TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2015 – The day after. There is a feeling of emptiness in the air. The press room has been emptied and inside Melbourne Park there isn’t a piece of paper or a can lying around. It’s time to look at a few numbers from the 2015 Australian Open. From Melbourne, Robbie Cappuccio
The day after. There is a feeling of emptiness in the air, as if we were waiting for something that cannot arrive. The free trams have disappeared and so have the free shuttle service from the City to the Rod Laver Arena. The press room has been emptied and inside Melbourne Park there isn’t a piece of paper or a can lying around. We Aussies might be a bit rough around the edges, but generally we follow the rules and we have a health respect for our civic duties.
There is no mention of the men’s final on the morning papers as the match finished too late as the papers were already printing, but there re many pictures of Serena, queen for the sixth time in Melbourne. By the way, her speech during the prize giving ceremony (“I went on court with a ball, a racket and hope…”) and Maria’s (“I really love playing against her as she is the best and you want to play against the best…”) were hundreds of times more touching, genuine and interesting than those uttered by Djokovic and Murray (who denounced Djoker’s “simulation” of an injury).
It was an extravagant Slam for the colour of the tennis attire with excesses like Stabilo Boss or Peppa Pig (guess who) plus Mattek-Sands’ usual eccentricity that is in a league of it’s own.
The most significant phrase of the tournament was spoken by Vitas Gerulaitis in 1980, “And let that be a lesson to you all. Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row” (referred to Gerulaitis’ encounters with Jimmy Connors), which was adapted for the Berdych-Nadal rivalry, “Nobody, not even Nadal, beats Berdych 18 times in a row”. It was also adapted for the women’s final, “Nobody, but Serena Williams, beats Masha 16 times in a row”.
Newcombe used to say that “you are only as good as your second serve”. If this is true then Murray has to worry as in the final his second serve was travelling at an average speed of 134km/h compared to Djokovic’s 158km/h. What is of bigger concern for the Scot is that both Serena (153km/h) and Masha (150km/h) were serving their second ball faster than him.
Nick Kyrgios’ nickname is “wild thing” and it isn’t just a random pick for him. Proof that he is a “wild thing” came in this tournament as he topped the list for fines. It shouldn’t be condoned, but for someone like me who grew up watching John McEnroe, these indiscretions can be forgiven. By the way the Aussie was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back and will have to take a month off from tennis.
Let’s look at some of the numbers of this record breaking tournament:
- 49 Nations were represented by the 256 players of the single’s tournaments. In the men’s draw there were 41 different nationalities with 12 of them coming from Spain. In the women’s draw there were 34 nationalities and 16 players came from the USA. 11 Australians reached the second round.
- 704 participants took part in the Australian Open 2015 considering every tournament that was played, from the men’s singles to the wheel chair events.
- The fastest serve was recorded by… Marius Copil (ROM) at 242km/h. Milos Raonic made the highest number of aces, 114.
- In the women’s draw the fastest serve was recorded by, surprise surprise, by Serena Williams at 204km/h. She even recorded the highest number of aces, 88.
- 703,899 spectators came to Melbourne Park to watch the Australian Open, 18 more than the previous record attendance registered in 2012.
- The day with the biggest attendance was the middle Saturday with 81,031 fans.
- There were 650 journalists and photographers. 296 of them from outside Australia representing 44 nations.
- The Wilson technicians restrung 4763 racquets using more than 57km of string. 71 racquets were restrung quickly during matches. Serena has also the record for the most racquets restrung, 86.
- 360 umpires and line judges, plus Hawk-Eye, were used in the tournament from 34 different countries.
- 380 ball-kids were at Melbourne Park for the fortnight. 327 came from the state of Victoria, 25 from the rest of Australia, 20 from Korea, 6 from China and 2 from Singapore.
- 8412 members of staff, both contracted and voluntary, worked behind the scenes
The Australian Open is a family event. On the last day of the qualifying tournament, Saturday 17th of January, there was Kids Tennis Day with 14500 kids and parents (among them myself with wife and daughter) were treated to a clash between team Dora and team Spongebob. The two teams were formed by the likes of Roger Federer, Ana Ivanovic, Victoria Azarenka, Eugenie Bouchard and the Aussie duo of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis. But that wasn’t it, more than 7000 kids, with their parents, visited the Disney area during the last three days of the event.
