As a tennis fan, I’ve been keeping up with events in Melbourne for the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year.
Most of you will know that Andy Murray lost in the final of the men’s event. He didn’t play badly, but he wasn’t aggressive enough in my view. His opponent, Novak Djokovic, was playing so well it would have been a tall order for anyone to beat him. The wait for a British male Grand Slam winner goes on. The result is also notable because it marks the first time in years that Federer doesn’t hold one of the majors. He’s not as dominating or as feared as he once was, but he’s a real threat to win every tournament he enters until the day he retires.
Also in the men’s draw, Rafael Nadal got injured. Hopefully it’s not too serious and he can recover quickly. He has French Open and Wimbledon crowns to defend, after all.
In the women’s tournament, I was happy to see victory go to my favourite player, Kim Clijsters. Hers is quite a story. She was a very good player, who had won one Grand Slam and had been ranked number one in the world when she retired through injuries and the desire to start a family. She got married, had a daughter, Jada, then started feeling the itch to compete again. She returned to the tour in the summer of 2009 in time for the American hard court season, where she’d always been successful in the past. In only her third tournament back, she won the US Open. Then she defended that title last year. In her ‘first career’, as she calls it, she won one Grand Slam title. In her second, she’s won three and is a threat to win more, especially with Serena Williams out with a long-standing foot injury.
Li Na, Clijsters’ opponent in the final, has always been a dangerous opponent but she really made her mark in Melbourne. It’s a shame she’s 28 not 20, or we’d be seeing a lot more of her. She made history by being the first Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam final. There’s an excellent chance that it will spur Chinese interest in the sport, which can only be a good thing. Li also won over the crowd with her charming answers in interviews: