For years the intense heat that befalls the Open has proved too much for many a player, causing spates of retirements and lengthy time outs. Day two this year saw fainting players and ball boys, melting water bottles, burnt backsides and some equally heated words for the tournament organisers.
According to Canada’s Frank Dancevic who succumbed today as well as other experts it will take a player fatality before the protests are heard.
Mats Wilander himself voiced the opposing view on the matter from fellow players, that the conditions are part of the game and one should simply get fitter.
Either way there is no doubt that- due to the weather and early season niggles – some intriguing match-ups were either heavily affected or simply failed to materialise. Looking at the schedule, the fans must’ve felt short-changed.
Day two saw a lengthy list of retirees. Nothing to rival that third day of Wimbledon last year of course, and not all down to the 45C+ temperatures.
But six retirements were enough to land a sucker punch to the day’s play: John Isner, Polona Hercog, Radek Stepanek, Bernard Tomic, Robin Haase and Julian Reister all bowed out for different reasons.
It was plain sailing for most of the big names with Murray, Tsonga, Federer, Monfils, Wozniacki, Halep, Jankovic and Sloane Stephens sailing through in straight sets.
They were joined by Radwanska, Del Potro and Raonic, Simon and Nishikori but things were less straightforward.
Only Kuznetsova, Cirstea, Kanepi and the aforementioned Isner made up the seeded players to exit, Andrea Petkovic also bowed out.
It was a topsy turvy day for the home crowd who saw their lionheart darling Hewitt fall short in a five setter with 24th seed Andreas Seppi. The former world number one held a match point too. Then there was Tomic‘s retirement after an impressive set against Nadal, some have disputed the integrity of the young man who seems destined to hog the headlines whatever he does.
But the younger breed fared better, a trio of – it must be said – not very Australian sounding names: Olivia Rogowska, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios, all produced Lleyton levels of bravura en route to the second round.
Into the second round we go and, like the Melbourne mercury, the action, drama and intensity of the 2014 Australian Open will only continue to rise.
Day 2 Seeds to fall
Day 2 other notable player to fall
Al’s hero of the day – Gilles Simon
Another favourite of mine (despite his horribly outdated views on prize money) but regardless, a five set marathon (16-14 in the fifth) against the dangerous and equally likeable Daniel Brands is reason enough.
For the Frenchman, who saved no less than seven match points en route, to emerge victorious having injured his ankle in Kooyong only a few days earlier is nothing short of Zut Alors!