If you had the opportunity to watch this years Women’s and Men’s Final at the Australian Open, you may have witnessed probably the most historically significant Grand Slam event ever!
Venus and Serena and their male counterparts, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, reprised their rivalries in their championship matches to the delightful surprise of many. Both staging incredible come-backs from an injury-plagued year. Federer’s win confirms the fact that thirty-five is not too old to still be at the top of your game. Venus (36) and Serena (35) will no doubt agree! Venus and Serena, arguably the best sister act in the world and each other’s nemesis, last met in a Grand Slam Final in 2009. This match was even more eagerly awaited than that one due to the number of years between them.
The Championship finals culminated in two weeks of outstanding matches, complete with major upsets. And it all started with the U.S. showcasing one of the largest contingents of players to compete in a Grand Slam event.
While the United States may never again have as many top competitors as it had in the 1970’s when most of the major singles draw players were American, we can finally be optimistic that the future of American tennis is bright with major talent. We had more American men (14) competing in singles than any other nation. The women also had a strong contingent with 18 representatives. The number would have been higher if Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and CiCi Bellis had not been sidelined with injuries.
While Serena harbored the desire to secure the title of the best female tennis player ever to play the game by winning her 23rd Grand Slam title, and making history in the process, there were a record number of much younger American players who qualified to give her a run. Let’s take a look at them: Julia Boserup made it in as a Qualifier; Kayla Day, the youngest player at 17 years old, was a Wildcard entry; Madison Brengle, Christina McHale, and Shelby Rogers are rising stars. Jennifer Brady, Nicole Gibbs and Alison Riske made it to the third round, and CoCo Vandeweghe made it all the way to the semifinals for the first time. Madison, Sloane and CiCi have already shown signs of genius so we have much to look forward to.
But let’s not forget the amazing feat that Venus and Serena accomplished. Venus, at the age of 36, was the oldest woman to compete in a Grand Slam Finals and shows no signs of slowing down. Her little sister, is poised to be the greatest tennis player ever and she, too, appears to be unstoppable. If that’s the case, we have a great year of tennis ahead…and beyond!