The Hisense Arena was quickly transformed in a small Disneyland where the kids could see characters from Cars, or go to the Frozen inspired world with a pile of snow and a karaoke. What to do to attract the young ones to tennis? Set up a Disney zone and give a free racquet to kids when they walk in and ask for information (just ask, they didn’t have to sign up to anything!) about the Hot Shots program. If you increase the numbers of kids playing it is easier to find the Kyrgios’ and Kokkinakis’ (by the way watch out for Violet Apisah and Destanee Aiava who are both 14 years old, but are competing and beating 17 year olds).
And finally some “digital” numbers. Before the men’s final the ausopen.com site received 13.5 million separate users.
The most clicked player profiles were Madison Keys (212,748), Eugenie Bouchard (198,381), Serena Williams (195,585), Maria Sharapova (176,404) and Ekaterina Makarova (129,614).
Amongst the men Nick Kyrgios was the most clicked (208,863), followed by Novak Djokovic (180,102), Rafael Nadal (159,683), Roger Federer (153,255) and Andy Murray (128,000), that is the Fab Four and… Jimmy Hendrix?
With one big event finished the preparation for another is getting underway. Next to my house work has started for the F1 Grand Prix, so I am off to take my Ferrari flag out of the cupboard.
Roland Garros: Novak Djokovic Dealt Thiem Challenge As Nadal Starts Against Qualifier
Novak Djokovic has been set a trickier draw than Rafael Nadal as they look to meet each other in this year’s final.
Novak Djokovic could face last year’s finalist Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals at Roland Garros as Rafael Nadal begins against a couple of qualifiers.
This year’s draw is set to be the most competitive in a while on the men’s side as there has been a lack of dominance from Rafael Nadal in the lead up, having only won Rome.
Despite this, the Spaniard is will still be favourite to win his 12th title in Paris after what looks to be a fairly routine draw.
Meanwhile Novak Djokovic will be looking to hold all four grand slams at the same time for the second time in his career as he looks for a second Roland Garros title.
However standing in his way will be the likes of Borna Coric, Alexander Zverev and more notably last year’s finalist Dominic Thiem.
So with that being said, lets look at the men’s draw in closer detail:
1st Quarter – Djokovic’s Section
World number one Novak Djokovic will start his bid for a second Roland Garros title against Polish rising star Hubert Hurkacz. The Pole made his first Masters 100 quarter-final in Indian Wells and made his breakthrough in Paris last year, so this will be no easy for the Serb.
A match against Sam Querrey could then await in round two, with Gilles Simon being the projected round three. There is also the likelihood of playing Borna Coric in the second week, who will begin against Aljaz Bedene.
In the bottom half of this quarter, out-of-form Alexander Zverev will face John Millman in the first round, with Monte-Carlo runner-up Dusan Lajovic in round three. However a major roadblock could await the German in the last 16 as Fabio Fognini is in his section of the draw. The Italian will play compatriot Andreas Seppi in round one.
Shapovalov v Struff
Fognini v Seppi
Johnson v Bautista Agut
Second Quarter – Thiem’s Section.
Last year’s finalist, Dominic Thiem starts his bid for a first grand slam title against American wildcard Tommy Paul, with a potential round three meeting against Kyle Edmund.
The Brit will begin his campaign against Jeremy Chardy in a tough first match. Thiem’s potential quarter-final is Juan Martin Del Potro, who begins against powerful Chilean Nicolas Jarry. Talented Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime also appears in this quarter and is a potential third round for the powerful Argentinian.
Other potential seeds for Del Potro include Karen Khachanov and Lucas Pouille, while Gael Monfils is a dangerous floater in Thiem’s section.
Chardy v Edmund
Verdasco v Evans
Jarry v Del Potro
Third Quarter – Federer’s Section
Roger Federer’s return to Roland Garros will begin against natural clay-courter Lorenzo Sonego. A third round match against in-form Matteo Berrettini could also await the 20 time grand slam champion, while Marco Cecchinato and Diego Schwartzman also lurk in Federer’s part of this quarter.
The Swiss’ potential quarter-final is Stefanos Tsitsipas, who starts against Maximillian Marterer. There is also a potential fourth round match against Stan Wawrinka or Marin Cilic for the Madrid finalist.
