2017 Australian Open coverage

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A trip down memory lane:

Australian Open trivia
The tragedy of Daphne Akhurst
The Norman Brookes Challenge Cup
1960 Australian Open: Neale Feaser, a costly volley
1960: first Grand Slam title for Rod Laver
1960-63 Australian Open: Jan Lehane four time runner-up
1974 Australian Open: Jimmy Connors first Grand Slam title
1975: John Newcombe defeats Jimmy Connors
1981: First Australian Open title for Martina Navratilova
1983: Mats Wilander defeats Ivan Lendl
1984: Mats Wilander defeats Kevin Curren
1985: Edberg wins in Australia and Sweden changes look
1987-1988 Swedes spoil the party
1987: Stefan Edberg defeats Pat Cash
January 11, 1988: first day of play at Flinders Park
1988: Mats Wilander defeats Pat Cash
1990: John McEnroe disqualified!
1990: Ivan Lendl’s last Grand Slam title
1991: Monica Seles first Australian Open title
1994: First Australian Open title for Pete Sampras
1995: Mary Pierce defeats Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
1995 QF: Pete Sampras emotional comeback win over Jim Courier
Centre Court floods at the 1995 Australian Open
1995: Andre Agassi defeats Pete Sampras, wins first Australian Open title
1996 Australian Open: Mark Philippoussis defeats Pete Sampras in the 3rd round
Impressions from the 1996 Australian Open: Monica Seles and Boris Becker last Grand Slam titles, Stefan Edberg last appearance in Australia
1997 Australian Open: Pete Sampras defeats Carlos Moya
2001 Australian Open: Pat’s last chance
2001 Australian Open final: Andre Agassi defeats Arnaud Clément
2002: Capriati scripts a stunning sequel in Australia
2003 Australian Open: last Grand Slam title for Agassi
2009 Australian Open: Rafael Nadal defeats Roger Federer

Recap and preview:
Fashion and gear:
Polls:

Who will be the 2017 Australian Open champion?

  • Serena Williams (35%, 15 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (23%, 10 Votes)
  • Garbine Muguruza (12%, 5 Votes)
  • Karolina Pliskova (12%, 5 Votes)
  • Someone else (7%, 3 Votes)
  • Dominika Cibulkova (5%, 2 Votes)
  • Svetlana Kuznetsova (5%, 2 Votes)
  • Agnieszka Radwanska (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Simona Halep (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Johanna Konta (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Carla Suarez Navarro (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 43

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Who will be the 2017 Australian Open champion?

  • Someone else (26%, 29 Votes)
  • Novak Djokovic (25%, 28 Votes)
  • Rafael Nadal (24%, 27 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (16%, 18 Votes)
  • Stan Wawrinka (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Milos Raonic (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Kei Nishikori (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Dominic Thiem (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Tomas Berdych (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Gaël Monfils (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Marin Cilic (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 113

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2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber

Everyone told me to enjoy the match but I wanted to win

Interview by Stern, translation by Tennis Buzz

After her Australian Open victory, Angelique Kerber is at the zenith of her career and in the footsteps of her idol Steffi Graf. “Everything that happened for the last two weeks is amazing”, said Kerber after her surprising triumph in the final against world number one Serena Williams.

The following night was short for Angelique Kerber. The new world number two did not sleep a wink. The day after her big win in Melbourne, she did attend various press events and jumped into the Yarra river.

How was your night and when did you leave the stadium on Saturday?

I have not slept a minute. I think it was something like three o’clock when I left the stadium. I did four hours of press. Then I had the doping test, and after that we came back to the hotel. I got changed quickly and we went out. And here I am.

Have you any idea of what awaits you in Germany now?

I know that when I land on Monday morning in Francfort, something is being organized. What exactly, I don’t know yet. Then I’ll definitely spend Monday night with my family and friends and go eat something. And on Tuesday I’ll go Leipzig for Fed Cup. For sure, lots more will happen to me.

If you had to give an explanation on this success, what would it be?

I really think the explanation is that I believed in me. I always have, but never as I did after the match against Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals, it was new.
Somehow it made something ‘click’. Even when I went against Serena, I said, I want to win this thing. Everybody told me I should just enjoy it and just play a good match. But I said myself: to enjoy it is good, but you can enjoy it afterwards. You go out there and try, and make the best of the chances you get.

