Daria Gavrilova was in a celebratory mood as Ash Barty and Sam Stosur won their way to the Fed Cup Final
We have just experienced the best 14 days of tennis since last year.
Apart from having Roger Federer or an Aussie in the final (maybe we’ll get that in 2022), the best result for the promoters and spectators is the No.1 seed against No.2.
This is what we had, with both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic meeting in the final with spectacular semis wins when they vanquished up and comers in straight sets.
Everyone was expecting a repeat of the last time they met in the Australian Open, when they only decided it after five gruelling sets and almost six hours.
Even the experts were predicting four or five sets. But what did we get? Novak was incredible.
Hardly any unforced errors and winners and aces were abundant. Nadal was outclassed and generously admitted that his opponent was too good.
The media suddenly backtracked and started talking about the Novak dynasty and whether he would win enough grand slam titles to eclipse Roger.
Not so fast guys! Watch Roger at Wimbledon when he will chalk up number 21.
Since the domination of Federer, Nadal, Andy Murray and Djokovic every grand slam has featured the headline; “the youngsters are coming to get the legends”.
This time it would be the Greek Freak Stefanos Tsitsipas, the volcanic Alexander Zverev or the French sensation Lucas Pouille. Unfortunately, none of them came close and the legends of tomorrow were wiped out again. Maybe next time.
But seriously, we are so lucky that we have lived through the era of four incredible players who not only have sublime tennis skills but impeccable court behaviour and huge respect for each other and the game.
I want them to go on forever – or at least until Alex de Minaur is ready.
Best Moment: Pablo Carreno Busta practising his hammer throwing skills with his tennis bag. Maybe the promoters can introduce a new sideshow next year.
This was a great final between two gladiators with great stories. Petra Kvitova who had been the victim of a home invasion attack, but made an amazing recovery and had strode through all of her opponents with long sweeping groundstrokes and one of the fastest serves around.
Her opponent, Naomi Osaka, had been the surprise winner of the US Open final that featured a world-class dummy spit by Serena Williams. For a while, it seemed irrelevant who won – Serena’s tantrum was the main event.
The good news is that she had knuckled down and improved so that she had made another grand slam final. This game was very close and Naomi prevailed by a whisker. In this final one of the legends of tomorrow actually won.
Men: The usual first and second round winners, but we dropped out in the fourth round. Our great hope Alex de Minaur was steamrolled by Nadal after great performances in the early rounds. Another year of seasoning is required before next year – maybe the quarter-finals?
Women: Ashleigh Barty kept the party going until the quarters, when Petra was far too good. But she is now No.12 in the world and her win over Maria Sharapova was inspiring. She could reach the semis next year.
This was the first year of Nine’s coverage. Some good some bad. John McEnroe compared with Jim Courier was a non-event. Courier was relaxed, affable and full of worthy comments, whereas McEnroe was acerbic, at times grumpy and didn’t seem to relate as well to the players.
Todd Woodbridge took a step up and next year will be even better, while the female commentators were sound and informed – Jelena Dokic surprisingly interesting.
Channels Nine’s worst moment was the performance of Rebecca Maddern, who so imposed herself on the interview with Novak Djokovic after his great win that we couldn’t hear Novak, Jim nor Todd.