Tennis: Australian Open offers best sporting value in town

By Benjamin Todd

Hi all, this is my first posting on the site and, with the Australian Open about to start, I thought I would have a crack at giving my on preview.

There are two reason why I love the Australian Open. First, it is the best value for money sports ticket you can get. For around $30 you can see some of the best players in the world up close and personal. The organisers have also done a great job in making it a festival as well as a tennis tournament.

Secondly, after the open finishes the new AFL season is just around the corner with the papers, radio and TV stations starting to fill with stories about the upcoming football season and predictions on where each club will finish and who will win the premiership. I think the Crows are a good show this year, but back to the tennis for now.

The woman’s side of the Open should prove to be the more interesting this year. Serena Williams will be keen to defend her title and bounce back from the controversy of the U.S. Open last year. She is always a contender but she will need to break the trend of only winning in odd years (03, 05, 07, 09). Dinara Safina, finalist from last year, did have a good year last year, winning several tournaments and becoming world No.1. However, her performances in big matches was disappointing. She lost the Australian Open final 6-0, 6-3,  Roland Garros 6-4, 6-2 and the Wimbledon semi 7-6, 6-2. It seems that it is her serve that lets her down at big moments and, having watched the early rounds in Sydney, it is still a problem. I hope she can fix this because she obviously has the talent just not the mind set in the big moments.

Perhaps the most interesting story to follow will be the two Belgians on the comeback trail. Kim Clijsters marked a stunning return to the game, beating the up and coming Dane Caroline Wozniacki, who is also a serious contender at the US Open, 7-5, 6-3, to claim her second Grand Slam title.

Justine Henin showed that she hasn’t lost her talent, and her brilliant backhand pushed Clijsters to three sets in a very entertaining final in Brisbane. The only thing that may go against her is she hasn’t had to win the seven matches in a row to win a grand slam since she won the U.S. open in 2007. As one of my favorite players I hope she does.

Finally, Elena Dementieva is someone who could make the final. The world number five made the semi-final last year and has been a finalist at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. From what I have seen so far this year she is in good form and improving.

Final: Serena Williams v Kim Clijsters

Champion: Serena Williams

The men’s side has thrown up some surprise finalists of recent including Marcos Baghdatis, Fernando Gonzalez and the modern Cassius Clay, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. While it is always possible that another surprise can happen, it looks like it will be the same players that will figure come the money end of the tournament.

Rafael Nadal had another good year, winning the Australian Open and the Davis Cup with Spain. But he suffered from injury at times and lost his crown as the king of Roland Garros. He has started the year well, winning a tournament and making the final of another. He is a big chance to retain his crown.

His great rival, Roger Federer, had another Roger Federer year, winning another Wimbledon and finally breaking through at Roland Garros. He lost an epic final to Nadal at Melbourne Park and then lost to one of the rising stars of men’s tennis Juan Martin Del Potro at Flushing Meadows. He has had a reasonable start to the year, making two semi-finals, and will once again be a top contender.

Juan Martin Del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Fernando Verdasco, Andy Roddick and the consistent Nikolay Davydenko have proven their worth at grand slam level and all are a big chance to make the final. Robin Soderling went from the upset specialist to a consistent performer last year and, once again, the pressure will be on Andy Murry to break through for Great Briton.

Final: Rafael Nadal v Juan Martin Del Potro

Champion: Rafael Nadal

Hope you all enjoy the Open and I look forward to the upcoming footy season and writing about my Lions and Blues.

About Benjamin Todd

I am a university student studying to be a secondary school teacher. My girlfriend says that I am addicted to sport. I am a full AFL member and go to at least 20 games a year, I don’t care who is playing. I follow the Lions and the Blues equally and when they play I support the team that needs the win more.

Comments

  1. hi, great piece, just not sure about the value of money, $30 will get you a gorund pass, but its an extra $30 for Rod Laver seat, and thats only for the first two days, after that it goes by $10 every day.

    Overall it was good,

    Domenic Favata :)

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