1. Sorry this is a bit late, you guys. It’s Wednesday now, and I’m starting to slightly feel like a human being again. I do not know how the Australian tennis fans handle the rest of the season, because this one month pretty much kills me every single year.
2. I’ll join the chorus of people who are praising the quality of the women’s final–I need to re-watch that second set for sure. Sharapova’s record against Serena will certainly always be a huge blemish on her resume of greatness, but the way she continues to fight against Serena is somehow still fun to watch. (For me, at least.)
As for Serena? Well, I thought that this was a crucial tournament for her in the Quest for 22. Now that she has No. 19 firmly in hand, I definitely see her winning her 22nd by the end of next year. That is, well, just an incredible thing to think about.
What doesn’t get talked about in regards to Serena enough is her *record* in major finals, which is 19-4. That’s just insane, and it completely trumps the winning percentages of all other greats. (If you’re wondering, the losses came to Venus (2001 U.S. Open and 2008 Wimbledon), Sharapova (2004 Wimbledon), and Stosur (2011 U.S. Open).
3. Andre Agassi’s eight Slams was always such a benchmark for greatness for me– I mean, Pete’s 14 too, but I never expected that record to be toppled and tied so soon. And here Djokovic is, tying that eight and still very much in his prime at only 27 years old. What’s more, Federer’s fading, Nadal’s body is likely going to continue to be an issue, and while I expect Andy Murray to win a couple more Slams, I do not expect him to have a year where he snatches up three of the four or anything like that.
So, what I’m saying is, there are going to be a lot more chances for Djokovic to add to his major tally over the next few years, which means I can easily see him getting the count into the double digits. I would say that based on his past records at Slams, it would be insane if he didn’t get at least on French Open title and at least one more U.S. Open title to add to his trophy case.
Man, this era really *is* insane, you guys.
4. This is now the world we live in:
A photo posted by Simone Bolelli (@simobole) on
5. Always a must-read: The tennis world has a Facebook chat about Djokovic’s Australian Open victory.
6. Andy Murray’s face after Novak Djokovic told him that he hoped he had many kids was the best thing ever.
Andy Murray and Kim Sears react to Djokovic wishing them “many kids” pic.twitter.com/PwJwE4NWrs
— OneStopTennis (@OneStopTennis) February 1, 2015
7. This is a great piece on Serena Williams from Christopher Clarey. She discusses her illness at Wimbledon last year, and how she stays motivated–aside from the obvious, that is.
We have to keep her motivated at the same level of motivation as the one she has now, and fit,” her coach Patrick Mouratoglou said when asked about Williams’s matching Graf. “If she does that and she plays long enough, she will. Because she’s improving still.”
The record book is helpful in avoiding complacency, but she has another source of motivation: a new generation that includes Keys and the 21-year-old Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza, who upset Williams at last year’s French Open in the second round and took a set from her in Melbourne.
“When I lost to Muguruza at the French, I hated it, hated it so much,” Williams said. “But as much as I hated it, I needed it, and I got better. So, thanks.”
1. I’m going to be doing some serious echoing of Lindsay’s points here, but I think some things are worth repeating.
First of all, my goodness, I am tired. That first week and half (sadly due to a previous commitment I had to miss the last four days of the competition), really messed up my body clock in a way I’m yet to recover from. It really makes you think about how impressive it is that these players are dealing with constant jet lag, endless long trips, and then having to stand on a tennis court and survive while another jet-lagged human tries to send you back to the airport. No wonder they get royally pissed off from time to time. Meanwhile here I was just sitting on a couch, moaning about needing more coffee… 2. Serena Williams. I don’t know what more can be said about Serena Williams other than that she’s the greatest. I heard a great stat today via Ben Rothenberg: Williams has now won every grand slam with at least a decade between the first and most recent win. That’s off the hook. Off. The. Hook. A fun way I’m putting it in perspective is thus: when Serena Williams won her first slam I was 9 years old. A kid. I have changed from a small, cowardly, crying child and become an overly large, cowardly, crying man since she first lifted a trophy. I have learned pretty much everything I know in that time. I’ve become who I am. That may mean very little to you, readers, but for me it helps measure the gravity of it. That is a long time to be consistently the best in the world at anything, let alone something that requires such a physical effort. Think of what Williams’ body has gone through in that time. And here she is, winning the Australian Open. Incredible.
3. I managed to catch some of the men’s final from a hotel room, and I have to say I thought that first set was really fun, with really great quality tennis. I’m glad that Andy Murray is back to playing some great tennis again, and reaching the final here was a huge success, but I maintain that with the form he’s shown recently he really should have been lifting the trophy. I’m disappointed at how he collapsed mentally – it shouldn’t matter what is happening on the other side of the court, at his level he should be able to block it out. That said, mental fitness is as real a thing as physical fitness. While his body and game were ready for the rigours of a grand slam final again, I suspect his mind had grown weary after his hard fought win over Dimitrov and emotional win over Berdych. Last year I was worried that Murray wouldn’t win another grand slam, now I expect him to win one this year. Just…not the French Open. Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows could be interesting. 4. My fourth point is a good moment to reiterate this point:
And after all the chaos, came order: pic.twitter.com/71yxtItM6V
— Andrew Eccles (@BackSwings) February 2, 2015
The Big 4 are back, and even as somebody who is a fan of chaos i’m finding it strangely comforting. It’s fun to play in the rain but sometimes you need to come home to a warm fire.
5. Novak Djokovic is world no. 1, and he deserves to be. Nobody else is particularly close.
Federer, Nadal, Murray – they’re all still the giant forces we know them to be. They’re absolutely competitors at every tournament and I wouldn’t necessarily pick Djokovic as, say, champion of all four slams this year. That said, I wouldn’t laugh you out of the room for suggesting it. He’ll really want the French Open, I think that will be a great tournament…but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Right now, Djokovic is the best male tennis player on the planet, and I don’t see that throne being stolen from him any time soon. It can’t be stolen too soon anyway, he’s so far ahead in the rankings – just look at the ranking points in the above tweet.
Nadal is a wildcard this year – you never really know with Rafa anymore. I think that Djokovic should be fairly safe in holding his ranking for the full calendar, unless he has a disastrous Wimbledon and US hardcourt season.
6. Sharapova vs Williams fascinates me, endlessly. I know it’s one sided and a “predictable result”, but I just can’t believe how long this has continued. Williams has suffered losses in these 10 years, to players of much lower calibre than Sharapova, and the idea that it has now been over a decade since the Russian has stolen a win just bewilders me. The matches haven’t necessarily been one sided either, they’ve often been closely contested. I confess to finding the narrative completely absorbing – I’m a Sharapova vs Williams junkie.
I’m going to finish by just throwing this question out into the void, because I’d be interested in knowing what tennis fans think and also because I feel it’s an unanswerable that deserves to linger curiously in cyberspace: will Sharapova ever cross the finish line against Serena again? Will we ever witness that?