With today’s match between Roger Federer and Andy Murray, Australian Open came to an illustrious end. Federer won this match in straight sets and took his Grand Slam titles to inimitable 16. Andy Murray loss surely paints on an empty canvas of how the future tennis will be and that he will be a dominant force in it. He tried his best today to topple the Emperor of Tennis and break British Grand Slam jinx but he cried. The cry was nothing compared to Roger’s when he yelped, “God, this is killing me!” last year at this very tournament after losing to Nadal in a 5-set epic battle. But still even a hardcore Federerphile like me can feel Murray’s agony when he moved his lower lip and tried to fight back tears on the podium.
Other than Federer, a lot of exciting things emerged from the first Grand Slam of calendar year and one of them was the Phoenix return of Justine Henin to the ladies final and eventually losing to Serena Williams in 3-sets. Though she showed mettle in the 2nd set but somewhat gave up the steam in the final decider. I wanted her to win like her fellow Belgian, Kim Cljisters did in US Open two months back! This was Serena’s 5th Grand Slam Down Under and 12th overall.
Australian Open is called “the Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific” and this year it had a lot of Asian to go with the caption. For the first time ever, two Chinese women entered the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament. Zheng Jie and Li Na managed to fight their way into the second last stage of grabbing the title. Li Na was very close to reaching the final but was defeated 6-7, 6-7 by ever-resilient Serena Williams.
In the doubles, Bryan Brothers were dominant and ousted Daniel Nestor of Canada and Serbian Nenad Zimonjic to win their 8th Grand Slam finals. As for the women', the Williams Sister were fluent to win their 4th Oz Open and 11th GS titles overall.
And for us Indians, Leander Paes made sure the tricolor flew high when he clinched the Mixed Doubles with his consistent parter, Cara Black of United States. This is Paes’s 11 GS title, tying Bhupathi’s record of 11 GS titles, most by any Indian ever.
This year also saw a record attendance at the event. About 653,860 tennis lovers attended and that figure is more than the last record by about 50,000!!!! No wonder this Grand Slam rocked! I just hope all the coming tennis events, in ATP as well as WTA, keep up the tempo and make sure they get the best of talents on circuit and keep tennis high!