Sleepless nights. Dragging myself through the office door. Drinking lots of coffee to stay awake. The Australian Open is one of the worst tournaments and one of the best tournaments for tennis fans. I have been sleeping on the couch for the last 2 weeks. It was fun for the first few days but the longer I slept on the couch the more my poor, old tired body started to feel the strain of not having my bed so that I can have room enough to turn. It did not help that the newest addition to the family, Billy the Terrier mix decided that it was fine to try and snuggle up under the covers in the couch with me. It was all I could do not to squash him most of the time.
As far as the women are concerned the 2015 edition of the Australian Open is now over. There were winners and losers and some huge disappointments. Here are the Spin’s winners and losers as we head to Fed Cup play over the next few days. Ace will have his Fed Cup preview post up in the next few days.
- Serena Williams continuing to set the bar really high
- Maria Sharapova showing us that if but for Serena she would be in the WTA Penthouse
- Venus showing us that age is nothing but a number
- Garbine Muguruza, the talent is there, everything else needs to catch up
- Elina Svitolina, again the talent is there, just needs to show more on the bigger stages
- Ekaterina Makarova – you make the semifinals of back to back hard court Majors, you are a winner but …
- Madison Keys, firing on all cylinders with weapons aplenty. If only she could get fitter.
- Dominika Cibulkova – she lost in the quarters and her ranking is headed south, but she played one of the best matches of the tournament
- Victoria Azarenka – welcome back. Tennis missed you
- Irina Camelia Begu – little known Romanian made it all the way to the fourth round
- Julia Georges – great to see her playing great tennis again. Here’s hoping that she has truly found her game.
- Lucie Hdrackea – she came through qualifying and pulled the biggest upset of the tournament in taking out Ana Ivanovic in the first round.
- Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova, Australian Open doubles champs. Maybe this will spur Lucie on to greater heights.
- Yanina Wickmayer played one of the best matches of the tournament against Sara Errani. This match was barely shown on tv but it was enthralling if only for the fight shown by both players. Maybe this match will somehow revive Wickmayer’s career.
- Jarmila Gadjosova – she finally won a match at the Australian Open. I guess that should be in the winners column
- Madison Brengle – much was made of another Madison, but Brengle, who usually slugs it out in the outer limits of tennis, came back from a cancer scare, made it through qualifying in Hobart and got to the final and then made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open. Well done.
- Tennis Australia – you do not under any circumstances call a press conference with one of your most decorated sporting icons to announce his retirement especially during a women’s match, and certainly not when it is a match as important as a women’s semifinal of a Grand Slam. It was in poor taste and showed the ultimate disrespect to the women.
- Angelique Kerber – our 2014 Almost is back to her tricks again in going out in the first round
- Petra Kvitova – I don’t care how hard Keys was hitting the ball, your experience should have pulled you through that match
- Simona Halep – failing to turn up for the second set of your quarterfinal is embarassing
- Ekaterina Makarova – you have been down this road before, you should know what to expect and how to deal with it
- Caroline Wozniacki – no way you should have lost to someone who had only played one match all season long
- Sloane Stephens – seriously?
- Ana Ivanovic – again seriously?
- Umpires – if you are going to call out illegal coaching, you need to do it to everyone, not just a chosen few
- Court assignments – we note with some amount of displeasure the fact that some players got every single match on Rod Laver Arena while the No. 1 ranked women’s player in the world and now 6 time champion started her campaign on Margaret Court Arena.
- Its a little thing but it can become a big thing. Canadian Eugenie Bouchard needs to learn how to behave professionally. Yes, we know you are hungry and yes we know you are disappointed about losing but there was absolutely no need for you to act like this because you lost a match.
- If you are in doubt as to how to shake hands after a tough loss, go pull up a YouTube video of Venus Williams or just Google Venus Williams handshake and you will see how it is done.
- Aga Radwanska – new coach, same problems. It is all well and good to beat up everyone with bagel sets. It is quite another to go away completely in a match without putting in a bit of effort.
- The German Fed Cup team – Petkovic, Lisicki and Kerber. Blink and you missed them.
- Bencic – while it was good that she was seeded and Georges played a terrific match, I have no idea what happened.
- Martina Navratilova – her on air critique of Aga Radwanska was “low rent”. The fact that your charge did not follow your game plan or look at you during her match is no reason to go on air and criticise her. Apalling behaviour.
- Conflict of interest in tennis – seeing Lindsay sitting in Madison Keys’ player box and then providing commentary from the Tennis Channel irked me.
- Sam Stosur won a few matches in Australia. This is a good thing. She lost to Coco Vandeweghe in the second round. This was unacceptable. Maybe Tennis Australia should consider putting her on an outside court so that the Fanatics can cheer her on.
This and That
- Women’s tennis is in a pretty good place right now. The matches from round 1 to the finals was a testament to the talent and depth on the women’s Tour. No doubt as the season progresses we will see more breakout players and some even more compelling matchups.
- Tennis commentary needs to evolve. I, and for what its worth many tennis fans have now become aware of the tennis memes and frankly many of us have become tired by the same old lines.
- It cannot be stated enough how uncomfortable tennis fans have become with the blatant conflicts of interest in tennis. Frankly what gets me is the fact that the outrage seemed to only be directed at one person, i.e. Mary Jo Fernandez and her friendship with Roger Federer. To my mind the conflict that exists over at Tennis Channel and to a lesser extent ESPN is even more blatant and flagrant. It needs to stop.
- Eligibility for the 2016 Olympics is in full swing. The marquee names who are suiting up for Fed Cup, especially after the end of a a Grand Slam tournament has brought out the rolling eyes from me and many others. The fans of the sport will however benefit from seeing people like Serena and Venus Williams all the way over in Argentina and Maria Sharapova playing in Krakow, Poland.