Can you believe the first week of the Australian Open is already in the books? It seems like just yesterday I was checking out the draw to see how the top picks stacked up against the competition, and now we’re staring down the quarterfinal match ups.
With the significant difference in time zones many tennis fans, at least in North America, don’t have the privilege of watching all the live matches. So there’s a good chance you may have missed out on what was buzzing in the first week. But don’t worry, I’ve got the rundown on the good, the bad and…well, at least one ugly!
Li Na’s major announcement!
No she wasn’t on the court to defend her title, but recently retired fan favorite Li Na made headlines even before major play began. The former world No. 2 player revealed that she and husband Jiang Shan are expecting their first child this summer. Li, one of the most entertaining players on the tour in the last few years, is a three-time Australian Open finalist, with runner-up finishes in 2011 and 2013, and a win last year. Fittingly, she cited her special connection to the Aussie Open fans as inspiration behind her decision to break the news before the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena. Do we have a future Grand Slam winner in the making? Well, we at Tennis Express will miss her brilliant tennis game and entertaining interviews, and we definitely offer our hearty congrats on her post-career future as a mom.
Several female players debuted new dresses at the Australian Open, but one player’s dress generated buzz, especially among her peers. Serena Williams’ backless dress grabbed attention when she stepped out in it for the first time. Among its many fans were No. 7 seed Eugenie Bouchard, who tweeted about her love for the outfit, and Victoria Azarenka, whose tweet read, “Serena is rocking that outfit! Cut out back #sexy #outfit.” What was Serena’s inspiration for the dress? Female empowerment, the world No. 1 said. “This whole year is about the back and strength and women and power,” Serena said in an interview, adding that the message is to show “you can be beautiful and powerful at the same time.”
Speaking of dresses, Serena and Bouchard were roped into the infamous “Twirlgate” incident after Australian TV interviewer Ian Cohen asked both players to give a victory twirl following their wins. The request sparked comments on Twitter under #Twirlgate, with some, like tennis legend Billie Jean King, suggesting it was a sexist request. No harm done though, both players took it in stride.
Shocking early exits
For as long as Roger Federer has dominated the ATP tour, he’s almost always a lock in to make it to the second week of competition. So it was shocking when one of tennis’ most consistent players was ousted by the unseeded Andreas Seppi in the third round. On the women’s draw, it was the first round upset of No. 5 seed Ana Ivanovic to the unseeded Lucie Hradecka.
Dmitrov’s racquet smash!
If you’re a huge tennis fan, you’ve seen your share of players taking their frustration out on racquets. Then there’s the epic smash levied by No. 10 seed Grigor Dimitrov, in a fourth round match he eventually lost to the sixth-ranked Andy Murray. The classic meltdown occurred after Dimitrov lost his serve at 5-5, to put the match in the hands of Murray’s serve. What likely made it worse was that Dimitrov had the chance to send the match to a fifth set, but failed to convert a set point with Murray serving down 5-2. After losing the next three games to even the set at 5-5, Dimitrov lost the next game without winning a point on his serve, prompting him to slam his racquet on the court with so much force that it split the handle as well! If he hoped a new racquet and a new balls might change his tide, it wouldn’t be the case, as Murray closed out the set at 7-5.
Did we leave out any news out? Let us know what your most buzzworthy news of the first week was here:
You can add Eugenie Bouchard’s Nike Premier Tennis Strappy Tank and Nike Premier Skirt , and Serena Williams’ Nike Slam Tennis Tunic (sans cut out back) at Tennis Express, along with everything you need from your favorite players.