All we learned during Australian Open 2019 – Tennis Column #17

Australian Open 2019 is history. Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka claimed the titles. There were a lot of interesting moments we covered in our daily updated notebook. Here I will try to highlight other interesting points from a more global perspective. Things we learned during the past two weeks.

Bold Predictions Result?

In our Bold Tennis Predictions for 2019, we picked Novak Djokovic and Karolina Pliskova as winners of Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic was the right pick. He went easily to final and there he won even more easily. Incredible tennis from an incredible player.

Karolina Pliskova lost with future winner Naomi Osaka in semifinals in three sets. We were close but did not pick it right. Frankly, I did not expect Osaka will be able to repeat US Open 2018.

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Men’s Singles

Novak Djokovic

His final performance was probably the best tennis I ever see. Nobody would have a chance against Novak on Sunday. There was not a thing you can reproach to him. He was perfect. It was a lecture given for free to Nadal and everybody watching.

Novak Djokovic won third grand slam tournament in a row. And I start to believe he can make it four in May and maybe even win all 4 grand slams during 2019. If he will repeat his performance, nothing is impossible. I really wish for Nadal – Djokovic match in Paris during Roland Garros. I want to see the revenge from Rafael and want to know if Djokovic can be as superb also on the clay surface.

What is your take about the French Open winner? Give us your opinion in our poll.

Rafael Nadal

He did not play a competitive match from September 2018. He even had to withdraw from tournaments and exhibition matches in January 2019. His participation in final was something even Nadal himself did not expect. He lost with pride as nobody would have a chance against Novak. Nadal is also near to the end of his career, but I expect a few more tournament titles during clay season from him.

Lucas Pouille and Stephanos Tsitsipas and Francis Tiafoe

To win a quarterfinal match or make a surprise is quite different from being in the Grand Slam semifinal (or quarterfinal for Tiafoe). Their performance in matches against Nadal and Djokovic was really poor. The burden of historical opportunity just got under their skin and we saw short and easy matches. Not everybody is Naomi Osaka. Tsitsipas will need more “Federer like wins” to settle among top players.

Roger Federer

4th round loss? Incredible. That is a thing I did not expect. And I doubt if anybody expected that at all. But it happens and my prediction of Roger Federer retirement starts to get value. His decision to go to the French Open (and maybe say good-bye to Paris and clay) suggests a lot. Another bold statement follows. Roger Federer will not win a Grand Slam tournament anymore. I strongly doubt if he will win any tournament at all with exception of Basel.

NextGen is alive

A lot of fans were disappointed when Dominic Thiem retired the in the 2nd round. Much more fans were disappointed when Alexander Zverev lost in the 4th round. However, Medvedev and Tiafoe made it to the quarterfinal. Tsitsipas beat Federer in the 4th round and make it to semifinals. That is not a bad result for NextGen players. The process of becoming a top player is a long one, so do not expect the miracle instantly.

Ladies Singles

Naomi Osaka

Just a champion can win two Grand Slams in a row. Naomi Osaka made it. At 21 years she is already number 1 in WTA ranking and holder of two Grand Slam titles. Naomi Osaka is definitely a player who will rule the tennis world in the next 10 years. We knew it in September 2018 and now all tennis world know it.

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova deserved to win Australian Open too. Unfortunately, she faced Naomi in final. She fought till the end, she did not give up even when down 6:7 3:5 0:40. Her smile tells it all. She likes tennis, and tennis likes her. She will win at least one more Grand Slam for sure.

Czech Ladies!

Petra Kvitova in final, Karolina Pliskova in semifinals, 5 other Czech players in Ladies Main Singles Draw. That is an outstanding result for such a small country.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams is still one of the best tennis players. She lost in quarterfinals in one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament. She definitely can play excellent tennis, but I start to doubt if she can still win Grand Slam. These two weeks tournaments are too long for a player in her age. It seems, that there will always be someone with better fitness or just with more luck during the second week.

Ashleigh Barty

Barty definitely established herself among top tennis players. I believe that next year home fans can experience something big from her. She belongs to top contenders at Australian Open 2020.

Others

Did you miss Halep, Wozniacki, Stephens, or Kerber on Saturday? Me not. But it is good to know, that the pool of potential grand slam winners is so strong. No matter who of the players mentioned above will be in finals, good entertainment is assured.

What’s next?

There is a Davis Cup qualification next weekend and then the tournaments cycle will start again (check ATP and WTA schedule here). Indian Wells and Miami Open in March will be another big highlight of the season. And then we will move to clay, Monte Carlo in April, Madrid, and Rome in May. On 27th May second Grand Slam tournament of the season will start in Paris. This time not just with Nadal and Djokovic, but also with Federer.



Posted in BLOG, Tennis Column.

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