As the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park draws to a close, there has been one standout for me. Sloane Stephens.
The 19-year-old American with a smile that lights up any room she is in, Sloane is tomorrow’s darling of the international circuit.
One meritorious three set win from behind against idol Serena Williams isn’t a career, but it was career-defining.
Not just for the standard of her tennis but the aftermath with the mass media.
Sloane Stephens is a priceless tennis asset who must be looked after with kid gloves.
Hopefully the rigors of the dog-eat-dog, screaming women’s circuit doesn’t change Sloane’s attitude or charisma.
The is much like Kim Clijsters, one of the rare breed whose natural instincts remained the same throughout her career.
On the other side of the coin is Roger Federer.
It would be fair to assume he will never add to his record 17 grand slam titles.
It’s not only the sands of time that have passed him by.
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, as well, have raised the perfomance bar to staggeringly high levels, way out of Federer’s reach.
Last night, Federer was overpowered by Murray 6-4 6-7, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 in exactly four tension-filled hours.
The tension was mainly Federer who had to call on all his vast experience and fighting heart to even compete.
For Federer, I feel it is slam game set and match.
Roger, over and out and thanks for the vivid memories.