And you succeeded…

Yes, I really did. I don’t know how I managed it, but I believed in me. I think this was the key to victory. I enjoyed the whole two weeks, but I wanted to show that I was worthy of the final and that I wanted to defeat her.

If you look back at your beginnings, what is the biggest step you made since then?

I think the whole experience I’ve made since then helps me now and for the future. Now I’m ready to really enjoy it. If I had won two or three years ago, I don’t know if I would have enjoyed and experienced it as I do now. Now I know, thanks to the tournaments I won before, what will happen to me.

It has often been said, that of this generation of you, Andrea Petkovic and Sabine Lisicki, nobody will make it and win a Grand Slam. Why did you managed it?

This is hard to say. I think I’ve experienced so many things in the last two weeks. I also learned you don’t need to play your best tennis two weeks long. But you have to believe in you for two weeks. You also need a little luck.
I simply believe that the time has come. I’ve always said, when the time comes, I’ll win something big. And I’ve just done it. Lots of people didn’t believe in but I think now, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone.
I am the world number two and I won a Grand Slam title. What more?

Do you think you will be perceived differently now on the tour? After all you are now a Grand Slam champion.

I don’t think a lot will change. I am curious, but I’m looking forward. Now I reached a high point in my career. I’m curious to see how things will change and how people react. It’s something different now. There are not many Grand Slam winners.

Is it even more special to win the title against Serena Williams?

In any case, that means a lot to me. Serena is an absolute champion, she wrote history and is a huge inspiration for me. To play against her is always something special. To face her in the final is an absolute honor, and to have played a good match makes the title even more special.

Bruno Soares and ElenaVesnina, Australian Open 2016

Elena Vesnina and Bruno Soares, playing their first tournament together defeated Coco Vandeweghe and Horia Tecau 6-4 4-6 10-5 to capture the mixed doubles crown in Melbourne.

On Saturday, Soares won the doubles title pairing Jamie Murray. They beat veterans Daniel Nestor and Radek Stepanek (80 years combined) 2-6 6-4 7-5 in the final.

Andy Murray was in the stands to watch his brother’s victory:

Photo credit: Darren Nunis

Serena Williams, Australian Open 2016

Even though there has been a lot of talks prior the Australian Open about Serena’s form, her presence in the final is all but a surprise. On the other hand, Angelique Kerber’s run to the final is quite unexpected.

Serena Williams’ road to the final

Serena‘s toughest match to advance to the final was her first round victory over the unpredictable Italian Camila Giorgi: she lost 9 games, the same number of games she lost to Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska, combined! She’ll be the heavy favorite against first time Grand Slam finalist Angelique Kerber.

Round Opponent Score
R1 Camila Giorgi 6-4 7-5
R2 Su-Wei Hsieh 6-1 6-2
R3 Daria Kasatkina 6-1 6-1
R4 Margarita Gasparyan 6-2 6-1
QF Maria Sharapova [5] 6-4 6-1
SF Agnieszka Radwanska [4] 6-0 6-4
Angelique Kerber’s road to the final

Angelique Kerber, Australian Open 2016

Angelique Kerber saved a match point to get past Misaki Doi in the first round and then never looked back. She beat only one seed en route to the final: Victoria Azarenka that many saw as Serena’s main rival in Melbourne.

Round Opponent Score
R1 Misaki Doi 6-7 7-6 6-3
R2 Alexandra Dulgheru 6-2 6-4
R3 Madison Brengle 6-1 6-3
R4 Annika Beck 6-4 6-0
QF Victoria Azarenka [14] 6-3 7-5
SF Johanna Konta 7-5 6-2
Serena Williams – Angelique Kerber head to head: 5-1

Serena and Angelique met six times, each time on hard court:

Year Tournament Surface Winner Score
2007 US Open R1 Hard Serena Williams 6-3 7-5
2012 Cincinnati QF Hard Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-4
2012 WTA Championships R1 Hard Serena Williams 6-4 6-1
2013 WTA Championships R1 Hard Serena Williams 6-3 6-1
2014 Miami QF Hard Serena Williams 6-2 6-2
2014 Stanford F Hard Serena Williams 7-6 6-3

Only three players have beaten in a Grand Slam final so far: her sister Venus (2001 US Open and Wimbledon 2008), Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004 and Sam Stosur at the 2011 US Open. Will Angelique Kerber be the fourth?

