It’s Grand Slam time! Tennis world is super-excited to kick start the 2016 season and why not? It’s the Australian open, the “Happy slam” of tennis. It’s the tournament where players are expected to be at their best : Physically and mentally. It’s time to learn from their mistakes of the past season and start afresh. Will the top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams again reign down under or will there be a surprise?
The australian crowd love the game. Even though they cheer for every top player, the chants and songs reaches a whole new level when a local boy is competing. Despite the fact that none of the Aussies are favourites to win the trophy this year, the hopes, like always, are high. It’s been 40 years since an Australian was crowned in Australian open. It was Mark Edmondson in, the 21 year old who stunned the entire world in 1976 by winning the slam. The story isn’t any better even on the woman’s side. Chris O’Neil, won triumphed in 1978, was the last Australian champion at home.
Will we see a native champion in 2016? The answer, most probably, is no. But it won’t be a surprise if few of them cause some major upsets and go deeper into the tournament.
Here’s an analysis of the Draw and a look at where the Aussies stand.
The highlight of this slam will of course be the farewell of Lleyton Hewitt. Hewitt, former world number one and the poster boy of Australian tennis over the past fifteen years will play one last time against his home crowd. To heighten the drama even further, Hewitt will be play against the fellow Australian James Duckworth in the first round. If Hewitt can pull off a victory in the first round, he will mostly face the 8th seed David Ferrer in the next round. Knowing the fighter that Hewitt is, we can expect an exciting contest if Rusty meets Ferrer in the second round. Youngster Jordan Thompson, should he win his first two rounds against relatively easier opponents, will face David Ferrer, or the Aussie who beats him, in the third round.
Coming to women’s singles, highest seeded Aussie Samantha Stosur will have a potential 3rd round match up against 4th seed Agnieszka Radwanska. But the highlight in women’s draw for Aussies is three teenagers making their debut in the tournament. Priscilla Hon, Maddison Inglis and Kimberly Birrell can have a good run in the first week since they won’t be playing any of the top 5 seend early on. Tammi Patterson will have a tough start since she faces Ana Ivanovic in the first round. Winner of this match-up might face Jarmila Wolfe in the second round. Ajla Tomljanovic has a tough draw as she’s been drawn in the same quarter as Maria Sharapova and top-seed Serena Williams. Daria Gavrilova will face Petra Kvitova in the second round while 21 year old Storm Sanders might have to play seventh seed Angelique Kerber in the second round.
Talented 18 year old Omar Jasika will have Wilfred Tsonga awaiting him in the second round should he beat Ukrainian Illya Marchenko in his first. The hope of australians will however rest on rising superstars Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic. Despite their recent antics on and off the courts, the youngsters have shown great promise. Nick has a tricky draw and will mostly face Tomas Berdych in the 3rd round. Should he win this, he might have to face Marin Cilic and Roger Federer in the next rounds. Given the abilities of the exciting youngster and his inspiring run last year down under, some major upsets could be on cards should he bring his A game into play. The last quarter of the men’s draw is most promising for Aussies since it features 7 countrymen. While Matthew Ebden faces John Isner challenge in the second round, Sam Groth and John Millman will cross paths with Andy Murray in the first week. In form Bernard Tomic, also in Andy Murray’s quarter, will have a relatively easy first week. Incidentally, Andy Murray’s home-commitments could make things really interesting. The second seed clarified that ‘Family comes first’ while talking about his priorities and might fly home anytime during the weeks since he is expecting his first child. This would really open up the last quarter, especially for Tomic since he will be facing a lower ranked player in 4th round. With just having to beat David Ferrer in quarter finals, there is high probability of of an Aussie booking a slot in the semis.
All in all, it will be a great learning curve for the Aussie youngsters, huge opportunity for the relatively experienced campaigners to make it big and a grand and emotional farewell for the native son Lleyton Hewitt.