Kei Nishikori, Brisbane 2019

Finally a trophy for Kei Nishikori! After nine consecutive defeats in finals, the Japanese defeated NextGen player Daniil Medvedev to claim his 12th career title, his first since February 2016 in Memphis.

“I was trying in every final and every tournament… I played a great match against Dimitrov and today’s match was another good tennis [match]. I’m sure Daniil is going to be [in the] Top 10 soon.”

Daniil Medvedev is definitely a player to watch: he won his first ATP title in Sydney last year (d. De Minaur) before wins in Winston-Salem (d. Johnson) and Tokyo (d. Nishikori). In 2018, Medvedev led the ATP Tour with 38 hard-court victories (38-15). As Nishikori stated it, he could reach the top 10 quickly.

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Kei Nishikori def. Daniil Medvedev

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Kei Nishikori def. Daniil Medvedev

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Kei Nishikori def. Daniil Medvedev

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Kei Nishikori def. Daniil Medvedev

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Kei Nishikori def. Daniil Medvedev

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Kei Nishikori def. Daniil Medvedev

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Kei Nishikori def. Daniil Medvedev

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Fourth Memphis Open trophy for Kei Nishikori

Photo credit: Andrew Robertson

Karolina Pliskova, Brisbane 2019

Rallying from 6-4 5-3 down, only one game from defeat, Karolina Pliskova battled back to defeat Lesia Tsurenko 4-6 7-5 6-2 and clinch her second Brisbane title, her 12th overall. She defeated  Yulia Putintseva, Marie Bouzkova, Ajla Tomljanovic and Donna Vekic en route to the final.
The first time Pliskova won the Brisbane title in 2016, she went on to make the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Hopefully for her, she’ll best that performance this year.
Her opponent in the final, Lesia Tsurenko caused a huge upset ousting US Open champion Naomi Osaka 6-2 6-4 in the semifinals. Despite her loss, the Japanese will return to her career-high number 4 ranking.

Elina Svitolina was the defending champion, but lost to Aliaksandra Sasnovich – in a repeat of last year’s final – in the second round.

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Karolina Pliskova  def. Lesia Tsurenko

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Karolina Pliskova  def. Lesia Tsurenko

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Karolina Pliskova  def. Lesia Tsurenko

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Karolina Pliskova  def. Lesia Tsurenko

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Karolina Pliskova  def. Lesia Tsurenko

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Karolina Pliskova  def. Lesia Tsurenko

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Karolina Pliskova  def. Lesia Tsurenko

Brisbane International Tennis Finals 2019 - Karolina Pliskova  def. Lesia Tsurenko

Photo credit: Andrew Robertson

Raonic and Federer, Brisbane 2016

In a rematch of last year’s final, Milos Raonic defeats Roger Federer to win his 8th career title.
It was Federer’s third final in a row in Brisbane: he lost to Hewitt in 2014 and defeated Roanic to take the title in 2015.

2016 Brisbane International Men's Final: Roger Federer vs Milos Raonic

2016 Brisbane International Men's Final: Roger Federer vs Milos Raonic

2016 Brisbane International Men's Final: Roger Federer vs Milos Raonic
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The Rocket Rod Laver

Rod Laver

From Love Thirty: Three Decades of Champions, by Rex Bellamy, published in 1990:

Rodney George Laver was the most astounding player I ever saw, and may have been the greatest ever. His record is without parallel. Consider what that record might have been but for his exclusion from 21 Grand Slam tournaments when he was, presumably, at his physical peak, between the ages of 24 and 29. Had professionals been eligible for those events, Lew Hoad might have had the better of laver for a year or so and Ken Rosewall would always have been worth an even-money bet. But one has to believe that from 1963 to 1967 Laver would have collected another bunch of major championships and perhaps a third Grand Slam. Laver overlapped and dominated two Grand Slam eras separated by seven years. He did so because he had it all. Because he was adventurer and artist in one. Because he could raise his game to any level demanded of it.

Laver was only 5ft 8 1/2in tall and usually weighed around 10st 71lb. But he had gigantic left arm and his speed and agility were breathtaking. The circumference of his left forearm was 12in and the wrist measured 7in. The strength of that wrist and forearm gave him blazing power without loss of control, even when he was on the run at full stretch. The combination of speed and strength, especially wrist-strength, enabled him to hit ferocious winners when way out of court – often when almost under the noses of the front ow of spectators. And he was a bow-legged, beautifully balanced, and as quick as a cat. He had some glorious matches with Rosewall – and with Tom Okker, who could match Laver’s speed and panache but was second-best in terms of strength and technical versatility. Laver also had the eyes of a hawk and fast anticipation and reactions. Like Budge, he was feckle-faced and had copper-coloured hair. Another distinguished feature was a long nose that, in spite of the kink in it, gave a false impression of hauteur. For much of his career Laver was confessedly shy and self-conscious, but there was no ‘side’ to him. He was easy going – except on court.

Marty Riessen once summed up Laver admirably: “To look at him walking around, you wouldn’t think he was world champion. He doesn’t stand out. His stature isn’t something you expect, like a Gonzales or a Hoad. Off the court, his personality seems almost retiring. But it’s as if he goes into a telephone booth and changes. On court he’s aggressive. Such a big change of personality – when a lot of players play the same as they act. What impresses me is his quickness. Speed enables him to recover when he’s in trouble. And the thing I learned from playing Laver is how consistent one can be with power. It’s amazing how he can keep hitting with such accuracy. He combines everything. There are a lot of good competitors. But he’s fantastic.”

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Roger Federer and Milos Raonic, Brisbane 2015

1,000th win and 83rd career title for Federer as he defeats big server Milos Raonic in three sets and takes Brisbane title. The 17-time Grand Slam champion joins Jimmy Connors (1,253) and Ivan Lendl (1,071) as the only players to reach 1,000 wins in the Open era.

“Clearly it’s a special day for me, winning a title plus getting to the magic number of 1,000. It feels very different to any other match I’ve ever won. All those [milestone] numbers didn’t mean anything to me, but for some reason 1,000 means a lot because it’s such a huge number. Just alone to count to 1,000 is going to take a while.”

Brisbane International 2015 Men's Final: Roger Federer v Milos Raonic

Brisbane International 2015 Men's Final: Roger Federer v Milos Raonic
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