Monday, January 13, 2014

Australian Open Serves Up A New Season

Grand Slam season launches this week with the Australian Open with no dearth of story lines on both sides of the locker room. On the men’s side it doesn’t get any bigger than Rafel Nadal who enters the tournament as the World’s #1 ranked player but not seeded number one in this dance, that honor goes to Novak Djokovic. However Nadal has more to play for that just the retention of his top ranking as he can become the first male player to win all Grand Slam titles twice in a career. It certainly won’t be easy as his bracket is stacked with some of the biggest names in the business including Federer, Murray, and Juan Martin del Porto, qualifying it for “group of death” status. Djokovic, the 4-time champion, has won the last three Open Championships and will surely be a factor as the field dwindles but can these two meet up one more time to give us another thriller to kick off the season? We hope so. The ladies side didn’t waste any time making headlines as former #1 Venus Williams made a first round exit at the hands of a familiar nemesis. Victoria Azarenka had already beaten Serena Williams twice last year and knows what it takes as illustrated by the 3-set victory over her big sister. Serena will try to avoid the setback her sister faced when she gets her tournament started in her quest to equal 18 slam titles that would tie her with tennis royalty to likes of Chris Everett and Martina Navrotilova. Serena’s record of 78-4 is worthy of royalty in itself but will be tested to see how many numbers she can add to the left side of the ledger and if number 18 is in the cards. The storylines may be there but so is the heat as triple-digit temps are expected to accompany the festivities. Fatigue may play a factor so you may see some players taking some games off or conversely trying to finish off an opponent early to get off the frying pan surface and end to the locker room with a victory. In any case the potential to have history made and they drop serve tonight.

No comments: