The first Grand Slam tournament of the year, the Australian Open, took place at the end of January and gave us a glimpse at what to expect this year in the world of tennis. On the men’s side it seems that those who in the past were considered “the big four” have no longer become as significant. And on the women’s side, for the second straight major tournament we saw a huge upset in the finals.
“The big four” as they have come to be known on the men’s side consists of four all time great players who have been dominating tennis for the past several years. The four consists of Andy Murray (England), Rafael Nadal (Spain), Roger Federer (Switzerland), and Novak Djokovic (Serbia). While in past years this was an incredibly competitive group where any one of them could emerge victorious in any tournament, Novak Djokovic looks to have claimed the torch from Nadal and Federer. Nadal fell in the first round to an unseeded opponent and Federer and Murray were both no match for Djokovic. Federer met Djokovic in the semi-finals and tried to find the version on himself that ran the sport for an era, but just could not match the play of Djokovic as he lost in four sets with really only one being the competitive. After taking care of Federer, Djokovic matched up against Andy Murray in the expected match-up of the top two ranked players in the world. But Djokovic showed what a difference that one spot makes as he took care of Murray in straight sets. This was his 11th grand slam title and his record sixth Australian Open title. Djokovic had what is widely seen as one of the best years ever last year and he seems to be motivated to continue on that hot streak.
On the women’s side, the focus is always on the greatest player in the world, and probably the greatest player ever, Serena Williams. Williams coasted to the finals without losing one set. She was met there by seventh ranked German Angelique Kerber. Kerber was an unexpected finalist and was looking to become the lowest seed to win the Open since 2007. With Williams having her most dominant run to the finals than in any of her previous majors, she was a strong favorite. However, Kerber had other plans. The Serena Williams that we have come to know was not the Serena Williams we saw in the finals, as she committed 46 unforced errors and Kerber stunned the tennis world and walked away with her first major title. The loss means that Williams will have to wait for at least one more major to tie the record of 22 career Grand Slam titles.
The next major tournament will be the French Open, which will begin on May 22nd.