I’m glad it is over. My body could not take the lack of sleep much longer. But what a tournament it was! I witnessed some exquisite tennis, some heartbreaks, and some surprise breakthroughs. But what were some of the highlights of the 2012 Australian Open? That all depends on who you are pulling for.
One of the more problematic things that happened, was the lack of American tennis players heading deep into week 2 of the tournament. Top ranked American, Mardy Fish got bounced out really early (second round) by Colombian Falla; I thought for sure Mardy would have made a better run in Australia considering his 2011 summer performance. Andy Roddick started off strong, cleaning court with Robin Haase; but being forced to retire against Lleyton Hewitt in the next round with a hamstring injury. Then there is Serena Williams; I’m sure you are shocked that she got whooped by a virtual unknown in the round of 16. You can call her performance whatever you want, but the reality is, Serena got beat – kind of like what she does to others. I was happy (on the inside) that she lost, especially after her comments earlier this year. Just so I don’t only point out the bad stuff, there were some other accomplishments for the American tennis players; the Bryan bothers made the finals but lost to Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek. Also, Taylor Townsend won the Girls Junior Australian Open title, she also paired up with American Gabrielle Andrews to win the Girls Junior Doubles title! So there is a little light at the end of the American tennis drought.
I was happy to see the women’s field open up a bit more with Kim Clijsters not being able to defend her title; it’s always a treat to see the celebration of someone who has never won a major. Victoria Azarenka came out of the woodwork with her aggressive play and powerful ground game (I can’t say much about her outfit though); she ripped apart Sharapova’s game in the final. I did see a lot of that in the tournament, many one sided matches, lots of bagels and breadsticks, more so than tie breaks. I wonder if the draw process has anything to do with that? Unfortunately, this years Australian Open was the last open for Kim Clijsters; she announced that she will be calling it quits at the end of the year. I was pretty impressed with Maria Sharapova, she had a very strong run in Australia reaching the finals; I’m just really confused with her performance in the final, it’s like she forgot how to play tennis – her serve was a disaster, and her groundstrokes just were nonexistent, she’s got plenty to think about in the coming weeks.
There were some funny moments during the tournament; there was Marcos Bhagdatis who obliterated not one, but four of his tennis racquets (two of which were still in the stringers wrap), I guess his sticks were the cause of his loss to Hewitt. The other, more interesting mishap of the tournament is the handshake hear around the word, more like the handshake that didn’t happen. In a heated match against Nicolas Almagro, Tomas Berdych was cruising along when he hit a short ball to the deuce side (Almagro’s forehand side), this is where Nicolas smacked a running forehand right at Berdych. The pass attempt hit Tomas in the arm, which I’m sure stung a bit but it was overly dramatic of Tomas to fall to the ground and lay there for a few seconds as if he were seriously injured. Now, typically when you don’t have an angle to hit a decent passing shot, the next best thing is to aim for the person at net, this way it’s more difficult for them to make a good volley; so Almagro did what a tennis player is supposed to do in that situation. The problem was, at the end of the match; after Berdych won, Tomas refused to shake hands with Nicolas. I could not believe my eyes when that happened, Berdychs’ juvenile behavior was uncalled for. Tomas is a professional tennis player, where tennis balls are coming at him ALL the time, one hit him, so what? There’s no need to be a total dick to your opponent. Oh, and Tomas, if you’re upset about it still, find a different career – I’m sure there are a million people out there that would give anything to trade places with you.
Let’s not forget the men’s final, yeah, that final that last nearly 6 hours (I watched the first set, went to sleep, woke up and they were just finishing the fifth set)…wow. It starting to seem like every major is setting new records; most games in a match, longest match, most aces, most double fault, etc. If the 2012 Australian Open was any indicator of what we’re going to see in the 2012 tennis season, then we are going to have to get the pen ready to rewrite history. I’m starting to get the feeling that Djokovic might be the guy to complete a calendar slam, and this would be the year to get the “golden calendar slam (all four majors and an Olympic gold medal in singles),” which I believe nobody has ever done.
Also, thank you to all who entered the 2012 Australian Open racquet giveaway, a winner was selected and won a new Wilson BLX ProStaff Six.One 90 tennis racquet! For those of you who didn’t win, don’t worry, I’ll be having more giveaways during the year, so be sure to check back often (you should already be).