Things We Learned on Day Three of the 2014 Australian Open


1. Bernard Tomic’s impromptu presser didn’t really provide any new developments, but did lend itself to some humor:

2. Luksika Kumkhum, the 88th-ranked 20-year-old who beat Petra Kvitova in the first round of the Aussie Open, fell to the more experienced Mona Barthel in three entertaining sets. The Thai youngster has a really impressive game. She plays with two hands on both sides, her forehand is pretty huge, and she hits with nice depth on both sides. Her second serve isn’t extremely attackable, and she can fire off aces with her first serve. I want to see a lot more from her this year.

3. Roger Federer calls Stan Wawrinka, “Stanimal.”

4. This would be really fun:

My submissions:

Tobias Kamke, “The Camcorder”

Jiri “Flying Tortoise” Vesely

5. Nikolay Davydenko had some stuff to say (in Russian) about Richard Gasquet. Here’s the gist:

Juan José:

1. Jerzy Janowicz is somehow still alive at the Australian Open. Once again, he was thoroughly mediocre for significant portions of his four-set win over Pablo Andújar, but found just enough competence to survive. Which was a good thing; by beating Andújar, Jerzy defended last year’s third round points successfully. Florian Mayer awaits, and while that match has the potential to be quite entertaining, it can also turn out like today’s long (3 hrs 25 mins) and tortuous session.

Speaking of it, this little exchange with Nick Lester, who was providing commentary for the match alongside Leif Shiras, says it all, really:

2. Belinda Bencic came quite close to forcing Li Na into a deciding set in her Rod Laver Arena debut. The 16-year-old is impressive, and became the subject of another Prospect Evaluation.

3. Speaking of youngsters, Madison Keys lost a match she had no business losing. For starters, she served twice for the first set against Zheng Jie, failed both times, and lost it in a tiebreaker. She then proceeded to dominate the second set, and was up two breaks in the decider at 4-1. However, she quickly lost the lead, as well as her cool, and eventually, the match.

These are the tough lessons young players inevitably need to learn. All the greats have suffered traumatic defeats like this one, and Madison hasn’t even played 60 matches at the WTA level. However, watching her overcome the first set and build that huge lead in the third made me feel more certain than ever that she’s definitely “happening.” Keys is clearly on her way to becoming an elite athlete, has improved her shots when she’s forced to hit on the run, and possesses more than enough weapons to take over a match. She’s ranked at No. 36 at the moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she finishes the year inside the top 15.

4. Alison Riske seems like a truly neat individual. I usually loathe those on-set interviews, but Riske is simply phenomenal in them. There’s no prefabricated discourse when she’s involved – it’s all genuine humanity. It’s really impossible not to root for her.

5. Few people on the ATP tour can hit the ball like Fabio Fognini. I recommend looking for the match point he converted against Jarkko Nieminen. It’s one of the most violent return of serve winners I’ve seen in a long, long time.

6. Tsvetana Pironkova definitely left everything she had in Sydney. And her thigh just wouldn’t allow her to put up more of a fight against Sam Stosur.


Related: who knew Stosur could look dominant in Australia?

7. I found it hard to believe that amidst the controversy around the extreme temperatures in Melbourne, the Australian Open would run this shameless piece on their site, which includes a comical disclaimer at the bottom.

Partially related: there were PLENTY of empty seats around the courts today.

8. The infamous Rod Laver ATP night match between Vasek Pospisil and “local hero” (those are words from the commentators, not mine) Matthew Ebden was a surreal experience. The back injury that forced Pospisil out of Chennai flared up pretty much as soon as the match started, and you could see that the Canadian was struggling. Vasek couldn’t cover certain areas of the court very well (or at all), and there were a couple of moments when a retirement seemed imminent. A medical timeout seemed to help a little, but Pospisil kept grimacing. Fortunately for him, his back injury didn’t disrupt his serve, and Ebden is an atrocious returner.

Regardless, the Aussie should have won the match. Pospisil wasn’t faking anything, and yet, managed to win in four sets. Later he would say that he probably “overdosed on painkillers,” which provided the final push in the third set breaker and the fourth set. It was an incredible feat, and one I’m not sure actually happened, due to how surreal it was.


1. It was great to see Rosco Hutchins back on court yesterday after being off of the tour all of last year with cancer. He and Colin Fleming got a first-round win in doubles, their first win of the comeback.

I loved this from his press conference:

Q.  What’s the response been like from the locker room players?  It’s all over Twitter.

ROSS HUTCHINS:  Yeah, you know, it’s strange, because you have certain people you’re close to, especially sort of the Aussies, the Americans, people you hang around with.

