2011 Australian Open Wrap-Up
The Australian Open is officially over and it was a great two week. There were so many memorable matches and the tournament coordinators did a fantastic job putting the event together. Congrats to Craig Tiley and his entire team for a job well done!
Men’s names to Remember:
- Bernard Tomic: Third round loss to Nadal. Big 6’5” guy and has many of the tools to be a top ranked pro.
- Richard Berankis: Third round loss to Ferrer. He is only 5’10” but is very fast.
- Milos Raonic: 20 year old Canadian who is 6’5”. You will hear lots more about this young man.
- Alexandr Dolgopolov: he beat Tsonga, Soderling, and then lost to Murray. He has a variety of shots, moves well, and can play both offensive and defensive. He is an entertainer and can take you out.
- Ryan Harrison: He really came into his own at the 2010 U.S. Open. He lost this year in the first round of the Aussie Open, but he has a complete game and his mind is catching up to his ability.
Women’s names to Remember:
- Caroline Wozniacki: We must all remember that she is only 20 years of age. She has received so much publicity including opinions that she should not be the No.1 tennis player, but the results beg to differ. She has a solid all-around game but needs to add stronger defense, variety and add a stronger second serve.
- Andrea Petkovic: She may be 23 but be careful…she is a great hitter, strong and big, has beaten Sharapova, has a huge serve, but lost to Na Li. She can still knock any play on Tour out of a draw.
- Petra Kvitova: She is a 20 year-old lefty with a killer forehand, but also a very aggressive two-handed backhand. She has reached the semifinals at Wimbledon and beat Stosur at the Australian Open, but lost to Vera Zvonareva.
- Dinara Safina: No one can believe she lost 6-0, 6-0. This is not right, what is going on with Dinara?
- Samantha Stosur: It’s tough to go into a major and be the hope of your country that is the hosting nation. She is a keen competitor who has excellent off court training, but living up to what you did previously and finding out the kicker serve is not going to hold up made it tough for Samantha.
- Francesca Schiavone: I wish that all athletes would take a page out of her book. They should watch her every move and enthusiasm she displays at all times.
The Women’s Tour:
- The Tour was fortunate to have Kim Clijsters and Na Li in the draw. There was no Venus or Serena and there were some disappointing performances.
The Men’s Tour:
- It’s deeper than deep! The field included brilliant contenders such as Nadal, Federer, Murray, Djokovic but also had great competition from Del Porto, Berdych, Ferrer, Cilic, and other young aspiring players ranging from 18-21 years of age.
- No matter what happned at the 2011 Australian Open, Roger Federer is a champion of champions, but we learned he is not a robot. It only happens once in a blue moon, but he showed frustration in his loss to Novak Djokovic and was outplayed by Novak. It was very clear to me that his one-handed backhand could not stand up to Novak’s cross court backhands or match his forehands. I am sure Roger and his coach will review the match and have a different strategy in their next meeting.
- Rafael Nadal is so special. Only a few athletes from any sport can match what this guy does on and off the playing surface. Yes, he appeared to get injured on the first few hits of his match against Ferrer, but never once did he falter from his drive to compete. So many players would have retired, but his respect for his opponent forced him to complete the match. His career will be determined by his physical make-up. He gives so much during a match or in practice which then takes a heavy toll on his body. Nadal is 24 years-old and if healthy has the ability to become the greatest player in the history of tennis.
- Stanislas Wawrinka has always had the ability to hang with and beat the very best in the world, but once again, what happens in your mental approach to the game can often prevent you from being a consistent winner. Even though he is in his mid-twenties, he still has time. It seems he has made a commitment to really put all he has into the game of tennis. His strength and movement are excellent, along with a one-handed backhand that is one of the best on Tour. It will be interesting to see what happens with him…
- Tomas Berdych was on a hot streak but faltered in the quarters. His ability to stay focused has helped him in so many ways. His game is hitting the ball quite flat with a killer forehand and a very consistent backhand.
The Women’s Final
- Na Li won over the entire world, not only for her superb baseline play, but for her outstanding personality on and off of the court. Let’s not put aside the constant battle she has with her opponents, but also with her coach/husband who she complains snores too much! She is the new star in town and I am sure she will influence so many young Chinese girls to start playing tennis. I have a feeling China will become a major force in tennis if they play like her!
- Na Li’s game: Stands on the baseline with a strong foundation, giving her perfect balance at all times. She hits the ball as hard as she can from anywhere on the court and will make huge returns. She moves across the baseline with ease and has a very consistent serve. She also can come forward and can put her volleys into play which are simple, yet consistent.
- What her shots lack are variety and topspin. She must also learn to move back to the baseline when necessary. It is difficult to win Grand Slams just hitting flat, power strokes against Clijsters.
- I could write all day about Kim Clijsters and still fall short in trying to explain what a person and tennis player she is. What can’t this girl do? She can move in any direction, slide on a hard court, she is the best defensive player on Tour, has a solid, well-placed serve, and can also drive the ball, add spin, hit a deep shot, serve and volley.
- During the match, Clijsters came out swinging flat and hard which caught Na Li off guard. As soon as Na Li got her footing and won the first set 6-3, Clijsters said enough was enough and began hitting all sorts of shots. Li never backed off and the unforced errors started coming left and right.
- Nick’s Tip: Remember, there are times when your bombs and missiles must adjust to the enemy’s defense. Keep in mind, a change of pace and a variety of shots can be as effective as your big weapons because you keep the opponent guessing.
The Men’s Final
- It was sad to see a repeat performance of Murray’s last Grand Slam final appearance. He was totally a different person in every way. What he could do was nowhere to be found in this match and kept looking to his corner and telling them to relax. It seemed to me as if he was too worried about his strings.
- Nick’s Tip: The next time you play a major final, do not think about anything but enjoying the moment. Remember, Agassi went to three Grand Slam finals before he won his first. Murray can do the same.
- Djokovic displayed what the game is all about. He went about his business and kept his focus. At this point in time he is equal to the very best in every department of the game. His serve is gaining speed and he is placing it in all locations and he doesn’t have much action on the second serve.
- Novak also has one of the best forehands and backhands making him eligible to do anything he wants with the ball. Along with that, he has a great slice which can be offensive or can be used to change the rhythm of the opponents. He plays the game with tons of confidence and has fun while doing so.