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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Tennis: 2021 Australian Open

    Haven't had a tennis thread on here for awhile, I believe.

    Very happy that Tennis Australia was able to put on this major despite the pandemic. The Aussie Open has really grown in stature over the past couple of decades, both in the hearts of tennis fans and players. (In the 70s and 80s, it wasn't uncommon for top-10 players to skip the event [and the long flight] altogether). For me, I like that it's the fast hardcourt major, contrasting itself with the relatively slow hardcourt major that is the U.S. Open. (Didn't always used to be this way, of course, as in the 90s, the US Open played fast).

    Anyway, the matches start Sunday evening (for USA viewers).

    Draws are here:
    Men's - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_A...en%27s_Singles
    Women's - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_A...en%27s_Singles

    The bottom of the women's draw (where Serena, Osaka, Halep, etc) reside is loaded. Osaka's draw is particularly awful. Australian Barty got a comparatively great draw in the top half, which has raised some eyebrows.

    In the men's draw, I think of the top 4, Medvedev probably has the easiest draw and pretty smooth sailing to the SF. Djokovic, Thiem, and Nadal all have their work cut out for them. Nadal potentially getting Tsitsipas in the QF probably makes his draw the toughest.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    Haven't had a tennis thread on here for awhile, I believe.

    Very happy that Tennis Australia was able to put on this major despite the pandemic. The Aussie Open has really grown in stature over the past couple of decades, both in the hearts of tennis fans and players. (In the 70s and 80s, it wasn't uncommon for top-10 players to skip the event [and the long flight] altogether). For me, I like that it's the fast hardcourt major, contrasting itself with the relatively slow hardcourt major that is the U.S. Open. (Didn't always used to be this way, of course, as in the 90s, the US Open played fast).

    Anyway, the matches start Sunday evening (for USA viewers).

    Draws are here:
    Men's - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_A...en%27s_Singles
    Women's - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_A...en%27s_Singles

    The bottom of the women's draw (where Serena, Osaka, Halep, etc) reside is loaded. Osaka's draw is particularly awful. Australian Barty got a comparatively great draw in the top half, which has raised some eyebrows.

    In the men's draw, I think of the top 4, Medvedev probably has the easiest draw and pretty smooth sailing to the SF. Djokovic, Thiem, and Nadal all have their work cut out for them. Nadal potentially getting Tsitsipas in the QF probably makes his draw the toughest.
    Super excited for this! Tennis is slightly behind college basketball for me in viewing pleasure. Followed closely by playoff baseball. I would definitely watch the Australian Open final and flip to the Super Bowl during commercials if they were up against each other. There is a ton of young talent on the men's side. I like Barty, Osaka and Serena on the women's side.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by ClemmonsDevil View Post
    Super excited for this! Tennis is slightly behind college basketball for me in viewing pleasure. Followed closely by playoff baseball. I would definitely watch the Australian Open final and flip to the Super Bowl during commercials if they were up against each other. There is a ton of young talent on the men's side. I like Barty, Osaka and Serena on the women's side.
    You gonna go past midnight for some of these matches, Clemmons? That's the sign of a true fanatic. I'm not going to do it every day (as that would be insane) but there will definitely be some matches I'm sure I'll set my alarm for like 2am for, lol.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    You gonna go past midnight for some of these matches, Clemmons? That's the sign of a true fanatic. I'm not going to do it every day (as that would be insane) but there will definitely be some matches I'm sure I'll set my alarm for like 2am for, lol.
    Oh yes! And get up at 3 or 4 for big matches.

  5. #5
    Wow you guys are hardcore. I've been a lifelong tennis player and fan, but hard for me to stay up for the Aussie Open with the time difference. It's been interesting pre-tournament in that several of the charter jets led to required quarantines and a certain segment of the players have not been allowed to play tennis (or leave their hotel rooms at all) for 2 weeks. I gotta think that's gonna put them at a disadvantage. I'm sure that's one of the longest breaks of their lives and not something you want to do to prepare for a major.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2007
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    NC
    Should be fun! Djokovic with the chance to make up for his missed opportunity in NY to gain ground on 20. Nadal with a chance to pass Federer and complete the career double-slam. Can Thiem make it two in a row? Or will one of the “young” guys break through?

