Ever wonder why the run up tournaments to the Australian Open get such high profile players on their entry lists? I bet the USTA does too. Also wonder why it's rare for those big names to actually go on and win those tournaments? That's pretty easy to explain isn't it? No one wants to limp into the Australian Open battered and bruised by pushing through to a final.
In Australia even the exhibitions get big coverage both on television and in tennis media. Both Hopman Cup and Kooyong are familiar to tennisheads and their results are tracked as closely as regular tournaments.
In the end the big show is still the Australian Open. You don't need to take out a second mortgage to afford to attend. The atmosphere is boozy and fun. Ethnic riots can break out at the drop of a hat, or toss of a serve. Still the folks of Tennis Australia have been innovative and forward thinking in terms of upgrading their facility and making sure play can continue on it's main courts regardless of extreme heat or rain. Maybe the folks at the US Open should give Tennis Australia a call. Maybe they can help the USTA figure out a way to complete their Slam within the two weeks instead of always ending up playing the men's final on a Monday afternoon. I'm just saying.
Anyway the players who won the tournaments last week deserve recognition for playing what was a pretty high level of tennis despite high winds and rain delays.
In Sydney Jarkko Nieminen won the mens tournament and his second ATP title.
Victoria Azarenka's obvious joy at winning the women's event at Sydney finds her tightly clutching the winning trophy. She defeated defending champion Li Na.
The Bryan twins won the men's doubles at Sydney while the team of Peschke and Srebotnik took the women's crown.
The ATP tournament at Auckland had some of the same weather troubles the women's tournament had but David Ferrer outlasted the field.
The doubles pairing of Marach and Peya took the doubles title.
The surprise winner of the week was Mona Barthel who came through qualifying to take the crown at Hobart for her first main tour win defeating Yanina Wickmayer. It will be hard for her to win seven matches in Melbourne but eyes will be on her to see just what is going on with her game and if she is indeed ready for prime time.
The team of Begu and Niculescu won the doubles.
The Kooyong exhibition was won by controversial Australian Bernard Tomic.
What's a Grand Slam without some drama? If it's drama between the men still referred to as the top two it's even better drama no?
During a presser Rafael Nadal said that he was not going to be out front regarding player grievances against the tour. No big deal right? He's learned what so many others before him had to learn about being the face of protest. It's what he said after that that has some in the tennis media salivating.
Responding to the suggestion that Federer disliked players complaining openly about problems on the tour because it tarnished the image of tennis, Nadal said he took another view.
For him it's good to say nothing. Everything positive. 'It's all well and good for me, I look like a gentleman,' and the rest can burn themselves. Everyone is entitled to have their own opinions.
It's no secret that Roger Federer led the charge against Richard Krajicek becoming ATP CEO and that Rafa was leading the contingent pushing hard for him. It's my opinion that Federer more than any other player didn't need someone to be a players advocate. He's been working the system to his advantage for several years now so why change things to give a more level playing field? Add that to the fact that even American golden boy Andy Roddick stood with the players in New York last year while nary a word was heard from Federer the only surprise is that it took so long for someone to call him out even in this roundabout way.
Source of the above quote is here