Lleyton Hewitt has played the last singles match of his tennis career, losing to David Ferrer in the second round of the Australian Open. He always says, “Never leave anything in the locker room, give it everything you have got.” He has been an inspiration to every person who has ever held a tennis racket.
Hewitt, who was part of the Davis Cup winning team in 1999 and 2003 will take over as the Australian Davis Cup Captain to nurture the young Australian Team for this year’s Davis Cup as well as for the upcoming Olympics. Hewitt was seen sitting in Kyrgios’ box alongwith other Australian players. Looks like LH is already in his Captain shoes. Bernard Tomic, seeded 16th is the only Australian player left in the draw. Tomic’s next match is against Andy Murray, who is not 100% available at the tournament this year. Andy is expecting the birth of his child and has said that he would walk away from a Grand Slam final, if need be, to be with his wife and kid. Though that is good fatherly gesture, I feel all the drama could have been avoided had Andy planned a little better. There is a reason why the ATP releases its calendar well in advance.
What hurts more than Nadal’s loss to Verdasco in the first round of the first Grand Slam of the year is when Nadal says that he feels that he is ‘on the right track.’ Maybe the right track to retirement is what he meant. I just hope Nadal is just pretending to be modest while slogging his butt off for the tournaments that follow. We saw a surge in form towards the end of the last season and he began this season well, but what matters are the 13 major tournaments, including the ATP 1000s (Djokovic is the defending champion at 9 of these). Nadal had lost in the quarter finals to Berdych last year and would be losing a lot of points. BTW, where are we on the appointment of a new coach?
Roger Federer won his 3rd round match against Dimitrov and will be gaining a couple of points this tournament having lost to Seppi in the third round last year. Though, Dimitrov is fondly called ‘Baby Federer’, he is yet to show even a remote connection to the master. Federer had considered Dimitrov to be the younger version of himself, and their match could have been the Federer of 2003 vs Federer of 2016. But that couldn’t be more wrong, because the Federer of 2003 was just a couple of months away from his first Grand Slam trophy and what followed is unbelievable till date, however, Dimitrov is still fending off relationship issues. Federer plays David Goffin in his next match. Federer has not lost a match against Goffin and I think he is gonna keep it that way. He seems to be in good form and if there is not a lot of running to be done, then Federer can pull off a win against almost anybody.
Stan Wawrinka, the champion in 2014, is wearing green socks to match his ugly looking outfit. I just hope this is not the only statement he makes. His next opponent is Milos Raonic, fresh from a win at Brisbane. Raonic is a dangerous player and probably one of the best players in the next generation. This is going to be a tough match for both of them but I feel Raonic is gonna come out on top. Kei Nishikori plays Tsonga in his next match and is 4-1 against Tsonga on hard courts. Their last match was at the French Open last year when Tsonga kept his cool and capitalized on the home support, but this match is going to be very different. Both the players are not at their best and the match could go either ways.
Novak Djokovic had an amazing 2015 and it seems he might be going for a “2015+Olympic Gold” this year, though I cannot think of any player who would be able to beat him at the French Open again. When I watch his matches these days, if ever there is a shot that Djokovic cannot return, I just label it as an unreturnable shot. Because as of today, there is nobody fitter, faster or better than Djokovic.
I think it is very safe to say that all the players participating in a tournament alongside Djokovic are competing for the Runners Up trophy.