Outrage, outrage, outrage. Defending Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka is a cheat who robbed Sloane Stephens of a spot in the final, blah, blah, blah.
Yeah, well I ain’t gonna minsk words about the Belarusian’s belligerent behavior. You ask me, Azarenka cleverly used the rules to her own advantage.
Now, before anyone squawks “yeah, but her fake injury break was flaunting the rules!” let me squawk the following right back at ya’.
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Ok, so to put it bluntly I’m really over hearing about how Bernard Tomic is an arrogant wanker, how he needs to grow up and concentrate on his game, yada yada…
Not since Lleyton Hewitt won the US Open in 2001 has there been such anticipation of a local player. Claiming victory in Sydney the year prior, in 2000, Hewitt remains the youngest male to have won the title in Sydney.
Old mate Tomic just did this on Saturday night with his first ATP title showing a solid performance and registering a top-50 status in only five days and last night he backed it up again with his first round win over Leonardo Mayer. But stuff all that! He’s a dick right? Owns a yellow Ferrari – clearly a douche – has hot girlfriends, and is fond of a drunken early morning fight spa.
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In the moments after Novak Djokovic crumpled to the ground, fists clenched and screaming to no one in particular, my first thought was that this was the greatest tennis match in history. I wasn’t alone.
But my thoughts quickly turned to why the women’s game doesn’t produce epics like that. This is not to say that the women’s tennis is of poorer quality, or can’t produce incredible matches. It’s doesn’t mean women are weaker and can’t play gripping tennis. The best female tennis players in the world train just as hard and are as dedicated to their sport as any men. But their matches just don’t last as long.
Kim Clijsters’ three set win over Li Na in the fourth round was one of the best games of the last year. The shot-making and tension rivalled almost any match in the men’s draw. Yet as tightly contested as that match was, it still lasted only two hours and 23 minutes. The first two sets of the men’s final alone went for longer.
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There was a famous moment in golf journalism, after an ageing and written-off Jack Nicklaus won the 1986 Masters tournament. A senior writer totally seized up in the media room, clutching his hair and saying “it’s too big, it’s too big, it’s too big…”. What the guy had just witnessed simply defied any words he could write.
You feel the same way trying to describe an Australian Open final like the one we had last night. What do you write? How do you sum up five hours and 53 minutes of the most epic tennis imaginable between two guys with the stamina of marathon runners, the dynamism of sprinters and the skill of marksmen?
Oh, there are all sorts of angles you can take. More angles than a protractor factory. You can take the broad view and start the “who’s the greatest ever?” debate. After all, if Federer has the most Grand Slams ever, but Nadal keeps beating Federer when they meet in Slams, and now Djokovic keeps beating both of them, that’s the kind of argument that could rage on well past pub closing time.
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Morning, Punchers. Ant Sharwood here. Last Friday, journalist Amanada Shalala made a fair point on the TV show The Drum. As the panel previewed the Australian Open women’s tennis final, she asked why they were only talking about the grunting.
Should they have talked more about the actual tennis? Was it somehow sexist or gruntist or some such not to do so? And while we’re talking tennis, did anyone catch the men’s final last night? I’m writing this thing at 6:40 pm Sunday night, and I expect Nadal to beat Djokovic in four sets. How’d I go? And what did you make of the final?
What else has got you talking around the water cooler this morning? And hey, why don’t you see as many water coolers as you used to these days?
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The viewers are sick of it. The commentators are sick of it. The other players are sick of it - to the point where they’re asking the WTA to act, and even worse, taking the piss out of them behind their backs (see below video of Caroline Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters).
Whether it’s cheating or not is open to discussion, but there’s no denying Maria Sharapova and her fellow screaming grunters are driving everyone around the bend.
This afternoon as Sharapova hits Rod Laver Arena for her Australian Open quarter finals match against fellow-Russian Ekaterina Makarova, Seven may as well give the commentators an hour and a half off work. No one will be watching with the sound on.
