The Australian Open

The Australian Open was first held in 1905, as one of the four Grand Slam Tennis Tournaments around the world. In 1972 it was moved to Melbourne, Australia where it begins every year in January and continues for approximately two weeks as both men and women battle it out for the title on the hard court surface.

As the tournament started the number one seeded players, and also the favorites, were Novak Djokovic for the men and Caroline Wozniacki for the women, which wasn’t surprising considering they are both the number one players worldwide as well. Wozniacki lost to Kim Clijsters, the eleventh seed in the quarter finals round while Novak Djokovic awaits his test of wits and physical ability against Andy Murray in the semifinals. The biggest upsets in the female side of the draw happened to Clijsters against Victoria Azarenka in a three set battle, Na Li in a three set match against Clijsters, Sabine Lisicki in a three set match against Sharapova and of course Wozniacki’s loss. On the men’s side, the most devastating losses were that of David Ferrer to Djokovic, Thomas Berdych to Rafael Nadal in four sets, and Joe-Wilfred Tsonga to Kei Nishikori in five sets.

The battle Royale that fans were awaiting anxiously was the semifinal match between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. For many years Federer, currently thirty one years old, had held the number one rank in the world but was in constant competition with Rafael Nadal, only twenty five years old. Eventually Federer, the man with sixteen Grand Slam singles titles under his belt and 237 consecutive weeks as number one, fell down to number two on the ranking system and ended up at number three. Nadal was only able to overtake him for a short amount of time with only ten Grand Slam singles titles in his arsenal, and he too was later beat out by the Serbian player, Novak Djokovic. Federer had always had the advantage on Nadal on grass court surfaces while Nadal excelled on clay surfaces and was dubbed “the King of Clay”, yet hard court was somewhat even ground for the two professional players. In this year’s Australian Open Nadal narrowly defeated Federer in a four set encounter with a score of 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-4, which propelled him to this year’s final.

The female side of the draw is preparing for a semifinals showdown between Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova to determine who will be facing Victoria Azarenka in the finals. While Kvitova is ranked number two in the world, and Sharapova number four, it will be interesting to see if Sharapova’s veteran status in the tennis game will triumph over the newcomer’s skill. At Wimbledon, 2011, a Grand Slam tournament held in London, England, Kvitova blind sighted the entire tennis community by defeating Sharapova in the finals 6-3 6-4. Both players are formidable opponents will play a great match, but Kvitova’s record speaks for itself.

A large motivator for both gender’s will be the monetary prize of $2,300,000 for the winner and a prize of $1,150,00 for the runner’s up. The Australian Open is a historical tournament that tests the athletes with difficult environmental conditions as well as competition but it is also a place for tennis players to shine and prove themselves, which is exactly what is happening this year.