Who will be the 2016 Australian Open champion?

  • Serena Williams (38%, 41 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (22%, 24 Votes)
  • Other (14%, 15 Votes)
  • Garbine Muguruza (9%, 10 Votes)
  • Agnieszka Radwanska (7%, 8 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (5%, 5 Votes)
  • Simona Halep (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Karolina Pliskova (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Venus Williams (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Timea Bacsinszky (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 107

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Photo credit: Margarette Reyes, Emma McPherson

Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza, Australian Open 2016

And that makes it three Grand Slams in a row for Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza. Their 7-6 6-3 victory over Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka extend their unbeaten run to 36 matches.

It is Martina Hingis’ 21th Grand Slam title: 5 in singles, 4 in mixed doubles and now 12 in women doubles.

Sania Mirza & Martina Hingis at the Australian Open 2016

Martina Hingis at the Australian Open 2016
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Milos Raonic, Australian Open 2016

Lucas Pouille’s coach Emmanuel Planque talks about the Canadian’s improved game.

Interview by l’Equipe, translation by Tennis Buzz

“Apart from Djoko, I don’t see anyone who can beat him here.” I told you that just after the match against Lucas (Pouille). I was a bit stunned after the match. I re-watched the match several times and the impression remained. OK, I wasn’t excited by the way Lucas started each set… but Milos gave us nothing. That guy doesn’t even give you the time of day. Right now, I find him fit. We’ve been talking about him as a future Grand Slam winner for two years now. Like Dimitrov? Yes and no. I’m sure Dimitrov will come back. But he’s less impressive and not prepared as well as Raonic. He has less weapons.

He’s really confident with his serve. In Brisbane and Melbourne, he was hitting second serves at 220, 224 and even 226 km/h. At some point you don’t know how to return them: if you step back, he hits a kick serve that bounces really high; if you move forward to cut the trajectory, he hits a 220km/h bullet. The average first serve speed is often mentioned as a way to judge a server, but don’t forget the second serve. He put power in it but it doesn’t mean that many more double faults. That’s tied to his current confidence and the fact that he hasn’t played the top two best returners yet, Murray and Djoko, who can bother him. The idea is to make him run so he’ll serve between 160 and 180 km/h. Because if he serves at 130, he’ll be more accurate, more coordinated, more relaxed. But it’s hard to make him run much when he’ll try and shorten the point quickly.

He has improved his game considerably. Mainly because he doesn’t have any physical problems. Last year, he had to undergo surgery to repair pinched nerve in his foot. Good health means more intensity at practice. You can tell he has worked on his returns. He’s much more consistent. Before he could miss a few second serve returns in a row. Today, he puts you continuously under pressure without taking any risks. He returns hard in the middle, that allows him to take a lot of second shots with his forehand. And then it’s difficult to escape. Facing him, you get tense and you lose 10 to 15 km/h on your serve. I think Milos has assimilated the fact that the best players in the world aren’t the best servers. His goal is to get a ratio of quality of serve/quality of return that is much better than the others’.

He’s part of a very strong project. To me, he’s not a Canadian at all. He’s a Yugo (born in Podgorica, Raonic lived in Montenegro until he was eight). He reminds me of Djoko with his ambition and application. Raonic is straightforward, intelligent, a worker. The guy could easily have been an engineer. Now he’s a tennis player, that’s his job. He’s not emotional, he’s rational. He works on his mechanics. Ljubicic (now Federer’s coach) helped with his serve and second shot. Ljubicic leaves and Raonic takes Moya, who’ll help him with his returns and bring him the deep parts of the game. And above all he has Piatti (former coach of Ljubicic and Gasquet) who is a great coach and who is doing a hell of a job with him.

Would it hurt tennis if Raonic became number one? I don’t agree with that kind of pessimism. I hear some people say Raonic is bland, isn’t sexy, he’s boring … No! Sure, tennis of tomorrow will be guys 1.95m tall moving like guys 1.75 tall and who can return too. Can these critics affect Raonic? I feel he’s there to win. The rest …