Australian Open 2022
Tennis may not be the most popular sport, but I can guarantee you that this year’s Australian Open was nothing short of spectacular. On the women’s side, Ashleigh Barty took the trophy, beating American Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6(2) and becoming the first Australian in over 40 years to win either the men's or women's Australian Open singles title. On her way to the final, Barty lost a total of 21 games, a minuscule number compared to Collins’ 51. Favored to win the year’s first Grand Slam, the Australian had the majority of her home crowd on her side. In her final speech, she addressed the crowd with a heart-warming message, “This crowd, you relaxed me,” she stated. “You forced me to play my best tennis.” Currently occupying the women's number one spot in the world, Barty picked up her third grand slam and her first one on hard court. She obtained her other two trophies in the French Open of 2019 and Wimbledon of 2021.
Additionally, Barty joined a group of so-called “elite players” by becoming the fifth currently active singles player to win a grand slam on clay, grass, and hard court. The other members of this group are none other than Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.
Apart from Barty, all eyes focused on reigning US Open champion, 19 year-old, Emma Radacanu. To the disappointment of many, Radacanu was knocked out in the second round by unseeded Danka Kovinić in three sets. However, Radacanu had severe blistering on her right hand, making it quite difficult for her to play comfortably. Not to mention, the teenager had a tough first-round match against the 2014 US Open champion, Sloane Stephens. She eventually triumphed in a three-set thriller with quite an unusual score: 6-0, 2-6, 6-1.
On the men’s side, sixth seed Rafael Nadal won the trophy after being two sets down to the second seed and reigning US Open champion, Daniil Medvedev. With his win, Nadal became the first man in tennis history to win 21 grand slams. Just six short months ago, however, Nadal didn’t even know if he would ever be able to play again due to a severe foot injury. Everyone thought his career was nearing its end, but this win might have just been the push he needed to persevere for at least a few more years. “One month ago I might have said this would be my last Australian Open but now I have plenty of energy to keep going,” Nadal claimed in his post-final speech.
With Novak Djokovic out of the running due to his visa cancellation, the favorite to win this tournament was either Medvedev or German Alexander Zverev, the third seed. However, a shocking straight-set loss to 14th seed Denis Shapovalov took Zverev out of the tournament in the fourth round. Medvedev, on the other hand, has never been in better shape. After winning his first grand slam in New York last summer, it became clear how dominant of a player Medvedev could be. However, for reasons far beyond his control, the Australian crowd continuously booed him. Although Medvedev is known for playing his best regardless of whether or not the crowd is on his side, his patience had clearly run out. In his second-round match against Australian Nick Kyrgios, a fan-favorite, Medvedev was interrupted in the middle of his serve by a fan booing him. Even with constant interruptions like this, he was able to win the match in four sets: 7-6(1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
This year Australian Open organizers made money not only off of tickets but off of fines. Medvedev was fined $12,000 USD for verbal obscenity and for yelling at the umpire for not giving his opponent, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, a warning for illegal courtside coaching. Ultimately, Tsitsipas was fined for receiving coaching from his father three separate times during the match, which cost him a total of $13,000. Other fines include Kyrgios, who has to pay a total of $10,000 due to constant racquet abuse and use of verbal obscenities, and Canada’s Shapovalov. The Canadian recieved a fine of $8,000 for calling umpire Carlos Bernardes corrupt plus an additional $4,000 for racquet abuse. Regardless of all the drama, the Australian Open 2022 was undeniably a tournament to be remembered.