2008 Australian Open

It’s that time of year again for my favorite major tennis tournament and the first of 2008, the Australian Open. There are a lot of great story lines coming into the grand slam of Asia and the Pacific. Can the great Roger Federer win his third straight Aussie Open and fourth in five years and inch one closer to Pete Sampras’ record of 14 grand slams? On the womens side, can Serena Williams defend her title that she so brilliantly won last year or will it be business as usual for Justine Henin? Or can a new face emerge on either side as a threat to these great champions?

The reason I love the Aussie Open so much is, aside from the fact that I love Australia and Melbourne in general, that its always on when you’re going to sleep so you can fall asleep and wake up with it on ESPN. It’s always tomorrow with the 16 hour time difference with the east coast. It’s also great to see the players face the elements of the hot Aussie summer and the Aussie Open is the grand slam where you have the best chance at a new random face winning the tournament, see Thomas Johannsen or Petr Korda.

This year they changed the surface of the courts from rebound ace to some ugly colored synthetic material that slows the ball down a bit for no good reason really. Some of the players including Federer are not thrilled with this innovation because that doesn’t suit his game as well as the faster courts would.

As most of you know, I love watching Federer play and will be rooting him on as always but his road to the final is not easy this year. First, he hasn’t played a warm up event this year and hasn’t played a competitive match since he won the Masters Cup Final in Shanghai two months ago and was sidelined with a severe stomach ailment last week but claims to be fit. Second, he will most likely have to go through hard hitting John Isner in the second round and further on down the line Novak Djokovic and perhaps his nemesis David Nalbandian in the semis. However, I am very confident that Federer will come through unscathed to the final and win his 13th major title. As with any Aussie Open, the interesting thing is usually who he plays in the final like Fernando Gonzalez and Marcos Baghdatis the last two years.

The women are much more bunched at the top and my favorite is of course Serena Williams who is the defending champion. I love her fight and the way she gives 100% all the time. She will have a tough road as well but hopefully will be able to knock off Henin along the way. Henin missed this tournament last year while she was getting divorced. Other contenders are of course Venus Williams along with a slew of others like Sharapova, Jankovic, Mauresmo, etc. If Serena stays healthy and keeps focused I think she can come out on top again as she has looked great in the warmups. The only other interesting thing to me in the womens draw is the second round matchup between 3 time grand slam title winner and new mother, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova. Davenport is 18-1 in her post baby comeback and if she can get past Sharapova, maybe she can make some noise-I will be rooting for her as well.

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  1. Lindsay pulled it out last night, should be a good match with Maria Wednesday.

  2. im a fan of lindsay just because she has a good story. it is hard to imagine one of these women is going to get knocked out in the second round — this is more like a semi final match rather than a second round match. its hard for me to believe that lindsay will lose. did u know that if nadal wins it and fed loses before or during the semis nadal will be the new world number one after 200 plus weeks. arod has a cake draw and should get deep in the tourney once again. good post.

  3. That can’t be true that Nadal would take over even if he won and Federer lost in the 2nd round. His point total is way too high for that to happen plus his major total from last year etc. There is no way thats true Andy, plus he looked pretty nasty last night.

  4. it is true — saw it on espn — nadal wins it and fed doesnt make it past the semis or nadal gets to the final and fed loses in the first 2 rounds — can u believe isner??? where are you?? i am in tampa hanging with homer bush, lol — maria is nasty

  5. do you think Federer cries more when he loses than when he wins????

  6. It’s nice to see someone new win a major for a change although I wanted Tsonga to win over Djokovic

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