MELBOURNE – For this poetic Australian Open it seemed only fitting to offer a tournament recap in limerick form.
The tennis season starts in Australia
A two-week Grand Slam bacchanalia
On courts fast and blue
An early test, tried and true
For players of stringed paraphernalia
This year, the top seeds lost their way
Andy and Angie revealed nervous play
And six times the victor
Was a lousy predictor
Because the Djoker, too, got away
Mischa Zverev posed a real threat
With a rare tactic: getting to net
And an Uzbek named Denis
Played dynamite tennis
To pull the year’s biggest upset as yet
As for the Aussie, Nick Kyrgios
It gets ever harder taking him serious,
While he was in loco
She struck shots ro-Coco
Who cares if she comes off imperious?
Now that we’ve reached the late stages
It's clear: this was an event for late ages
Rafa, Swiss Misters
And of course those two sisters
Thirty-plus get seniority wages
With two days to play (and draws drawn asunder)
We won’t pick winners; we’ll just wonder
Who will stay late?
Have the ultimate G’day, mate….
And come up atop while Down Under?
Australian Open 2017 semifinals
"I think Grigor played great. I played great. So was a great quality of tennis tonight. So just for me, is amazing to be through to a final of Grand Slam again here in Australia at the first of the year. Means a lot to me. I feel the love of the people here. They give me a lot of positive energy."
"For sure Rafa deserves pretty much all the credit right now since he's such a fighter, such a competitor. At the same time it was an honor for me to play a match like that against him. It also shows me that I'm in a good way, I'm on the right path. I'm just trying to take all the positives out of this month in Australia. I'm sure I'm going to look back at that match and see what I could have done better. But at least one thing I can say is that I left it all out on the court. I'm proud of that. I'm proud of my team. Proud of my coach. Everyone that has taken care of me that month, it's been super intense. We can relax for a little bit now and get back to work."
"I just don't want to put my head down for a second right now, especially when I'm feeling good, I'm competing great. Physically I'm getting there. Despite the disappointment, that's going to feed me, I think, for the upcoming events. The one thing that's going to be hard for me the first three or four days, to really absorb that, like, Wow, I was so close. I need to appreciate it. At the same time I'm appreciating my run so far. It's been a great start of the year. It doesn't happen often that you come off from 10 matches in a row."
"Well, was amazing for me, for me and I think for tennis, too. Is the combination of two different styles that makes the matches really special. Is different way to play tennis. Both of us, I think, having a lot of good success with these two different styles. I feel that this rivalry go not only in the tennis world. People from outside of our world talks about this, and that's good for our sport. Is good that we are back there."
"That moment was just joy. It was a heartfelt match. If the match is 6-2, 6-2, you know, the moment is kind of clear that it's going to happen. But she played so well. There was never a moment where she wasn't just hitting the ball amazing and striking the ball with just such precision. It's always very satisfying to be able to get through in such a big match against an opponent who was just on fire."
"I think Venus is an unbelievable competitor. Putting age aside, age is just a number. For her to be the great champion that she is is a great accomplishment. It doesn't matter if she's 36 or 18 or anything like that. For me, I appreciate her as an athlete, as a competitor, as well as I would probably be feeling joy and glee if I had won the match today. I think it shows kind of the human aspect of sports. I think that's a very important factor that sometimes gets pushed to the side. We're all human. We're not perfect out there. We're going to have some screw-ups. You're also kind of watching us have our high moments and low moments, as well."
"Yesterday for sure, also emotionally it was quite draining. It was really incredible. Physically, I mean, every day I played. It was difficult to heal the leg. It was difficult to do everything. But I don't want to make it about that. No excuse at all. It was tough, for sure. It would have been nice to have a day off, but I didn't. I tried my best today. I feel like I have nothing to be ashamed of."
"What I will say about sport, I think why people love sport so much, is because you see everything in a line. In that moment there is no do-over, there's no retake, there is no voice-over. It's triumph and disaster witnessed in real-time. This is why people live and die for sport, because you can't fake it. You can't. It's either you do it or you don't. People relate to the champion. They also relate to the person also who didn't win because we all have those moments in our life. Is it an athlete's job to inspire? Inherently what I think athletes do at a top level inspires people, but each person takes that responsibility differently."
Venus Williams, CoCo Vandeweghe
"When I'm playing on the court with her, I think I'm playing the best competitor in the game. I don't think I'm chump change either, you know. I can compete against any odds. No matter what, I get out there and I compete...I know that it won't be easy. You have to control yourself, then you also have to hopefully put your opponent in a box. This opponent is your sister, and she's super awesome. It's wonderful."
"We definitely talk. I think now more so than anything. Nothing can break our family. If anything, this will definitely bring us closer together, knowing that I want to see her do the best that she can possibly do. I know that she definitely wants to see me do the best that I can do. This is a story. This is something that I couldn't write a better ending. This is a great opportunity for us to start our new beginning."
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Serena Williams
"It definitely makes it uncomfortable. But after everything that Venus has been through with her illness and stuff, I just can't help but feel like it's a win-win situation for me. I was there for the whole time. We lived together. I know what she went through. It's the one time that I really genuinely feel like no matter what happens, I can't lose, she can't lose. It's going to be a great situation."
Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka
"I cannot just be happy to win two sets against Roger. I just lost a five-set match in semifinal of Australian Open... I'm proud of myself, of the fight I give tonight and all the tournament. I think there is a lot of positive from this tournament, from Brisbane, from the month already. For sure I'm really sad and disappointed with a loss like that because to be that close to have won a semifinal, it can be only sad." But at the end I know I tried everything on the court. I came from two sets down. I change completely the momentum. I start to be extra aggressive because I had to change few things also physically. So I change my game with that."
Stan Wawrinka, Roger Federer
"At some point you reach a limit, and you just can't go beyond that. You can play them tight. You might win one of them. You just can't win back-to-back. Just not feeling free enough, you know, in your mind, in your body. That's where both, I guess, Rafa and myself said, Okay, enough of this already. Let's get back to 100%, enjoy tennis again, enjoy the practice. Not just practice, treatment, practice, treatment, match, treatment. All the time all you're doing is fighting the fire. From that standpoint, yeah, the six months definitely gave me something in return."