The first grand slam tournament of the season finished yesterday, and it was an excellent tournament. Both finals (men and ladies) were great matches with a lot of twists and drama. Let me write a few notes about things that caught my eyes during the last two weeks.
How good were our predictions?
First of all, I have to return to our pre-season and pre-tournament picks. I had the same Djokovic – Pliskova combo in both predictions, and I got 50% right. The only thing I regret is the miss with Sofia Kenin. I knew she would have an excellent season, but I thought the most prominent success would come later at home soil (check my Bold Tennis Predictions 2020 (US Open section)).
Men’s Singles – so close to new Grand Slam winner
Novak Djokovic fully deserves to be not just a winner of the Australian Open but also the number one in ATP Ranking. He was simply the best. And I am fully aware that many Federer fans will object that and point to Roger’s injury. Frankly, I think that Novak will beat Roger nine out of times these days. He is younger, better physically prepared, and a bit better also mentally (and now the storm in the comments section can start).
Dominic Thiem was so close. I believe that if the Australian Open would be played on clay, he will be flying home to Austria with the trophy. Thiem was in his third Grand Slam final and showed the best performance so far. He was a real threat, and one or two balls decided the match. I think that Thiem can win Roland Garros this year (yes, I am aware of that guy from Mallorca). He is older than the so-called “NextGen,” but he now looks like the most probable successor of Great Trio.
I already mention Roger Federer, who suffered from an injury. He is 38 years old, so that is no surprise that his body is not in the same shape as in 2010. Injured Federer is still good enough to compete and beat players outside of the top 30 (however, not in three sets anymore). In case Roger meets the top opponent, he needs much more effort to prevail.
Rafael Nadal was not injured, and that makes me wonder if quarterfinals are all he can reach on a hard surface. Clay will be a different story.
Alexander Zverev was the biggest surprise for me. He was a different player. Focused, fast, and precise Zverev is a real threat. The only question remains if he can stay in this shape for another month or two.
The biggest disappointment comes from Tsitsipas and Medvedev. A lot of fans saw them at least in semifinals. Their losses with Raonic (Tsitsipas in 3rd round) and Wawrinka (Medvedev in 4th round) were the signal that old and middle-aged players still have the edge over the “NextGen” at least on Grand Slams.
Overall, I believe we are close to the moment when we will see a new Grand Slam winner. And I have a feeling the Thiem – Zverev generation will make it sooner than Tsitsipas or Medvedev.
Ladies’ Singles – No chance to pick it right
Ladies’ singles were a different story with Kenin – Muguruza, a pretty unlikely final match-up. Sofia Kenin, as the winner was even more unlikely. But that is the fun with all WTA tennis. You never know till the day the last ball of the tournament. And I would not say that early loss by Serena Williams or Karolina Pliskova made the Australian Open boring. No way. Just check the results of the semifinals (both matches finished 6-7 5-7). That was quite a day to watch tennis.
Overall, betting or predicting ladies’ tennis is one of the toughest sports jobs in the world.