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In between promos for Revenge, My Kitchen Rules and Please Marry My Boy, tennis star Marcos Baghdatis had a wee meltdown at the Australian Open on Wednesday and smashed his way through four shiny blue tennis racquets.
Given he scored a pay cheque of $20,000 just for winning round one, the $770 fine meted out to Baghdatis must have made those poor racquets feel positively worthless.
I love the Aussie Open. Like interminable school holidays (“Muuum!” “Muuum!” “Muuum!”) it’s synonymous with summer. But if tempers can fray on the court, imagine how the rest of us feel at home.
The racquets smashed by Marcos Baghdatis in last night’s Australian Open outburst have spoken out exclusively about the pain, the hurt and the trauma of racquet abuse.
“This sort of thing should never be tolerated,” said a severely twisted and broken T-Flash 315 Speedflex who preferred to remain anonymous.
“I don’t care if you’re at the Australian Open, Wimbledon or the Kazakhstan Invitational,” the racquet said. “It is simply never acceptable to abuse a racquet in this way.
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Despite the quality of Michael Clarke’s record since taking over the Test captaincy, he’d been much-maligned until his Sydney triple ton. But Clarke’s record-breaking knock has finally silenced the knockers.
The performance was all the more memorable because it happened it was on home soil. Amplified media attention, free-to-air TV coverage, and the ability to attend events live means sport played domestically is afforded extra credence.
Bernard Tomic now finds himself in a similar boat to the former Mr Lara Bingle.
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The first rule of calling a black arsehole a black arsehole is that only another black arsehole can call a black arsehole a black arsehole.
The second rule of calling a black arsehole a black arsehole is that if a white arsehole calls a black arsehole a black arsehole, that white arsehole should be kicked very hard in exactly that location.
In short, Steve Williams, the glorified bouncer who carries other people’s sporting equipment for a living, should be bounced from the golf course for good for his comments about his former boss Tiger Woods in Shanghai last week.
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Andy Murray’s second consecutive loss of the men’s Australian Open final has put a question mark on the Scot’s mettle. Does Murray have what it takes to win a grand slam?
Murray was inconsolable at Melbourne Park after Serbian world No. 3 Novak Djokovic blew him away in straight sets 6-4 6-2 6-3 to secure his second Aussie title.
Is Murray suffering psychological damage after losing to the greats in these grand slams?
9.42 pm. Saturday night update. Three match points to Clijsters. Please ignore everything below. This has been a totally engrossing women’s final… unbearable tension. Hang on. Gotta let the cat in.
So I’m watching an Australian Open mixed doubles battle between four players who are almost as good as suburban A-grade singles players. Then whoosh! Just like that! A pigeon lands on the ledge outside my office window.
And not just any pigeon, but one of those really rare and beautiful grey ones! Awesome! An actual grey pigeon. Wow, what a sight.
But back to the tennis. Things are getting really exciting in a fourth round women’s match between two grunting Russian baseliners when… hang on. Hey, I just noticed we’ve still got our Christmas decorations up at work. Oooh, and what about that gorgeous row of paper dalmation baubles. It must’ve been up six weeks and I swear I just saw it for the first time. Heh-he. Dalmatians.
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Rafael Nadal’s shock exit from the Australian Open paves the way for Scot Andy Murray to qualify for another showdown with world No. 1 player Roger Federer.
Murray, who carries the hopes of Great Britain after its lean period of producing class players, lost to Federer in last year’s Melbourne Park final.
Murray is super-hungry for a grand slam. He came close twice – in the 2008 US Open and the 2010 Australian – but suffered defeats to Federer each time.
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Australian tennis is suffering a bad dose of the doldrums. After Lleyton Hewitt crashed out of the Australian Open on Tuesday night, it appeared the Aussies would fall over like flies.
But as we despaired over our poor form in recent Grand Slams, Bernard Tomic and Sam Stosur gave Australian tennis an almighty shot in the arm and boosted the Melbourne Park crowd. It now has something decent to cheer about.
