Tina McCarthy discusses the five talking points from the Men’s Australian Open.
1. Rafael Nadal is the greatest sportsman of all time
We need to treasure the Spaniard as long as he is involved in the game. He is an exemplar of so many things: competitiveness, attitude, grace, passion, commitment and sportsmanship. For the sake of his own health, he clearly should not have continued playing in the final against Stanislas Wawrinka. He even mumbled ‘it’s over’ to coach Uncle Tony during the final when his back injury worsened. But, as he told the press afterward: ‘I hate to retire, especially in a final…I tried hard until the end…for the crowd, for the opponent, for me’. That says it all. Vamos Rafa. You are a legend.
2. Roger Federer is on his way back to his best
Having made the semi-finals of the Australian Open for eleven consecutive years, Federer reminded the tennis world that he is not going anywhere. It may be too early to tell the impact that new coach Stefan Edberg is having on Federer’s game, but he certainly showed a huge improvement in consistency and shot choice at the Australian Open. Federer is second only to Nadal for the number of clay-court match wins in his career. Don’t write him off for a fantastic clay-court season either.
3. Breaking serve does not equate to winning a match Joke-ovic!
Djokovic tearing his shirt off like the Hulk after the epic final against Nadal in 2012 was unforgivable, but roaring like a caveman after breaking Wawrinka’s serve early in the fifth set of their quarter-final this year was not only incredibly arrogant, but turned out to be laughable too. Stan broke right back. There was no celebration on the part of the gentlemanly Swiss…and we all know how the story ended. Joke’s on you, Novak.
4. Del Potro needs to work harder
I’m almost at the point of giving up belief in the Argentine, but I can’t. He’s just too good. But what is it, then, that keeps him from appearing in the latter stages of the Slams? It must all be in the preparation…and the head. He has the weapons, and the track record, against the top ten. He should not be losing to lower ranked players as often as he does. Del Potro needs to pull his socks up (borrow a pair from Mattek-Sands) and realise his potential.
5. Umpires really are clamping down on the time rule
It appears it’s not just a fad. They’re actually implementing the time rule. All of them. Giving warnings to top and low ranked players alike. It’s quite remarkable, but still a controversial topic. The time rule has been enforced more stringently since that almost six-hour battle between Nadal and Djokovic. It’s understandable that the ATP wants to ensure that fans don’t get bored of watching. But there is still a need for more leniency by the umpires, given some of the gruelling rallies the men play against each other. This is a rule which must be implemented fairly.
Pundit Arena, Tina McCarthy.
Featured Image By Ian Gampon (Flickr: ) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.