Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Aussie Open Wrap

A quick note, as my computer time is limited. Will be back up on the home machine in the next few days, and verbosity shall reign again! Until then, brevity is my middle name.
As predicted, Maria Sharapova stepped forward as the woman to beat this year as she rolled to the championship. Along the way, she not only didn't drop a set, but she bageled the #1 player in the world. If you care to go through almanacs of tennis scores, you would be hard-pressed to find a similar occurrence. Remarkable stuff
On the men's side, the consummate counter-puncher Novak Djokovic took his first Grand Slam, beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (he of the annoying Muhammed Ali comparisons) in the final. With his game, confidence, and conditioning, I agree with the pundits that there may well be more championships in his future.
A few points about the ball-bouncing controversty surrounding Djokovic in the final. Annoying or not, it is within the rules as long as he does not violate the time allotment between points, which he does not. Next, it is clearly not meant to be deceptive; there is a clear rhythm to it, which transitions to a smooth service motion. There are no interruptions or pump fakes. Clearly this is part of his pre-point ritual and should be taken as such. Lastly, the behavior of Tsonga, the crowd, and the erstwhile pleasant Dick Enberg were pretty weak. Complaining to the chair umpire, fans yelling "stop it", and Enberg commenting on it being annoying; just garbage. I expect a much higher standard from Enberg and the usually knowledgable Aussie fans.
Don't want to end my Aussie Open coverage on a downer note, though. The quality of play throughout the tourney was really first rate and sets a high standard for the rest of the season. Some great story lines too. The next big event is the Pacific Life Open in Palm Springs in March, and we'll be there!

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