What We Learned from the Australian Open
The Australian Open is in the books and Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki were the last players standing in their respective fields. Here is a review of things fans learned from the Australian Open.
Caroline Wozniacki can Win a Grand Slam
It’s been a long time coming for the Dane. Prior to winning her first grand slam this weekend, Wozniacki spent a total of 67 weeks atop the rankings. But within that span, she had no grand slams to show for it. Her rank has gone up and down the past seasons. One year she would have a good season and the next year she wouldn’t. Many wonder if Wozniacki would ever win a grand slam because of her defensive nature. She proved them all wrong this past weekend
Though Wozniacki did add some offensive punch in Australia, there is no denying her defense was as equally important in route to her title run. In the second round, Caroline overcame match points a 1-5 deficit. This was based on her rock-solid defense that her opponent could not break though, causing a mountain of errors. In the finals Wozniacki had to overcome a break in the third set against Simona Halep, largely due to her offense but also because of her incredible defense.
If Wozniacki can find the balance between being offensive and using that defensive prowess, many more grand slams will be in her future.
Next Gen Players are COMING
Every season, tennis experts and fans speculate which young player will be the one to breakthrough. Sascha Zverev last year stood out among the pack of his peers. He won two Master 1000s title, where he beat the likes of Djokovic and Federer. Though he underperformed in the grand slams, many thought this would be the year he would breakout. He failed to do that in Australia, but he did lose to another Next Gen (Generation) player, Hyeon Chung.
Chung proved at this year’s Aussie Open that people should be paying attention to him. He not only defeated Zverev, but he took out six-time Australian Open Champion in Djokovic in the fourth round, in straight sets. Chung put on an impressive display of defensive and offensive skills to take out Djokovic. Chung would then win his quarterfinal before having to retire in the semis against Federer due to blisters. Despite that Chung had to retire, he proved that he will be a force to reckon with.
Young Brit, Kyle Edmund, also had a breakout tournament in Melbourne. Edmund, like Chung, isn’t highly discussed among the Next Gen players. But after his performance this year, he will be one to watch. In his run to the semis, Edmund beat top players such as Kevin Anderson and Grigor Dimitrov. Edmund’s forehand was on fire in his matches and if he continues to develop other parts of his game, he will be dangerous.
Though Federer walked away with the title, the young guns showed out in Australia. Assuming the other Next Gen players are inspired to play better by seeing the performance by Chung and Edmund, 2018 might be their year.
There is no stopping Roger Federer
There aren’t enough superlatives in the world to describe what Roger Federer continues to do. After winning two grand slams (and a bunch of other titles), it was hard to imagine that Federer could do that. After all, he is 37 years-old and at some point, his game has to dip. Well, Federer is one of a kind.
Federer made it to the finals without dropping a set. In the finals, Marin Cilic pushed the match to five sets but in the end, Federer was too good. He now has 20 grand slams, a record of epic proportions on the ATP tour. Now the number one ranking is within grasp and with Rafa grappling with injury, it is inevitable that Federer will regain it.
The scariest thing about Roger Federer is that he does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Whereas his big four peers (Djokovic, Nadal, and Andy Murray) are all fighting the injury bug, Federer is in perfect health. He is happy, relaxed and eager to build on his legacy. With no one in his way, it seems that this will be another dominant year for Federer. The question remains who is going to stop him.