Aussie Open Wrapup
Well, this was a really good tournament. On the mens side, I’m always pleased with a Federer win. Last year, he seemed to be weighted down with the effort to match Sampras’ slam record. Running into an inspired performance by Nadal, his serve broke down in the crucial fifth set. This year, he seemed very relaxed and held off a strong challenge from Murray in the third set. Some will say that the win did not come against Nadal, however, the hyper-physical style of play that lead to much of Nadal’s success has now come back to haunt him. At that level of physical intensity, the window of time to play at one’s absolute peak is very small.
Speaking of wear and tear, it seems like the grind of the tour has really caught up to Roddick. I had higher hopes for him coming off the prior tournament win, but the two-week format of a major championship does not bode well for injuries, especially to your playing arm.
Also on the US mens side, I had hoped for slightly more depth from John Isner, but he ran headfirst into a strong performance from Murray, who seems well on his way to becoming the first Brit since Fred Perry to win a slam. If Murray continues to improve at his current pace and remains fit, it’s truly only a matter of time. I do believe he needs to learn how to adjust to a more aggressive level of play. Had he come into the net more, it might have been a different final. Federer was playing lights-out from the baseline, although he did not appear to be hitting passing shots all that well. Murray was winning a very high percentage of points at the net when he did come in throughout the entire tournament. When pressed, he seems to revert to his more comfortable role as a baseline counter-puncher. Get beyond that and we should see several majors from Murray.
Congrats to the Bryan brothers on regaining the doubles championship. Interesting move by their coach to switch court coverage for the brothers. Seemed to work well, though, and the result speaks for itself.
Speaking of results, how about those Williams sisters! When Serena serves the way she’s capable of, it’s pretty much a question of whether or not she will beat herself, not whether her opponent will beat her (unless someone on the women’s side every matches that serve). Great performance by Venus to put the singles loss behind her and take the lead in an impressive doubles championship.
Great tournament to start a new year.