The flags have come down, the stadium is empty. The people are all gone. It is quiet. Rod Laver Arena is still. The Australian Open is over for another year. The slate that was so clean a few weeks ago has been written on, rough sketches of things to come beginning to take shape.
It’s time to reflect. Or try to forget. Or drink. Any of the above.
I could do some in depth analysis of the tournament and what it all means and stuff, but that sounds like it would take a lot of energy and as much fun as deconstructing is, two weeks of solid tennis really takes it out of you – even if you’re only watching and not playing. So instead of actual, like, paragraphs and stuff, let’s make a list of stuff. Stuff that I noticed, stuff that I think is cool, stuff that I think is not cool. Stuff.
1. When Li Na is done with tennis, she needs to have a stand up comedy career where she just makes fun of her husband all the time. She is COMEDY GOLD.
2. Why haven’t I noticed how cool Li Na is before?
3. It was nice that Kim Clijsters got to celebrate her victory as Kim and not as Jada’s mum. Jada is adorable and all, but Kim did this all on her lonesome.
4. Thank you, Kim Clijsters, for that takedown of Todd Woodbridge. It was awesome.
5. I can deal with Todd Woodbridge as a commentator. I’m fine with him. Love Jim Courier, surprisingly love Lleyton Hewitt. HATE BRUCE MCAVANEY. FIRE HIM AT ONCE. HE FILLS ME WITH RAGE.
6. Novak Djokovic was genuinely the best player on the men’s side this fortnight and was definitely due another title.
7. I had never, ever realised that Djokovic was such a speed demon. Or that he could do the splits.
8. Djokovic has improved over the years. He is no longer my most hated player. I’m never going to be a fan, but am glad to see he’s maturing.
9. I look at Djokovic, all I can see is Bert from Sesame Street. Or Screech from Saved By The Bell. Can’t help it.
10. There is a real chance Andy Murray might be the next Ivan Lendl.
11. There is a real chance Andy Murray might be the next Dinara Safina.
12. Dinara Safina is indeed the player I feel most sorry for all tournament.
13. Except for maybe Svetlana Kuznetsova, because NO ONE deserved to lose that match.
14. Francesca Schiavone is a FREAKING LEGEND. Seriously, how awesome is she? She rocks the kasbah.
15. Just because Caroline Wozniacki was funny in press conferences doesn’t mean I like her game any better.
16. I think Ekaterina Makarova really might be something in the next couple of years.
17. Same goes for Aleksandr Dolgopolov.
18. Actually, how freaking awesome is Sasha D? I am filled with so much Dolgopolove right now. Any man who is man enough to wear an Alice band is a man indeed.
19. I never realised how much I loved Rafa till he went down like that in the quarters.
20. Roger Federer will always be my favourite, no matter what happens in the rest of his career.
21. That said, the rest of his career is going to be pretty damn sparkly.
22. The world unfairly maligns David Ferrer. He is much more awesome than people give him credit for.
23. One good semi final does not a career make. Fernando Verdasco is the anti-Ferrer.
24. I’m not quite ready to jump on the Milos Raonic bandwagon yet. Sorry.
25. I am, however, quite ready to jump on the Anastasija Sevastova bandwagon, because I liked what I saw.
26. And then there’s that Dolgopolove bandwagon, which I have primo seating on.
27. And Richard Berankis, even if he got to the third round via Nalbandian-fail.
28. It was worth the Nalbandian fail to get to see that epic first round match against Hewitt. Best match of the tournament, second overall after Franlana.
29. Lleyton Hewitt is really a very good commentator. Never thought I would say this, but MOAR LLEYTON.
30. Did I mention how much I hate Bruce McAvaney?
31. Did I mention how much I hate Viktor Troicki? Because it is A LOT. I like fiery players. I’m a Safin fan. But he is vile.
32. Not just because he knocked out he of the anime-hair, Nicolas Mahut.
33. A great love of Nicolas Mahut seems to be the one thing all tennis fans can agree on. Fedophiles, Rafanatics... everyone loves Nico.
34. He should have got a wildcard to the Australian Open.
35. Sabine Lisicki should also have got a wildcard.
36. In fact, there should be an official Wildcard For Awesome.
37. Even though it failed, #wildcardformahut was an awesome experience. And it’s going to keep popping up every time he needs one.
38. I just generally think Mahut is the bee’s knees. In case you hadn’t noticed.
39. You know who else is awesome? Andrea Petkovic. There needs to be more people like Petkorazzi.
40. Petkorazzi has had an awesome summer and is due for a big rankings rise. Watch this space.
41. Likewise the tall left-handed space shaped like Petra Kvitova, because she is rocketing up so fast she will leave you in her dust.
42. Sandra Zahlavova’s screech is worse than Michelle Larcher de Brito’s. Yes, I’m saying it.
43. Venus Williams is a freaking WARRIOR.
44. Even if her dress did look like a pie.
45. Ernests Gulbis is not a warrior. I think I’m off the bandwagon.
46. Andrey Golubev was also disappointing, but there’s no way I’m giving up on him.
47. Marin Cilic was surprisingly un-disappointing. Good times.
48. Insert something vaguely complimentary (with conditions) about Bernard Tomic here.
49. Tobias Kamke is going to be so awesome so fast it will BLOW YOUR FREAKING MIND.
50. We are going to miss Justine Henin so, so much.
What would you add to the list?
I liked the result of last year’s tournament better. Any tournament with a big fat RF on it is a tournament I love. But I don’t think I’ve ever had a better time than I did at the Australian Open this year. Good tennis, good wine, Federbitching friends... these are the things that make a real Grand Slam experience. And I was lucky enough to have all three.
And now the countdown to Roland Garros begins, and I cannot wait. Not just because I finish work the Friday before, either...