Australian Open overview
What a start to the year! January brought with it a flurry of excitement as the best players in the world descended on Melbourne for the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic was simply inevitable as he marched to a remarkable 10th Australian Open title and 22nd overall grand slam, moving him level with Rafael Nadal’s record. Djokovic only dropped one set for the entire tournament as he swept aside all four of his seeded opponents in straight sets, including a brutal 6-2 6-1 6-2 demolition of Aussie Alex de Minaur. With Nadal looking like he’s in the twilight of his career and the younger generation of players not taking over just yet, Djokovic could easily add another few slams to his collection and stand alone as the most successful male player of all time.
On the women’s side, Aryna Sabalenka broke through for her first slam victory in a compelling final that could have gone either way. The women’s draw was fascinating, with a much less foreseeable finish providing tension throughout. Iga Swiatek, the Polish world number one and pre-tournament favourite, was eliminated in the fourth round by eventual runner-up Elena Rybakina, who herself won Wimbledon in 2022. This depth of talent makes the women’s game highly unpredictable and great to watch.
There was also an Australian presence in the winners circle, with Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler taking out the doubles despite only being wildcard entries, a fabulous achievement for the relatively unheralded pair. Kubler has unfortunately suffered from a knee injury throughout his career, but has seen some success recently in both doubles and singles, making the Wimbledon mixed doubles final last year, as well as the fourth round in the singles. Hijikata is just starting out, but looks to have a promising career ahead of him.
Getting in on the act
Hopefully you were able to watch some of the exceptional tennis on display at Melbourne Park, and were inspired to pick up your racquet and get out on the court yourself. Watching some of the world’s best players battle it out is always exciting, but even as far removed as that level of tennis may seem from your own game, there is no doubt that we can all learn something, regardless of what stage of our tennis journey we are at. Even as a complete beginner, looking at the way the players move around the court, how they strike the ball and how they construct points can level up your own game significantly.
While the Australian Open was heating up, we were running our school holiday clinics, and it was wonderful to hear how many children were watching the tennis keenly, discovering a passion for the game that we at NetSports hope to instil in every single person who comes to us, no matter your age or skill level. We packed in two big weeks of tennis, and it was exciting to see some new faces amongst the group, many of them playing tennis for the first time, and it was hugely gratifying to see them improve. Tennis should first and foremost be fun and exciting, and as long as you are enjoying the game, your desire to get on court and play will drive improvement. The fastest way to improve is to play in addition to your lessons, allowing you to understand the game better and practise what you have been attempting in lessons. As such, ensuring that our lessons are engaging and foster a love for the game is a core tenet of our coaching philosophy.
As the curtain rises on the busiest time of our year at NetSports and we settle into our regularly scheduled programming, we hope to see you out here enjoying your tennis, whether it’s with one of our wonderful coaches or with your friends and family, making the most of the summer sun.