First Serve – 5 Takeaways from the Australian Open

It feels a VERY long time ago since our last blog, where we paused to reflect on the chaos of the lead-up to the Australian Open.

What are our five takeaways from this year’s Australian Open?

Don’t mess with the Australian Government

It was with a complete sense of disbelief that things unfolded and ultimately unravelled for the World No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic.

You can read our unfolding coverage of the situation here:

Djokovic Going to the Australian Open

Djokovic denied access to Australia

Djokovic free for now

Djokovic visa cancelled again

No-one came out a winner here. Tennis Australia for chancing their arm, the Victorian State Government for being part of the medical evaluation board but declining to sponsor Djokovic’s application, the machinations of the Australian Federal government who sent in the Immigration minister in to bat after the Home Affairs minister struck out.

But most of all – Djokovic himself has some searching questions to ask himself. Some countries may me more lenient, but others will act in similar ways to combat the ongoing risk of Covid-19 variants. 

One thing he learned the hard way though – no amount of record titles will exempt you from strict guidelines and his behavior after his test – going out in public, attending an interview and presentations, travelling to Spain for training – will have done him no favours. 

Will he ever be allowed back? Watch this space.

The historic ending of an Aussie drought

Could the Aussies have a nicer champion? No we don’t think so either. Having taken time out as a promising young player and having made huge strides on the doubles court, Barty stepped away from the support in 2015, turned her hand to Big Bash cricket and, of course, became a star at that too.

Since her return in 2017, she has progressed gradually but steadily before winning her maiden Slam at Roland Garros, and backing that up with Wimbledon last year. Not wanting to rain on the US Open’s parade the next logical one for her to win was… her home slam.

Not that she didn’t have a bit of a wobble against the scarily efficient Danielle Collins. She came from 1-5 down to win the whole shebang in straight sets.

Let that sink in.

She is one of the nicest players on tour, but there was an edge of steel that came out, especially in her celebration on match point. Ladies and gentlemen – we have a number one to stay.

Is Nick Kyrgios still good for the game?

Oh this boy is marmite isn’t he? His scant disregard for the sport, constant threatening to can it because he prefers basketball, sits at odds with him working hard in the off-season and culminating a zoo-like atmosphere at his games with a Men’s doubles title. 

There is no doubt he packs in the crowds and the crowds for a men’s doubles final on an historic day for the Aussies were great, but for as much good as he does, he also alienates people.

It remains to be seen whether this title will give him a kick, but the emotional maiden title the week before the Australian Open for Thanasi Kokkinakis might help boost is career as Nick will be Nick.

But just think what Kyrgios would have been capable off, if he had ever put his mind to it.

#21 or Bust

Few people would have even thought that Rafael Nadal would even make it to the semi-finals, finals or win the whole shebang, but win it he did in a thriller of a five-set battle. It might not have been the best tennis at times, but it was gripping.

In Medvedev we have a loveable rogue. He can let the public get under his skin, but by god can he play and there will be many more finals and Slams for the lanky Russian.

But to paraphrase Nadal – we must suffer and fight. He looked down and out, and clawed his way back into the match, into a nail-biter of a deciding set. 

Will he back to defend his title? Who knows. But would any of you count him out of #22 in Paris? 

Tennis won

Trying to put on any kind of sporting event has proved to be a challenge in and around the continuing effects of a global pandemic. Trying to put on a tennis tournament and flying people in from all over the world has been at times a logistical nightmare.

Trying to come out of the chaotic start to the tournament looked to be a tall task – but once the tournament started, the stories started coming. Andy Murray winning a battle in his first round on the court where the Australian Open prematurely honoured him for his ‘retirement’. Exciting young talents making their presence felt.

History being made in a weekend where quite honestly, tennis won. 

We do we go from here? Who knows – but it sure will be fun to find out.