Australian Open: Week 1 Wind-up

This season is definitely one that’s opening to a multitude of various outcomes. There’s always the strong belief in particular athletes, however the nature of tennis is always evolving to get past those Goliath players. After this first week of the Australian Open here is a list of note-worthy points.

  1. Del Potro Withdrawal: I was so excited to see him return to the tour, it was a shame that his wrist wasn’t prepared.
  2. Raonic’s new shirt: I think everyone is glad Charlie Brown’s shirt was retired after last season stint with it, way too distracting for me to watch him when all I kept thinking was “What’s Charlie wearing then?”
  3. Murray with Under Armour: Now I get that this initially football brand is trying to branch out into other sports via sponsorship, etc. I hope for Murray’s sake that his kit suits his needs and comfort levels. I know when my team was switched from Nike to Under Armour the quality and specs expected for athletics weren’t as pleasing as Nike. I think many athletic brands can significantly improve their relations with buyers by taking in what professional athletes have to say about the feeling and durability of the apparel.
  4. Federer is Out: His earliest exit from the Australian open in…. ages. Feds just wasn’t on point from the start and couldn’t recover in time. He said in his post match interview not to think/look too much into this as anything other than a bad day so.. till next time Federer.
  5. Aussie Aussie Aussie… Oi Oi OI!: Aussies Gave a good run during the first week, a trio of young blood boys and wild attitudes to match. Kyrgios, Tomic, and Kokkinakis definitely tried to mix their own style into play that may come off as “young arrogance” but looks to me as though they’re just feeding off the excitement of having home court advantage. Sam Groth was great also. I’m always a fan of any professional athlete that has attempted playing other sports than their specialty (i’m referring to his 2011 venture into soccer)
    1. Kygrios makes it to 2nd week! crazy 5 set match.
  6. Murray looking amazing: I didn’t know what to expect from him in this tournament, but he’s been very impressive this first week, looking strong and sure of himself. At this point I’d say Semis are definitely in his future.

Minor distinctions:

  • Nike athletes being dressed up like their back in the 80’s fitness era with their neon coloured kits burning the eyes.
  • The wave is back it seems, Australians always know how to enjoy themselves and their way of entertaining themselves (and probably the players also) is by marathon-ing the heck out of the wave. “Quiet Please” ha ha ha
  • Murray is looking not only physically strong, but mentally. Too bad he’s on the same side as Nadal for the draw or I’d be rooting for him to make the finals.

So among my second week expectations I had some right and wrong.

Right: Nadal, Milos, Djokovic, Wawrinka, and Berdych

Wrong: Federer, Monfils, Dimitrov, Ferrer and Robredo

Unsure of making it: Murray and Nishikori (but they did)

After writing this all down I do realize I was way off in terms of body numbers making the second week.

Second week expectations

Murray vs Kyrgios: Winner Murray

Nadal vs Berdych: Nadal  Winner: Berdych

Wawrinka vs Nishikori: Nishikori  Winner: Wawrinka

Milos vs Djokovic: Milos  Winner: Djokovic (not surprised)

Disappointing with how these quarter finals played out. All within 2 hours in straight sets doesn’t evoke much excitement for the rest of the tournament. 

Post-Semis Update:

Murray vs Berdych: Winner Murray

This was the kind of match I was expecting during quarters. These two men both played professionally considering the drama the press were making in this “work triangle”  between Berdych, Murray, and Vallverdu. You could tell that frustrated Murray during his post-match interview that the off court drama was taking away from discussing  the match itself.

Berdych is always more honest and emotional when discussing his matches. It comes off a bit crass, but his belief in himself and his skills is something every player has (Nadal might be the exception, read his biography). I think anyone new watching his matches and post-match interviews might initially feel thrown off by his confidence, but that’s just a tolerance level one has to develop when following Berdych on tour. For me, I always feel like he has this look on his face that says “Are you really going to ask me these stupid questions? Did you not just watch the match yourself?” which I’ve learned to be amused by… took me long enough.

I don’t know what kind of water he’s (Murray) putting in the cool-aid, but I’d like some please. His energy and style of play just looked and feels to me much more focused, refined and fresh at the same time. Like a light switch being turned on, you watch him play and believe that he is capable of winning this grand slam. His prior slam wins always seemed to me like a combination of him playing his top game, but also his opponent having an off day. Whereas now, he’s playing as if his opponent can having a good match but he’ll still top it. Very excited for his appearance in the final.

Djokovic vs Wawrinka: Winner Djokovic

Awesome match until the final set, becomes almost a formality when the score is 5-0 to finish. It was amusing to see Djokovic lose track of the score so without noticing he finished a game he won the point for. I don’t think Wawrinka cracked a single smile or altered his facial expression during the entire match.

Bye bye 1,280 points Wawrinka earned from his title. His ranking is going to drop somewhere to the lower top 10 area. Murray’s guaranteed 1,200 points for making the finals will have him return to the top 4, thus restoring the true original “Big 4” of men’s tennis (Federer, Nadal, Murray, Djokovic). Think Murray will go up to #3 and Nadal drops to #4, but I’m not 100% sure.

Not going to pick a winner because that for me is like picking the lesser of two evils. Doesn’t matter who wins at this point. Not saying either are bad players, just personal preference has me favoring other players over these two guys. 

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