    As always, this tourney will be a grind. Looking forward to it!

  7. #7
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    Feb 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    Should be fun! Djokovic with the chance to make up for his missed opportunity in NY to gain ground on 20. Nadal with a chance to pass Federer and complete the career double-slam. Can Thiem make it two in a row? Or will one of the “young” guys break through?

    As always, this tourney will be a grind. Looking forward to it!
    I really love Medvedev's draw and chances here. The fast court suits him well. Got him at 6 to 1 to win the whole thing.

    I also think Tsitsipas could do big things, but his draw is tough, having to go through Nadal, Meddy, and Djokovic possibly in the QF-SF-F.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    I really love Medvedev's draw and chances here. The fast court suits him well. Got him at 6 to 1 to win the whole thing.

    I also think Tsitsipas could do big things, but his draw is tough, having to go through Nadal, Meddy, and Djokovic possibly in the QF-SF-F.
    One more youngling I'm excited about is Rublev, who I wish weren't in fellow Russian Medvedev's quarter so I could take him and root for him to go far as well. He has an aesthetically pleasing game from the baseline, as he takes the ball early with his compact, powerful, beautiful strokes. Watch his destruction of Fognini in the ATP Cup below (spoilering videos for easier browsing of this thread):

    Spoiler!

  9. #9
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    Feb 2007
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    NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    I really love Medvedev's draw and chances here. The fast court suits him well. Got him at 6 to 1 to win the whole thing.

    I also think Tsitsipas could do big things, but his draw is tough, having to go through Nadal, Meddy, and Djokovic possibly in the QF-SF-F.
    Med is certainly knocking on the door. Of the “we got next” guys, he definitely seems most likely to be the next. I still suspect it is Djoker’s event to lose, but Med seems a good second option.

    The sentimental guy in me wants Nadal to pull it off and complete the double slam. For a guy who has largely been maligned (mostly by Fed fans) for not playing pretty and being just a clay court specialist, it would be a nice “F you” to those that haven’t appreciated just how good he is and has been. It would be nice too for him to not pass Fed at the French. But, realistically, he needs help - most notably he needs someone to beat Djokovic or for Djokovic to have an off-day against him. And that is even if he is fortunate to make the final.

  10. #10
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    Sea Island, GA
    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    Med is certainly knocking on the door. Of the “we got next” guys, he definitely seems most likely to be the next. I still suspect it is Djoker’s event to lose, but Med seems a good second option.

    The sentimental guy in me wants Nadal to pull it off and complete the double slam. For a guy who has largely been maligned (mostly by Fed fans) for not playing pretty and being just a clay court specialist, it would be a nice “F you” to those that haven’t appreciated just how good he is and has been. It would be nice too for him to not pass Fed at the French. But, realistically, he needs help - most notably he needs someone to beat Djokovic or for Djokovic to have an off-day against him. And that is even if he is fortunate to make the final.
    I would also pull for Nadal. I like his game and his sportsmanship, and of the three top players he has had to come back the most times from serious injuries. He is my sentimental favorite, but I know the odds are against him to win the Australian. I like Thiem as well. I agree it is Djokovic’s to lose...but I am not a real fan of his.

  11. #11
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    Feb 2007
    That was an awesome 5-set match by Shapo and Sinner (two young studs) to finish Day 1. Sinner, still a teenager, lost here but very impressed with his game, tactics, and mental strength battling through fatigue (this was like his 5th day in a row playing due to bad scheduling by Tennis Australia).

  12. #12
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    Mar 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    That was an awesome 5-set match by Shapo and Sinner (two young studs) to finish Day 1. Sinner, still a teenager, lost here but very impressed with his game, tactics, and mental strength battling through fatigue (this was like his 5th day in a row playing due to bad scheduling by Tennis Australia).
    Sinner is really good and has a promising career ahead of him. I watched him play Nadal in last fall’s French Open, and was quite impressed with his game and his poise. He beat some good players (Zverev in French, Tsisipas in Rome) last fall.

