Wednesday, February 17, 2021

2021 Australian Open

Attending the Australian Open in Melbourne is on my bucket list. I don't really have a formal bucket list, but I want to visit Australia, so why not go and see some Grand Slam tennis while I'm there? And some Australian Rules Football too. That seems like such an awesome sport.

Plus, it's always winter in the US during the Australian Open, and it looks so nice and warm there. And yes, I'm writing this as we're expecting snow in the DC area and most of the country is dealing with cold temperatures, ice, and snow. Some summer weather right now would be fantastic!

I mentioned that I want to visit Australia to The Moose (my 9 year old son) recently, and he is interested in joining me. When I asked if his brothers would want to go too, he replied that they're not old enough. I doubt I'll make it to Australia anytime soon, so I think they'll be an appropriate age in about 20 years when I take my trip.

I have a few thoughts about this year's tournament. Yes, I know that most of you probably aren't interested in the tournament, but I hope you'll find this interesting and maybe a little entertaining.

* Let's start with Serena Williams. I saw her (barely) when I went to Wimbledon in 2000. Over 20 years later, she's in the semi-finals against 3rd seeded Naomi Osaka who already has 3 Grand Slam titles herself at the age of 23. Yes, Osaka wasn't even 3 years old when I saw Serena (barely) play. I'm rooting for Serena. I'd love to see her win another title, especially since she's one of the few people who can pull off having a chair made of Elmos.

* Aslan Karatsev is an Australian Open semifinalist. Never heard of him? You're not alone. He's 27, from Russia, spent much of his childhood in Israel, and this is the first time he's ever made it into the main draw at a Grand Slam event. By reaching the semifinals, he has now made more money this week than in his entire professional career. And for this achievement, he gets to play Novak Djokovic next.

After he won in his quarterfinal match, I tweeted this:

I think it's cool that I'm not that far behind a Grand Slam semi finalist in the amount of Twitter followers that we have. Congrats to Karatsev!

I got one reply.

So you judge people on twitter followers?? What an idiot!!

The person who wrote this has 11 followers. I'm judging him. Anyway, my point was not to disparage Karatsev. It was just to show that he really is (or at least was) unknown. At the time of my tweet, he had about 1,250 Twitter followers. As a comparison, Rafael Nadal has 15.7 million followers, and Roger Federer has 12.7 million followers. Maybe this is a poor comparison since these two are among the best players of all time. 6th seed Alexander Zverev has 87.4K followers. 5th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas (great name) has 210.4K followers. Somewhere in that range seems about normal for a tennis player who reached a Grand Slam semifinal. Not 1,250. Oh, Karatsev now has 2,400 followers as of the time this is posted.

* Karatsev defeated 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the quarterfinals. Dimitrov was clearly hurting and could barely move near the end of the match. This got me thinking. How would I fare in a match against a world-class professional tennis player who could move? I mean, he could still serve though probably at around 60%. Maybe he would have to stay at the same spot when I served. For my credentials, I earned 2 letters from being on my high school tennis team. That may sound pretty good, but in reality, I was a below average player on a below average team. I think the answer is that I would lose 6-0, 6-0 to a professional player who couldn't move. I wouldn't be able to handle his serve or any return shots on my terrible serve. This question did remind me of the entertaining book Andy Roddick Beat Me With a Frying Pan.

* Back to Dimitrov, I appreciate that he continued to play while injured. Meanwhile, 22nd seed Casper Ruud of Norway seemed fine but retired after losing the first two sets in the 4th round. First, based on his name, we have to assume that he's friendly. And perhaps even a ghost. However, it's a Grand Slam event. Unless you can't move, you try to keep trying to play, right? 

* I think the tradition of the match winner signing a camera lens with a Sharpie is dumb. Is there some type of protective film so that there's no damage to the camera? If so, what happens if someone forgets to put on the film?


Amy said...

I like to call Tsitsipas either "Sissypants" or "Stefano DiMera" (Days of our Lives reference).

Is that Andy Roddick book appropriate for kids? Mine might enjoy that...

I much prefer when they sign the giant oversized tennis balls to them signing the camera.

Sean said...

It's been many years since I read the "Andy Roddick" book, so I think it would be okay for kids, but I'm not 100% sure. The author has a website if you want to try to contact him. (

Signing giant tennis balls is definitely fun!