Jon Wertheim's 50 thoughts from Melbourne.
These resonate most for me
• As always, the "tough loss" questions. Does Wawrinka recall this event for his classic match against Djokovic (and absolutely lights-out first set)? Or for a potential career-defining win that got away? Does Nicolas Almagro recall this for his unrivaled serving -- most aces in the tournament through the first four rounds -- and coming a few points from the semis against David Ferrer? Or for squandering three opportunities to serve out the match?
• You thought the endless loop of the Melbourne ads was annoying?("I wanna know; I wanna know; why couldn't sell these 30-second spots.")
Here in Australia, during innumerable changeovers we got this.
• Storyline to follow: Has Bernard Tomic finally grown up? He has the misfortune of finding himself in a PR battle with Pat Rafter. (Which is like being in a baseline rally with Djokovic; you just ain't going to win that one
.) And his father is still a problematic presence. But the kid acquitted himself awfully well in Melbourne overall. And his game, filled with variety and quirk, is easy to like.
• On the second day of the tournament, Andy Roddick took a swipe at a certain someone in particular, tweeting, "Love tennis commentary "be aggressive take cuts". Then they miss.... " he needs to be patient and work the point" Easy game right?" There are so many places to go with this, but I'll take it here: If Roddick wanted to go into the booth tomorrow, he would put someone out of a job. I'm hoping this dig doesn't mean he's burning bridges with a certain network.
• If Jamie Hampton's back doesn't seize up, she has a real shot of beating Azarenka in the third round. She lost in three sets but had to be thrilled with how she met the moment. At 23, Hampton may lack Madison Keys' youth and power. She may lack Stephens' speed and relentlessly outgoing personality. But there's an awful lot to like here.
• Want to get dizzy? Follow Errani's results at majors. At the French Open, she reached the final, a breakthrough result. She not only lost early at Wimbledon, but got the business end of a golden set. (Yes, a top-10 player went a set without winning a single point. On grass.) For good measure, she lost in the first round of the Olympics. She recovered at the U.S. Open and reached the semis, picking up almost $500,000 in the process. And won the doubles. Then in Australia, seeded seventh, she was bounced in round one by Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro. But she won the doubles again.
• Speaking of Suarez Navarro, you have to like a woman who's unafraid to dive on cement.
• Five players to watch this year in addition to Stephens and Laura Robson: Keys, Ricardas Berankis, Donna Vekic, Heather Watson and Tomic.
- interesting to include Tomic in the group. Wasn't he on the list 2 years ago?!
• Raise your hand if you're worried about Petra Kvitova, who lost a tight match to Laura Robson in round two. An exceptionally nice person. But she seems to lack a certain something as a tennis player.
• As does Del Potro. Again, nicest guy in the world. But something's missing.
Here, he fell in the middle Saturday to unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
• We've seen players appeal to the chair and ask whether to expend a challenge. But never to the opponent. Third set of Almagro-Ferrer quarterfinal, a ball is close. Almagro looks over the net and asks Ferrer about the call. "Nah, it was out; don't waste your challenge," Ferrer responded. That was good enough for Almagro, who kept playing. Few games later Almagro hit a ball long. Ferrer looked over the net as if to say, "This one? This you should challenge."
- I saw them do this in Madrid, too
• Yes, injuries are part of sports. Yes, it's a physical endeavor. But something is seriously wrong when, four weeks into the season, the players are already yelling "medic!" Is it hard courts? Is it the polyester strings? Is it runaway racket technology?
Is it the lack of standardized balls? Is it the rigor of five sets, which, I still maintain is both anachronistic and sadistic? Is it overtraining?
Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/tennis/news/20130127/australian-open-50-thoughts-novak-djokovic-victoria-azarenka/#ixzz2JHNxOj4c