The first major of the year is over. I find I am feeling a mixture of sadness and relief - sadness because I look so much forward to the Happy Slam every year, relief because I can finally get some sleep again!
The men's final turned out as so many predicted it would - with Novak Djokovic holding his third consecutive Australian Open trophy, fourth overall, and sixth major title. It was certainly a tight match for the first 2 1/2 hours with, amazingly, no breaks of serve. Murray had his chances to really get his teeth into it, after winning the first set in a tiebreak, when he had three break point opportunities. He was not able to capitalize on those, however, and Djokovic ended up winning that set in a tiebreak. By the third set Murray was being hampered by a foot injury and it certainly started to take its toll in his movement. Once Novak was able to get the first break of serve in the match there was no turning back. Andy definitely hung in there but it was inevitable which way things were going to turn out.
I can't help but wonder if things would have turned out differently if Murray wouldn't have played a five set four hour match in his semifinal compared to an incredibly easy hour-and-a-half semi by Djokovic with an extra day of rest. But each player must deal with what is given them in the draw - it's all just part of the game of tennis.
As for the women, Victoria Azarenka had to overcome an unsupportive crowd in her victory against Li Na. It was obvious that the tennis fans in Rod Laver arena hadn't forgiven her for her injury timeout against Sloane Stevens and were in full support of her opponent. The match was full of drama, with Li Na taking the first set but then having two falls, one twisting her ankle and the other hitting her head on the court. She really didn't seem too affected by these injuries, however, and it was really Azarenka settling into the match and taking control that won her her second consecutive AO title. Her reaction at the end of the match was very telling as to the emotions she had been holding back over these difficult days leading up to the final. Rather than walking back onto the court to receive her congratulatory applause, she instead sat in her chair and began to sob. Hopefully this will be a real learning experience for her to keep her making these kind of costly mistakes again which tend to turn people against her.
Though there are no more majors for four months now, there is much tennis action coming up with many smaller tournaments. Roger Federer will be making his next appearance the second week in February in a 500 level tournament in Rotterdam and again in Dubai. The one I am waiting for is Indian Wells in March, the first Masters tournament of the year, which I will be present at for the third year in a row. Still so much to look forward to!