  13. #13
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    Feb 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    Med is certainly knocking on the door. Of the “we got next” guys, he definitely seems most likely to be the next. I still suspect it is Djoker’s event to lose, but Med seems a good second option.

    The sentimental guy in me wants Nadal to pull it off and complete the double slam. For a guy who has largely been maligned (mostly by Fed fans) for not playing pretty and being just a clay court specialist, it would be a nice “F you” to those that haven’t appreciated just how good he is and has been. It would be nice too for him to not pass Fed at the French. But, realistically, he needs help - most notably he needs someone to beat Djokovic or for Djokovic to have an off-day against him. And that is even if he is fortunate to make the final.
    I'm a Fed fan that has always respected Nadal's all-around-game, including things like having probably the best overhead smash in the sport, something casuals might not appreciate. (The overhead being a weakness for Djokovic has cost him crucial points and matches before.) I would say after Nadal won Wimbledon all the way back in 2008, it would've been silly to not consider him an all-around great after that.

    That said, I will say that as far as the GOAT debate is considered, I think it does matter that 13 out of his 20 Slams are French Opens. In their careers (so considering Slams, Masters', ATP Finals'), Rafa has been third-best on hardcourt and third-best on grass of the Big Three.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    I'm a Fed fan that has always respected Nadal's all-around-game, including things like having probably the best overhead smash in the sport, something casuals might not appreciate. (The overhead being a weakness for Djokovic has cost him crucial points and matches before.) I would say after Nadal won Wimbledon all the way back in 2008, it would've been silly to not consider him an all-around great after that.

    That said, I will say that as far as the GOAT debate is considered, I think it does matter that 13 out of his 20 Slams are French Opens. In their careers (so considering Slams, Masters', ATP Finals'), Rafa has been third-best on hardcourt and third-best on grass of the Big Three.
    I'm of the mindset that if a player is so dominant on one surface, that should still count as a plus for him, not a minus. Neither Federer nor Djokovic were as dominant on hardcourts or grass as Nadal has been on clay. Of course they are better than Nadal on hardcourts and grass, but Nadal is SOOOOO much better than them on clay that it offsets. In aggregate, they are where they are: Federer and Nadal tied for now, Djokovic closing in on both.

    My guess is that Djokovic will end up being the GOAT (especially if he winds up getting another clay court title to complete his career double slam), but that remains to be seen.

  15. #15
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    Feb 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    I'm of the mindset that if a player is so dominant on one surface, that should still count as a plus for him, not a minus. Neither Federer nor Djokovic were as dominant on hardcourts or grass as Nadal has been on clay. Of course they are better than Nadal on hardcourts and grass, but Nadal is SOOOOO much better than them on clay that it offsets. In aggregate, they are where they are: Federer and Nadal tied for now, Djokovic closing in on both.
    Yep, that's the perfectly valid opposing viewpoint, well-stated by you. I call this the "It's not my fault that I'm more dominant on my best surface than you are at yours" argument.

    Ultimately, gut feeling, I'm more persuaded by the "balance" argument, and I don't look at Rafa's resume and see him as the GOAT, but I can understand the opposing viewpoint.

    Also, and I know you agree with this from past convo, it's not just these three guys that are in the mix for GOAT. They've obviously taken advantage of improved modern nutrition/medicine/training/what-have-you to have the extended careers that weren't available to previous all-time-greats, and thus their numbers surpass the previous all-time greats'. But I think tennis analysts and historians have to adjust for that and still consider guys like Sampras, Laver, etc to be part of the conversation for GOAT. Maybe Sampras playing with those modern advantages gets to 20 Slams himself, for example.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    Yep, that's the perfectly valid opposing viewpoint, well-stated by you. I call this the "It's not my fault that I'm more dominant on my best surface than you are at yours" argument.

