Both 2022 Australian Open champions were knocked out in the second round: Ash Barty retired and Rafa Nadal refused to retire from a match despite an apparent injury. Entire “breaking point” The cast, apparently, was knocked out in the third round. This is the first major after the retirement of Roger Federer and Serena Williams and their kind of retirement … But the pre-tournament favorites – Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek – remained in the draw. Plus: There’s an entire contingent of US Special Forces, from young lefty Ben Shelton — on his first trip abroad — to contenders Coco Goff and Jesse Pegula. In the second week we go. But first, your grades are halfway through the semester…
Novak Djokovic: Barring an exceptional snag (or an extraordinarily rebellious hamstring), his 10th-under title and 22nd-major overall flatter.
Iga Swiatek: The first seed plays like this. And act like it.
Americans: There are all kinds of Yanks on both sides of the draw. Coco Gauff, the 18-year-old veteran, is given special recognition alongside Sebastian Korda (who twice knocked out Daniil Medvedev).
Britain’s Andy Murray: It has become international law that no one can mention it without pairing it with the descriptor “hip metal”. (Or a hip bone?) He also has 35 years under his belt, four kids at home, the best sense of humor in tennis and… after more than 10 hours on the court and ten sets, he’s down in the third round. That was the end of his career, but he should leave with real pride in his performance and confidence in his stamina.
Chinese players: And not just women. Zhou Lin (Dr. Scarry) and Zhang stayed. 17-year-old Jerry Chang became the first Chinese man to win a main draw match at Major.
Czech teens: They just keep coming. Resistance is useless. Linda Noskova defeated Ons Jabeur earlier this month. And 17-year-old Linda Frohvitova (remember the name) announced herself in Melbourne. Speaking of the Czechs…
Martina Navratilova: Fighting her diagnosis like an 80’s adversary. (Find it daily on the Tennis Channel show before the game starts, well he says militaristically.)
Jack Draper: He lost his first match against Nadal. But – in what may be his last for a while as an unrated player – the secret is no longer out there.
Diana Schneider: Lefty Russian girl wearing a babushka qualifies and wins the match and turns mild-mannered Maria Sakkari in heel WWE. This disorder cannot arise. But now she’s in the top 100, jeopardizing the prospect of her NC State enrollment as planned.
Breaking point: Hardcore tennis fans dwell on unforced errors. Casual fans (and most importantly, non-fans) watch and enjoy.
Felix Auger-Aliassime: The Canadian dropped sets in each of his first three matches. But then it goes.
Link events: It’s great that tennis gives so many players the chance to earn money and points in the week leading up to an event. But have we reached the point where we are better off filtering the weeks out of the calendar? Players quit rather than risk their sub-par health to the Professionals. There are rarely many players left who delve into the big show.
Coco Vandeweghe: The former semi-finalist advances to the main draw, wins the deciding game 7-6 in the third game…then falls in the first round 6-3, 6-1.
Garbine Muguruza: We are duty bound not to root. But only the coldest of souls does not quietly attract it. He entered last year’s event in third place. After losing in the first round—squandering match points—the future Hall of Famer is outside the top 80.
Dominic Tim: We are duty bound not to root. But only the coldest spirits are not drawn to him quietly. He won the US Open in 2020. Since then, the cute Austrian player has fallen down the tennis mine. After the defeat in the first round, he will be outside the top 100.
Two groups of seeders with two major appearances in 2022: Casper Ruud and Ons Jabeur both go out with whispers and whistles in the second round.
US TV coverage: If we operate on the assumption that “TV is the lifeblood of sports”… bury the coverage, cover the hoax, move matches to live broadcasts, and get to the point where the coverage is so insane That broadcasters make explainer videos on social media? It’s a great way to kill sports.
Injury mania: Yes, injuries are part of sports. But this is a lot? this early? Is this diverse? The tournament has already lost a few stars, Kyrgios, Alacáraz, Tomljanovic and Badosa before the event – and that’s just Netflix principles – and Nadal by Wednesday. Don’t think twice about pictures like This is amazing. Imagine other sports facing this pattern of realities, and instead of addressing the root causes or investing in solutions, basically shrug and say, “Pity. Good luck with a speedy and full recovery. Hope to see you back on the Tour soon!”
Scheduling: Sport competition ends at 4 am? It’s either the 24 Hours of Le Mans or a sport that resists serious treatment.