The Parade College Writing Workshop – Dhir Choksi: 2017 Australian Open Final

 

By Dhir Choksi

 

This match was very important for me because it was one first time I actually went to Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne Park. The tournament was held from the 16th of January to the 29th of January 2017, making it the first tennis grand slam of the year. The reason this match and the whole tournament was very significant was because at the end of 2016, Roger Federer suffered from knee and back injuries and sat out for the entire second half of that year. Many people thought it was the end of his career and that he was never coming back. This match was the one that left people shocked. No one would’ve thought that a 36-year-old, coming back from injuries, would make the AO final. But he did. And I was ready for it.

 

It was a thriller five-set-match, probably the best international tennis game in the history of tennis. The match was pretty even, with both Federer and Rafael Nadal getting two sets each. The fifth set was arguably the best set in the history of tennis. Nadal was up with an early break at 2-3. Everyone thought the match was over because Federer was now considerably older. But then Federer broke back, held his serve and in a 6-minute service game of Nadal, broke back in one of the best points in tennis history.

 

This match was important for me because as a long time Federer fan (back from 2010) it was really significant seeing Federer coming back from injury to win a grand slam title. He was ranked 17 in the world when he had never left the top 10 for the previous 12 years. All Fed fans had low hopes but the fact that he made the final was incredible. I won’t ever forget this final.

 

The fact is that Federer played at an unbelievable level at around 40 because he changed his backhand (his weakest part of his game) making it stronger than ever before. Another key change was that he changed his racquet. His previous one had a small head meaning a smaller sweet spot to hit – it also had old technology in it which was very outdated. His new racquet, the Wilson Prostaff RF97 Autograph, has some of the newest technology released in the market, a larger head size, a racquet that supported his play style and added extra weights in the parts he needed heavier. Lastly, it looked much nicer with the jet-black colour across the racquet and the grip was a bright white.

 

Another factor that had a large impact on his win was the elimination of Novak Djokovic. Many Fed fans like to ignore this fact but it is inevitably true. Djokovic had a terrible season in 2017, he won no grand slams and only one masters 1000 title. He was the defending champion in 2017 and was looking in good shape to take it again, however he didn’t. He lost in the second round, to a player outside the top 100. This was a terrible game and it really pained him. This didn’t just open the door for Federer; it destroyed the door, the room and the entire house. The ‘next-gen’ players were all too young and weren’t playing that well. He had a large chance of getting to the final, if not win it. Djokovic was projected to play Federer in semi-finals but since the upset happened, Federer’s chances went way up.

 

Furthermore, Federer’s mental strength was fiery in this match. Federer is not typically known for his mental strength. He has blown many match points and break points in his career, actually more than most of the people on the ATP tour. But in this match, it was very different; he was keen on winning. He performed brilliantly in breakpoints, converting seven out of 12 breakpoints in the first, third and fifth set. Nadal gave him a fight in the last set and added some pressure. However, Federer didn’t melt and kept fighting. That was an unseen move from Federer – he usually doesn’t perform even close to what he did in this match. He wanted this win from the bottom of his heart and he got it. In amazing fashion, Roger Federer won the 2017 Australian Open.

 

 

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Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Thoroughly enjoyed your story Dhir. And what a fantastic experience for you to be part of the crowd watching one of the all time great tennis matches between these two legends of the game. I’m envious!

  2. Mrs Pritchard says

    Great recount Dhir. What an inspirational match to watch, especially being such a passionate and dedicated ‘Fed fan.’ Your language use, particularly your sport specific language was well executed.

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