    Ultimately, gut feeling, I'm more persuaded by the "balance" argument, and I don't look at Rafa's resume and see him as the GOAT, but I can understand the opposing viewpoint.

    Also, and I know you agree with this from past convo, it's not just these three guys that are in the mix for GOAT. They've obviously taken advantage of improved modern nutrition/medicine/training/what-have-you to have the extended careers that weren't available to previous all-time-greats, and thus their numbers surpass the previous all-time greats'. But I think tennis analysts and historians have to adjust for that and still consider guys like Sampras, Laver, etc to be part of the conversation for GOAT. Maybe Sampras playing with those modern advantages gets to 20 Slams himself, for example.
    Yep, I almost brought up Laver (also hurt by the rules about amateurism) and Borg (also hurt by having the Aussie be at the end of the calendar, meaning Borg rarely played it, and he retired in his prime) as other names worthy of discussion for GOAT, but feared derailing the thread . Sampras obviously should be in that discussion too. Add 10 years to the careers of those 3 (and a comparable tourney schedule) and maybe they are in the 20+ range in majors too.

    The beauty of the GOAT conversation is that it is so nuanced and there are so many ways to look at it. Obviously the big 3 deserve to be in the discussion, but I completely agree that longevity is perhaps overstating their greatness relative to those of the 60s/70s/80s/90s.

    And, having sufficiently derailed the thread, I'm ready to come back to 2021 .

  17. #17
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    Feb 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedog View Post
    It's been interesting pre-tournament in that several of the charter jets led to required quarantines and a certain segment of the players have not been allowed to play tennis (or leave their hotel rooms at all) for 2 weeks. I gotta think that's gonna put them at a disadvantage. I'm sure that's one of the longest breaks of their lives and not something you want to do to prepare for a major.
    The players *did* get this whole past week to practice and play in one of 3 tune-up tournaments that all took place simultaneously at the site of the Aussie Open (which helps):

    ATP
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_ATP_Cup
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_M...%80%93_Singles
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_G...%80%93_Singles

    WTA
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_G...%80%93_Singles
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Y...%80%93_Singles
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Grampians_Trophy


    (The ATP wouldn't want me to refer to that first tourney as a "tuneup" for the Aussie since they want the "ATP Cup" to be on par with the Davis Cup, but I'm not sure the players take it too seriously yet, despite the opportunity to represent your country.)

    But still, you're right, in previous years, most players would've played more tennis than just one week's worth in the lead up to the Aussie Open.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    The players *did* get this whole past week to practice and play in one of 3 tune-up tournaments that all took place simultaneously at the site of the Aussie Open (which helps):

    ATP
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_ATP_Cup
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_M...%80%93_Singles
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_G...%80%93_Singles

    WTA
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_G...%80%93_Singles
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Y...%80%93_Singles
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Grampians_Trophy


    (The ATP wouldn't want me to refer to that first tourney as a "tuneup" for the Aussie since they want the "ATP Cup" to be on par with the Davis Cup, but I'm not sure the players take it too seriously yet, despite the opportunity to represent your country.)

    But still, you're right, in previous years, most players would've played more tennis than just one week's worth in the lead up to the Aussie Open.
    Ah thanks for that. Yeah I think the key point is that it didn't apply to everyone so some players had no restrictions whatsoever while others did simply by luck of the draw on what plane they were on. I guess thems the breaks during a global pandemic...still, good that they're getting a week warmup in.

  19. #19
    Love the tennis thread, and am looking forward to watching the Aussie.

    I thought I'd just chime in here that I really hope we can get back to watching live sports again soon, because the WS Open is a great event to attend. For instance, 3 years ago, I paid like 25 bucks and got to see Medvedev and Rublev on side courts (they usually give the stadium to Isner or another American). It was an amazing level and it was clear they would both become stars. The next year, I saw Berretini where I could reach out and touch him if I wanted to ha.

    Point being, the WS Open is an awesome event to go to to see big time talents play up close before they become stars.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    American Tiafoe and Djokovic are at 1 set apiece. ESPN I presume.

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