There are a lot of people I have known since I was maybe under 16, same guys you seem to hang around with.  You sort of build up good friendships with them over the years.

So it’s actually been nice to see a lot of people.  I have had a huge amount of support.

But it’s also I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, as well.  Like after we lost in the first week, you know, Chardy was saying to his coach he felt bad for beating me.

I’m like, No, don’t.  I’m a player and I want to be treated as a player.  Today again at the end of the match the guys shake hands, like it’s great to be back.  That’s really nice, because it means a lot to me to have people actually say at that to me because I did miss the tour a lot, and especially I missed playing with Colin and hanging around with the guys and just seeing the guys that you see week in and week out.

It’s meant a lot to me to have the support.  At the same time, I want to be treated as another player who, you know, has just as much chance to win or lose and to be ruthless out there with these other guys and just to become a better competitor and to win matches on our own, not for people taking pity on us, which hopefully they don’t.  We can beat them on our own merits.

2. Okay, so, the Tomic presser. For those of you who don’t know, midday in Australia yesterday, Tomic caused a stir when he called a press conference. It was the day after he had retired from his match against Nadal after one set, and he had already done a press conference the night before, so this was a bit alarming. (The last time I remember a tennis player doing something like this was when Andy Roddick announced his retirement.)

But Bernie didn’t have any life-altering news, he just wanted to confirm that he was, in fact, injured, and had been correct to withdraw. Basically he wanted to shut up the h8ers. His injury will keep him out 1-3 weeks–not a crazy amount of time, but it will likely keep him out of Davis Cup.

My feelings? Calling a presser in the middle of a busy Grand slam day when you’re out of the tournament isn’t going to help anything. Have your PR guy or girl release a press release. Use social media. (Seriously–Bernie on social media would be great.) But, other than that, let the news cycle continue and move onto someone else. There was no need for this to be a press conference. None.

That being said, people questioning injuries is THE WORST. I hate this “tough guy” motif that says playing through pain makes you a WARRIOR. Most of the time it’s just stupid. (See: Simon, Gilles.) Media and fans need to stop that bullshit.
Also, this:

3. This is my new favorite thing.

4. Hey Stan.

5. Sam Querrey beat Ernests Gulbis in straight sets. That’s a solid win for Sam. I’m going to be watching the match later, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that came about.

In the meantime, here’s a great piece on Querrey by Matt Cronin.

6 Responses

  1. Rachel
    Rachel January 15, 2014 at 5:27 pm |

    Love how the article about the heat has this disclaimer: *The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the tournament organisers.

    Ummmm, didn’t you hire this guy to write this on YOUR NEWS BLOG??? If you publish it, you are endorsing his view. It’s your blog AUS OPEN. It is blatantly disrespectful to the players; and, what about all the empty seats? It’s not like the fans are embracing the heat.

    1. Kait
      Kait January 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm |

      It’s not true that if you publish something on a website you endorse that view. Think of newspapers – they publish a collection of opinions all the time, it’s a part of fair and balanced reporting. Chances are this person was not ‘hired’ to write that article but instead pitched the idea. Publishing a wide range of opinions is what makes a good news blog.

      1. rachel
        rachel January 16, 2014 at 10:02 pm |

        Except in this case it’s not a news org, it is the AO website, so it is a bit disingenuous to add that disclaimer.

  2. Nicole
    Nicole January 15, 2014 at 5:32 pm |

    o.O WHEN did Stan get so ripped?!

    Yeah… I have no other intelligent commentary to offer on this piece. Just, you know, nodding and agreeing and HOLY RIPPED ABS STAN.


  3. Shirley Hartt
    Shirley Hartt January 15, 2014 at 6:06 pm |

    It’s interesting how the topic of whether to play with an injury runs through several of these stories. Obviously a player should not play if that may worsen the injury and agree with Lindsay’s point about the Warrior mentality. That said, I’m impressed with Pospisil’s heart in playing his match. Apparently he was told he would not worsen the injury, and to fight through and actually win was amazing. In the Davis Cup semifinal match against Tipsarevic it’s a good thing the match ended when Pospisil was injured on the final point – he probably would have continued playing, injury or no injury.

    Thanks for the excerpt from the Ross Hutchins press conference – great to have such a positive story.

  4. q
    q January 16, 2014 at 5:22 am |

    Watched querrey d gulbis,querrey served pretty impeccably (20 aces) and gulbis was typical crazy, smashed another racquet

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