Sports

Tears, tantrums & YouTube – what we learnt from the Australian Open

Osaka beats Kvitova in thrilling final

Tears. Celebrations. Hugs. Broken racquets.

The Australian Open has brought us everything from dramatic finals to people willingly drinking pickle juice.

Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic laid down the marker at the first Grand Slam of the season as they walked away with the titles, and there was plenty else to enjoy over the fortnight in Melbourne.

Here’s five things we learned at the Australian Open.

Andy Murray can still make you believe

There was plenty of praise for Andy Murray when he announced on the eve of the tournament that he plans to retire in the summer.

Given Murray’s injury struggles in 2018, his first-round match against Roberto Bautista Agut in Melbourne was always going to be difficult.

But if there’s one thing we know about Murray, it’s that giving up is really not in his nature.

‘A colossal match’ – best moments as Murray bows out of Australian Open in style

On the opening day of the tournament, Murray battled for four hours and nine minutes.

In front of a packed Melbourne Arena, he fought back from two sets down to force a fifth set.

Ultimately, the Scot fell just short – but it offered a stark reminder of how much we will miss Murray.

No-one could decide who they wanted to be women’s champion

Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova are arguably two of the most likeable players on the women’s tour.

Japan’s Osaka has endeared herself to the public with her down-to-earth and slightly awkward public speaking.

The controversial US Open final against Serena Williams reduced her to tears as she collected her maiden Slam trophy to boos from the crowd.

Kvitova, meanwhile, has made a remarkable return to tennis since she suffered career-threatening injury in a knife attack at her home in 2016.

People couldn’t decide who they wanted to win…

Ultimately, it was Osaka who took home the title and the world number one ranking with a dramatic 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-4 win.

As Osaka said to Kvitova afterwards: “I’ve always wanted to play you.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted this to be our first match.”

Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova’s thrilling match lasted for two and a half hours

The changing of the guard might have to wait

This time last year, Osaka was 72nd in the world rankings and was yet to win a WTA title.

Now, she’s at the top of the world rankings with two Grand Slam titles to her name.

Melbourne was also where Ashleigh Barty reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final and rising American Danielle Collins thrashed second seed Angelique Kerber in the fourth round.

Top seed Simona Halep lost to Serena Wiliams in the fourth round, before Williams, despite holding four match points, fell to Karolina Pliskova in the quarters.

So, things are changing in the women’s game. Is it the same in the men’s?

ATP Finals winner Alexander Zverev, 21, has yet to go beyond the quarter-finals in a Slam.

He continued that record when he fell to Milos Raonic in the fourth round, promptly taking his frustration out on his racquet.

Alexander Zverev’s racquet was barely recognisable by the time he had finished smashing it

French Open finalist Dominic Thiem, 25, also lost his cool and his racquet during his second-round match against Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin.

Thiem was forced to retire injured, while last year’s semi-finalist Kyle Edmund was easily beaten by veteran Tomas Berdych in the first round.

However, Stefanos Tsitsipas – more on him later – claimed a fine victory over Roger Federer, leading to some suggestion of a “changing of the guard”.

Not that Federer was convinced.

“I’ve heard that story the last 10 years. From that standpoint, nothing new there,” he said, while Rafael Nadal said the next generation can “wait a little bit”.

Novak Djokovic looks unstoppable

Novak Djokovic is five Grand Slam titles away from Roger Federer’s all-time record

If proof was needed that the champions are not done yet, then Djokovic provided it by thrashing Nadal in the final.

Djokovic inflicted a first straight-set defeat in a Slam final on Nadal to claim his 15th major title.

Since the start of 2015, Djokovic has competed in 10 of the 17 Grand Slam finals – winning eight of them – and has risen to the top of the world rankings.

His victory over Nadal in Melbourne means Federer’s record of 20 Slam titles is very much within reach.

“It was the first time where I have watched the Australian Open and thought that one man can win all four Grand Slams this year,” BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller said.

“He was outstanding and on a different planet.”

Are they set for a rematch at Roland Garros in May?

Tsitsipas takes YouTube lessons to beat idol Federer

Stefanos Tsitisipas arrived at the Australian Open as one of the NextGen – the young players tipped for major success in the future.

He had studied defending champion Federer on YouTube as a child, and one of his favourite matches was the then-teenage Federer’s victory over Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001.

So what did Tsitsipas do when he met Federer in the fourth round? He beat him in four sets.

The Greek fell in the semi-finals to Rafael Nadal but he captured the imagination in Melbourne.

His YouTube channel, where he vlogs about life on tour, cracked 100,000 subscribers and he even had a dish named after him at a local Greek restaurant.

His social media game is as strong as ever, too…

Tsitsipas recently said he used filming and photography as a way to explore the various countries tournaments are held in
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top