And so to the end of what was probably the first Australian Open in 6 years or so that I didn’t manage to watch religiously after finally acquiring a permanent career. The January lull in temporary positions meant in the past I could merrily engage in the excitement of waiting up until the early hours to catch the first serious and always exciting and unpredictable tennis of the year.
The 2011 tournament – like 2008 – seemed to signify a change of the guard in the men’s game, or at least a telling forebear of what was to come. Namely Roger Federer’s years of dominance and indeed regular Slam final appearances was over, and that his successor would not be the injury prone Nadal but Novak Djokovic, who by winning the tournament in some emphatic style proved that he could, in fact beat the very best and hold his nerve. The Serbian’s second major title is just the ticket to reinstate him amongst the world’s elite three. A position that Andy Murray had looked the more likely to inherit long term.
However, as with last year’s final, Murray showed in Melbourne exactly why he still remains on the cusp of greatness, but with significant hurdles to overcome.
Murray’s mentality is poor, his attitude even worse – who, after reaching the final of a slam concedes the next day with ‘oh I may never win a major’. PMA severely lacking…well he is a Scotsman.
Roger and Rafa? Well the former is waning, but his loss ten days ago was more down to ‘a bad day at the office’ and, all too often against the Serb, perhaps slightly underestimating his opponent. Nadal’s injuries are a worry.
The ladies game, I saw even less of so I cannot wax lyrical. Kim was the favorite going in, and duly came away with the title, putting further proof that the new generation sitting very pretty at the top of the game do indeed have the weapons, power and stamina. But, like Murray, something seems to have been missed in the mentality, belief and respect for opponents that win you majors.