe brothers.Delete
I have got to get some kind of cable TV back. I was thinking I could just catch the shows I like on the network sites the next week, but my UK games are a little harder - sometimes the live stream is blocked, and March Madness is going to be here before you know it. I'm definitely going to miss this Open, but I am going to tweak my budget to fit TV back in before March.ReplyDelete
The NCAA tournament games are carried by CBS. Their online coverage, at least historically, is more accommodating than ESPN.Delete
It appears I am out of luck for Aussie - not a huge deal, I guess. My one can't miss match for any tournament, the men's final, starts at 3:30 in the morning so I'll hopefully be asleep anyway.
'Every tournament is hers for the taking unless she finds a way to beat herself through injury or emotional meltdown.'ReplyDelete
There's really no other way to put it. Unless something goes wrong, all of her matches are horribly lopsided these days. All of the players who used to give her trouble - Henin, Clijsters, Davenport - have retired. Even her sister Venus is nowhere near the player she used to be. Serena's outlasted all of them. The young guns are barely good enough to keep things interesting.Delete
I don't know why but your response has me all fired up! I want that spirit in me, you know?Delete
Absolutely. PR is not exactly Ms. Williams's strong suit but her current prowess is one of the best stories going in the sports world.Delete