LOOKING BACK – THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2011

The winner of Sportsmart and Wilson’s tennis sponsorship program, Scott Lyons, provides regular blog articles on his favourite topic – tennis …

After a very successful Australian Open we once again witnessed fighting spirits, noble sportsmanship and sublime skill. However, we are also left to ponder many questions – What does 2011 have in store?

First there is the question raised by many, after Djokovic’s second grand slam win, were we witnessing the changing of the guards? Both Murray and Djokovic are similar in age and according to many have potential to get even better. Both made the final, with Nadal losing in the quarter finals and Federer being clearly outplayed in the semis. Does this mean that these two players as well as others coming through will overtake Nadal and Federer at the top? Perhaps they will, but then again we have heard this for many years now every time Federer or Nadal lose a match.

While the gap probably is closing, I think a lot of this hype is nonsense. Before the Australian Open, Federer and Nadal had won 21 out of the last 23 grand slam titles. We have to remember Nadal primarily lost his match due to injury and he is also at a similar age to Djokovic and Murray, so he isn’t exactly aging. Federer on the other hand still has a few good years in him and at his absolute best can be unstoppable. I think between them they will win the next three grand slams in 2011.

Overall on the men’s side of the draw I think we can expect the rankings to shuffle around. While the top six or so players will most likely remain inside the top 10, I think other players such as Andy Roddick may find themselves outside the top 10 for the first time in a long time. Roddick simply has to be more aggressive on his groundstrokes and cannot rely solely on his serve to get him through. I think Lleyton Hewitt will make his way back into the top 30 while John Isner will be close to the top 10.

On the women’s side of the draw things have really opened up. There is now uncertainty at the top of the rankings, and gone are the days where we could pencil in a Serena-Venus final. Serena Williams is still injured and how well she recovers from this no one can be sure of. Venus seems less threatening recently too. Combine this with the fact that the world number one hasn’t won a grand slam and things are looking cloudy. Kim Clijsters seems to be the obvious favourite going into grand slams this year, especially after her recent Australian Open victory. Yet she has never won the French Open or Wimbledon. So can she break this trend?

The time is now for Sam Stosur to step it up and take out her maiden grand slam title. She has been a French Open finalist before and with others around her having problems this is a great chance for her. Unfortunately for her, she is currently not in the best form, but who knows what can happen… It would be great if she could win though!

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