Opelka v Garin
Tipsarevic v Dimitrov
Fucsovics v Schwartzman
Fourth Quarter – Nadal’s Section
Defending champion Rafael Nadal is looking for a remarkable 12th title in Paris and will begin against two qualifiers. A great draw gets better for the Spaniard, who will play David Goffin in his third round and also has Nikoloz Basilashvili in the last 16, a man he beat in Rome last week.
In the other section of this draw, Daniil Medvedev will look to take charge when he plays Pierre-Hughes Herbert in the first round. While Kei Nishikori is a potential fourth round match as he starts against French wildcard Quentin Halys.
Tsonga v Gojowczyk
Humbert v Popyrin
Herbert v Medvedev
Here is the full draw, with play starting on Sunday:
Roland Garros Men’s full draw pic.twitter.com/W4bd5rMnEk
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) May 23, 2019
Albert Ramos-Vinolas Reveals Best Moment Of Career Ahead Of Geneva Quarters
Albert Ramos-Vinolas reveals the best moment of his career ahead of his Quarter-Final at the Geneva Open.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas has revealed the best moment of his career ahead of his Geneva quarter-final with Federico Delbonis.
The Spaniard seems to have overcome a poor run of form lately after qualifying for Rome last week, he has now won back-to-back matches in Geneva.
A 6-0 6-3 win over Joao Sousa means he is into the last eight in Geneva to play Federico Delbonis as he looks to build momentum towards Roland Garros.
However before his quarter-final match, Ramos-Vinolas told atptour.com in a recent interview what the best moment of his career was, “The first time I won an ATP match in Barcelona in 2010,” The Spaniard said.
“It’s my home tournament… I passed the qualies and I won my first match and then I beat Fernando Gonzalez, who was No. 12 in the world. I was No. 161. It was maybe one of the best moments of my career. It was on Court 1, which is not the centre court, but it’s quite big.
“I still remember the feeling: I was really happy. Everybody was thinking that it was not possible. So they were supporting me like crazy, like when a big football team is playing against maybe one from the second division, and the second division team wins. Everyone was supporting me like crazy. It was a great atmosphere.”
It is no surprise that the moment came in front of his home fans as it is a moment that he will never forget. Since then the Spaniard’s biggest achievement came in 2017 when he reached his first masters 1000 final in Monte-Carlo.
The 31 year-old will look to recreate his form in Monte-Carlo a couple of years ago to Geneva this week as he looks to win his second career title.
However it won’t be easy for Ramos-Vinolas as top seed Alexander Zverev still remains the draw as players look to gain some momentum heading into Roland Garros, which starts on Sunday.
Tomas Berdych to Miss French Open For The First Time Since 2003
It will be the third grand slam the former top 10 player has missed within the past 12 months.
Former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych will not play any clay court tournaments in 2019 after withdrawing from the upcoming French Open.
The 33-year-old has been absent from the tour since his first round loss to Feliciano Lopez in Indian Wells. Berdych has been hampered by issues within his back in recent weeks. He has been hoping to be fit in time for Roland Garros, but made a decision to withdraw from the event on Wednesday.
“I am not 100% ready to play the way I want and need to be competitive on the courts I love so much,” Berdych wrote on social media.
“I came to Paris and I had to take a tough decision and want another few days to fully recover and be ready for the grass season.”
“I love this tournament so much but I have to make sure not to further injure myself,” he added.
The Czech had played at the tournament every year since making his debut back in 2004. However, the French Open is his worst performing grand slam in terms of wins. So far in his career, Berdych has won 25 out of 40 matches played at the French Open. His stand out performance occurred in 2010 when he reached the semi-finals before losing to Sweden’s Robin Soderling.
It is not the first time back issues have forced Berdych out of action. In 2017 he was advised by doctors to end his season early due to persistent ‘back pain.’ He was also forced to skip both Wimbledon and the US Open due to the same problem.
Berdych, who last won a title at the 2016 Shenzhen Open, has played six tournaments so far this year. His best result occurred in January with a run to the final of the Qatar Open. He also reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and was a semi-finalist in Montpellier.
As a result of his absence, Berdych is currently ranked 100th in the world rankings. He will be replaced in the French Open draw by a lucky loser.
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