We’re late on our Aussie final commentary, but there’s almost not much to say (which sounds ridiculous coming from me since I always have plenty to say).
Still, Novak outlasted the up-and-comer who’d probably shot his load getting to the final. Remember, in this era of THE THREE GREATEST PLAYERS TO EVER PLAY, you’ll have to beat two of them, most likely. So, enjoy the runner-up hardware, cherish those memories and don’t let anyone see you curse or cry. Such behavior could get you in trouble with one of the despotic fanbases.
The quotes from Thiem afterwards were just sad. He practically thanks the Big 3 for the chance to grace the same stage, hit the same ball, win a couple of sets, at best.
The match went five, there were changes in momentum, different stages of the drama one could break-down, analyze, etc.
At the same time, this is completely redundant. I don’t see much difference between the Nadal win over Medvedev at the USO and the Djoker win last Sunday in Melbourne. These non-Big 3 or up-and-comers put forth a good effort, made a valiant case to be crowned champ, but one could see the writing on the wall pretty clearly, in that same handwriting, especially as this pertains to Nadal and Djokovic.
Thiem has definitely emerged as a multi-surface threat (slow hard courts, of course); Medvedev looks good and Tsitsipas has our and the top of the sport’s attention, as well. Seems only a matter of time before one of these guys has enough in the tank to get to the finish line in one of these big matches on one of these big stages, to hoist the giant hardware.
Perhaps you can tell this is just a flat narrative at this point (in this post, at least).
Congratulations, Novak? Of course. Yay. He’s amazing, closing-in on his two bros, Rafa and Roger and their 19 and 20 majors.
I am not trying to sound jaded or disrespectful or whatever you want to call it. I said the same kind of thing after the 2019 U.S. Open. A Thiem win in Melbourne would have been better for the sport (just as a Medvedev win would have in NYC). We need these younger players do something. But, and this is certainly the most popular argument, these greats are simply too good when it counts, the stuff of legend, GOAT, so charming, culturally transcend, angelic blah blah blah.
I’m still a bit worried (this month at least) about the OHBH, the classiest and most elegant shot in tennis. Thiem’s BH was awful last Sunday from the word GO. Sure he found that DTL shot here and there, but that was a tell-tale that this match was pretty much over early-on.
He troubled Novak, for sure. Thiem’s powerful tennis is dangerous, of course. But that serve of his was off, too — I don’t even need numbers: my memory of that match is Thiem hitting another second serve. And another one.
Even though the atmosphere was different, this played a bit like the 2019 WB final. Novak was in trouble in this match, but he really wasn’t. He looked out of sorts in the 2nd and 3rd sets, but you shouldn’t ever have thought that Thiem had this match on his racquet or in his jurisdiction.
With Novak serving at 1-1 in the fourth, down 2 sets to 1, and facing a break point, I might have sat-up in my seat had Dominic converted that to serve 2-1 and a chance to grab an advantage and get a good look at the finish-line.
But that doesn’t happen, against Novak. Had Thiem broken there, Djokovic would have had plenty of opportunity to break-back. Again, this match, I would say primarily on the form Thiem had that night, seemed a huge reach for the Austrian. The BH and the serve were off, as well as that FH that beat Nadal (and others) into submission.
Like the Superbowl later that night, the level in this Australian Open final didn’t exceed any expectations. Thiem played that card, I’m afraid, in the QF and even needed a little extra mustard to get through the SF, as well.
A bit of a yawner, I’m afraid.
Thiem needed to win that in four. My pick of Novak in four with a side bet of Thiem in five rang a bit confused. I should have said Novak in five though I like Thiem, possibly, in four.
See. No real surprises in this 2020 Aussie Open final, nothing really to reflect too much on — and yet I did have something to say. 😀
Sorry if the enthusiasm seems thin.
We have a loaded 2020 season to look forward to, but a fairly typical and redundant start to the year. Which is fine, I guess. Novak’s mental strength and physical fluidity and elegance are a pleasure to watch. Again and again. I guess.
One post down.
Next: my take on Federer, looking back at Melbourne.
Then: my Kobe eulogy.
Thanks, as always, for reading.