Men's Tennis In A Golden Age Following Djokovic's Record-Setting Aussie Win
Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in a record-setting Australian Open final yesterday, and men's professional tennis "may be the most satisfying sport on the planet at the moment," according to Jason Gay of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Yesterday's match lasted for five hours and 53 minutes, becoming the longest final during the Open Era by nearly a full hour. There is "no game with so much excellence currently swirling at its top, that so reliably delivers not just entertainment, but historic greatness." The top three men's players -- Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer -- are as "formidable and as entangled a trio as tennis has ever witnessed." The "torrent of great tennis has undermined the old fear that the game would unravel with new technology, that it would become a tedious game of baseline heavy hitting" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/30). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said the “men’s game has never been better with Nadal and Djokovic and Federer in there" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/27). SI.com's Jon Wertheim wrote, "Trite as it sounds, this is a golden age." Not simply because the Big Four, including Andy Murray, "reliably reach the latter rounds." Wertheim: "The dynamics and psychodynamics contained therein are really intriguing. We're talking about four guys with different games, different personalities and different sensibilities" (SI.com, 1/29). FOXSPORTS.com's Richard Evans notes the fact that there were "still well more than 14,000 people in Rod Laver Arena at 1:40 on a Monday morning says everything one needs to know about just how riveting" the Djokovic-Nadal match was (FOXSPORTS.com, 1/30).
FORGET PARITY: In Jacksonville, David Johnson wrote parity "works well in the NFL, but it’s not doing much for women’s tennis." Diehard tennis fans "enjoy the play and the personalities of the women’s game as much as the men’s game." But the state of the game is "vastly different." With Victoria Azarenka's win over Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open finals, women’s tennis is "dominated by parity with five different winners in the last five majors" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 1/28).