The first week of Australian Open 2013 produced some great and not-so-great moments. Popcorn Tennis remembers the ones some players would prefer to forget.
1. Question time with Jerzy Janowicz
John McEnroe bellowed “You cannot be serious?”, Jeff Tarango whined “Well how come they can say whatever they want to me?” and now Jerzy Janowicz has asked “How many times?” Jerzy’s meltdown came in response to a line call that didn’t go the Polish firebrand’s way during the first set tiebreak against Somdev Devvarman. Jerzy lost the tiebreak but won the second-round match in five sets. So, for the record how many times did Jerzy ask “How many times?” Seven in 90 seconds. And if you’re wondering how many times Jerzy’s meltdown has been watched on YouTube? Over one million and counting. That’s a lot of times.
2. No Rafa
Yep, we miss him as much as you do. So here’s a cracking shot from the Spanish Bull to tide you over until he returns to action.
3. Just long
She is known as having one of the best serves in the women’s game but during her second-round loss to Zheng Jie it all unraveled for Australian favourite Sam Stosur. As her time in Melbourne was running out, Stosur clunked a serve that flew beyond the baseline and had weekend hackers around the world exclaiming, “I serve like Sam Stosur!” It’s nice to see that even the pros are human after all.
4. Janko gets KO’d
It’s never good to watch a player retire during a match. That moment of realisation on the player’s face when they know they simply can’t go on is hard to watch. It was particularly upsetting when men’s eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic was forced to retire with a heel injury in the second set of his fourth-round match with Nicolas Almagro. Known as one of the tour’s deepest thinkers, the Serb articulated his feelings to the media after the match: “It was a beautiful day for tennis and I really felt I could play well. And I could not be more pissed off with the way I finished the competition.”
5. Jack gets socked
It’s a scenario that’s more at home on Australia’s Funniest Home Videos than the tennis court, but who doesn’t enjoy seeing a player get whacked with a ball in the most sensitive of spots?
6. Medical time-outs
A slew of medical time-outs have kept the tournament’s various medical staff extremely busy during and after matches. If it wasn’t for Jamie Hampton’s back giving her grief she may have upset top seed Victoria Azarenka. Blaz Kavcic needed treatment after he experienced what was later described as a full body cramp following his five-set win over James Duckworth and Gilles Simon also needed assistance after a similarly taxing five-set stoush with countryman Gael Monfils.
7. Playing in the shallow end
Maria Sharapova dropped just five games en route to the quarterfinals – an Australian Open record – while Serena Williams coughed up just six games in her first three matches. So are the stocks in the women’s game a bit thin or are we blessed to be watching two greats of the game. Your call.
8. Taking the shortest route possible
There were some quick exits for a clutch of fan favourites and a large contingent of Australians. Tommy Haas, Alexandr Dolgopolov and 11th seed Juan Monaco were all shown the door after one match. Add to that 13 of 16 Australians who didn’t get the chance to dirty a second set of clothes. Possibly the most difficult losses to swallow were those suffered by Jarmila Gajdosova and Marinko Matosevic who have endured eight and four respective first-round exits in a row at their home Grand Slam. And then there’s the Sam Stosur affair in the second round. Enough said.
9. Heartbreak in five
There were some tragedies in the first week. James Duckworth’s brave effort in sweltering heat against Blaz Kavcic left the Australian feeling empty and Kavcic seeking treatment. Likewise, Gael Monfils had his chances against countryman Gilles Simon but couldn’t land the knockout blow. And then there’s Stan ‘The Man’ Wawrinka who almost ousted top seed Novak Djokovic in a five-set belter. But didn’t.
10. What’s really important
Finally, on a serious note, the tennis community has been saddened to hear that ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease, and former player Andrew Florent is battling cancer. Our thoughts are with Brad and Andrew and their families at this time.