The first grand slam of the year concluded amidst high drama and compelling action. The Australian Open 2009 Tennis Championship will go down in history as one of the finest Grand Slam Tournaments. The event produced some spectacular tennis matches. In the Men’s Draw, power tennis and marathon matches highlighted play while top seeded women fell like a house of playing cards until the inevitable occurred. When all was said and done, two premier players stood atop the tennis world.
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal of Spain Defeated Swiss Roger Federer by 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2 to lift the Men’s Trophy
Before the greatest tennis players in the world migrated to Melbourne, there was speculation that the two most highly rated tennis players were not prepared to cope with new, svelte young guns. After all, the number two ranked player, Roger Federer, may have won 13 Grand Slam Championships, but he had recently been dominated by the world’s top ranked player, Rafael Nadal, and 4 consecutive times by Scotland’s Andy Murray.
Rafael Nadal was highly regarded as a grass court player, but had been inconsistent on faster surface. Of course, despite his five Grand Slam titles, he was only 22 years old and had never performed that well during the Australian summer.
And, there was the tempestuous, flamboyant Andy Murray. Now, here was a fast court player. Granted Murray had never won a Grand Slam and despite his relative immaturity at 21 years of age, he had been impressive against Federer since the U.S. Open. Murray, the 4th seed, was installed as the pre-tourney bookmaker’s favorite.
The 2008 Australian Open Champion, Novak Djokovic, was the number 3 seed, but was rumored to have trained poorly. He would definitely not win this year and the Serb would struggle with the climate.
The reason tennis uses a seeding system is that it works! Djokovic was not in shape to play. Murray’s immaturity showed. Federer kept looking better and better. Nadal did not lose a set until the semi finals where he was confronted by another hard charging Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who had trained harder than any other player for this event.
In the match of the tournament, Fernando Verdasco fell in five to Nadal, who proved his mettle as a number one seed. Still, the skeptics reigned. Federer would certainly put an end to the grass court specialist. Not quite!
In the finals, Rafael Nadal claimed an emotionally draining five set win over his storied rival. His mental toughness and conditioning will never be challenged again. This 22 year old knows how to win and how to commit to victory. The world’s best tennis player is unquestionably the 2009 Australian Open Champion, Rafael Nadal.
USA’s Serena Williams defeated Russia’s Dinara Safina by 6-0, 6-3,to lift Women’s Title
The 2008 Champion, Maria Sharapova succumbed to her shoulder injury and had to withdraw from the tournament. The Women’s Draw did not feature a defending champion.
The world’s top-ranked player, Jelena Jankovic, had never won a Grand Slam event. Lately she seemed more intent on re-building her luster than her tennis game. Critics questioned her commitment.
The 2008 Australian runner-up, glamour girl, Ana Ivanovic, had not won in months, had not trained well and was spending a great deal of time in front of the modeling cameras. On top of that, she had not addressed her service dilemma. She looked shaky in the opening round and critics correctly wrote her off pronto.
Number three seed, Russian Dinara Safina had never won a Grand Slam. Despite her new training regimen and slimmed down physique, Dinara was regarded as a nervous performer.
Second seeded Serena Williams was installed as the bookmaker’s favorite, but she would have to play through her sister, Venus. And, Venus had been playing well in recent tune-ups.
Russian Elena Dementieva was seeded second, but had not won a major. She was pretty and stroking the ball well, but did she know how to win? Certainly not like the two Williams sisters she would have to play through to reach the finals.
Amazingly, the door crept open when Venus inexplicably lost to soft-baller Carla Suarez Navarro. But, that still left the hard-hitting tourney-tested betting favorite, Serena Williams.
Serena marched through them all. She battled the weather, overcame some erratic play and championed the tournament in a ridiculously easy final over Dinara Safina, who beat a lot of players but came up very short against the American powerhouse. Serena is once again The Queen and world’s top ranked player. Who really doubted that?
USA’s Twin Brothers Mark Bryan and Bob Bryan defeated Mahesh Bhupathi of India and Bahamian Mark Knowles in a fierce three set final 6-2, 5-7, 6-0 to win the Double’s Title
Number One seed Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic went down in the second round. The second seeded Bryan brothers immediately became the tourney favorites. The American team knows how to win. They seized the momentum and swept into the finals.
Waiting for them in the finals was third seeded Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles, who cruised through the first set only to come up well short at the end. The Bryans claimed their seventh Grand Slam doubles title and emerged as the world’s top ranked team.
Women’s Doubles – Serena Williams and Venus Williams
USA’s Serena Williams and Venus Williams defeated Ai Sugiyama of Japan and Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia by 6-3, 6-3 to win Women’s title
Who ever doubted that 10th seeded Serena and Venus would get to the doubles finals? The two fashion gurus play great tennis too! They dress like champions, play like champions and win like champions.
With their convincing win over Ai Sugiyama and the gorgeous Daniela Hantuchova, the Williams claimed their 8th Grand Slam Doubles Championship. American swept the Men’s and Women’s Doubles.
India’s Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupati defeated France’s Nathalie Dechy and Israel’s Andy Ram by 6-3, 6-1 to lift the Mixed Double’s Title
22 year old Indian Sania Mirza teamed with countrymate and business manager Mahesh Bhupathi to earn her first Grand Slam Trophy. The team was the runner-up in 2008 and looks poised to challenge for all Grand Slam titles this year. Bhupathi is the world’s master doubles player and the striking Mirza is a willing protégé.
What an event! What a year! Congratulations to all 2009 Australian Open competitors.