Tomic, who snuck into the Australian Open draw with a lucky wildcard, will turn heads when he takes on world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the third round.
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It was the nail-biter of all nail-biters but no one could have imagined Aussie lionheart Lleyton would surrender two match points before losing to arch rival David Nalbandian in the Australian Open’s first round.
After an epic fight lasting 4hrs 48mins at Melbourne Park last night, Hewitt finally succumbed to the powerful Argentine, who confessed he played “amazing” tennis during the five-set corker.
Hewitt’s failure to secure the win after two match points shows he is not 100 per cent confident in his form.
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Lleyton Hewitt craves an Australian Open title like no other Aussie tennis player.
It’s that drive and hunger that has seen Hewitt line up for 15 Australian Open campaigns.
Hewitt has come close to winning the men’s trophy just once. In 2005, Marat Safin whipped the spirited Aussie in four sets in the final.
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It’s the moment Great Britain has been waiting for – one of its own tennis players on the verge of winning a grand slam.
The talented Scot has all the right attributes to win a grand slam. But Murray has one giant problem. Roger Federer ... the world’s No. 1.
There’s a simple reason why Federer will win the Australian Open on Sunday.
Following Andy Murray’s pretty convincing win in last night’s Australian Open semi-final The Punch now argues Australia must support the young Scot in the final. For one it has been 74 years since the last British male won a grand slam, and secondly Australia kind of killed their last champion.
If you are ever tempted to complain about the state of Australian tennis just remember this: the British are really, really bad. They even have to say British because as individual UK nations it would look even more pathetic.
While Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977 for all the British ladies in the place, the last male Briton to win a grand slam was Fred Perry back in 1936. In 1936 the Nazis were running Germany and refrigeration was looked upon with the same awe as the iPad is today. Perhaps only bettered by Cronulla’s inability to ever win the premiership it’s one of the longest standing failures in sport.
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Update: Lleyton lost, again.
Excuse the disturbing imagery, but imagine for a moment Lleyton Hewitt as a burlesque dancer.
Imagine Lleyton as one of those Dita Von Teese types that have lead a popular resurgence for the art in recent years. Emerging out of a large bowl and dressed in emu feathers, Hewitt begins the Australian Open by holding an expectant crowd’s attention with his potential to nude-up with a win.
But year after year the tease is interrupted by a stern order from backstage and Lleyton goes running off, leaving the crowd to go home frustrated and merely fantasize at the potential of what we might have been treated to.
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It was strangely refreshing to hear about Brazilian Marcos Daniel apparently getting into a squabble with a female spectator after his first round loss.
Not because getting in fights with fans is particularly advisable or admirable, but it did at least give us a tennis player we could look at say “that Marcos is one bad cat”. As an average player Marcos Daniel may have done his career a favour as he is now one of the few bad guys on the circuit.
Grand Slam tennis is currently suffering under the burden of there being too many nice guys and gals on the circuit - or at the least players who have perfected the art of looking like nice guys and gals.
It’s Thursday @ The Punch
Tennis ace John McEnroe was defaulted out of the Australian Open on this day in 1990.
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There is a very serious problem with the Australian open. Her name is Maria Sharapova. And it’s not her weird grunting that’s the issue.
Take a long. Hard. Look at her.
With three grand slams already under her 22-year-old designer belt, including the US Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open, plus a long list of other titles, the Russian certainly qualifies for being at this year’s tournament, let’s hope the injuries stay at bay. But talent isn’t the problem.
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SO Melbourne gets Tiger Woods. So what? Sydney got Long John Daly and, on behalf of this city of drunken misfits, I say we couldn’t be happier.
Sure, the man they call “Wild Thing” isn’t exactly sweating Tiger in the rankings or snapping up Nike contracts bigger than the GDP of African nations.
Truth be known Daly, whose financial nous could have seen him make the board of Enron, is flat broke. He was selling t-shirts out of his car at the US Masters and depends largely on the proceeds of his
psychedelic golf trouser label to pay the bills.
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