Australian OpenGrand Slams

Key Takeaways From The Australian Open So Far

A look at what we can glean from the first grand slam of the year, for the short and longer-term.

As we reach the end of the Australian Open’s first week, there are some signs of what’s to come in the near and distant future. Now that collectively, players have some substantial experience of the 2022 season, and with a few tournaments under their belts, what does the development of the ATP tour look like?

The first is that Daniil Medvedev leads the field. While he has yet to take the number 1 ranking, Medvedev has proved dominant so far in his singles efforts. After an initial loss to Ugo Humbert in the round-robin stage of the ATP Cup, he beat Alex de Minaur, Matteo Berrettini and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

At the Australian Open, he achieved bruising straight-set victories over Henri Laaksonen and Botic van de Zandschulp. Only against Nick Kyrgios in the third round has Medvedev dropped a set.

Medvedev’s unorthodox takeback (which is extremely short) make his groundstroke reactions quick and efficient, helping remove time from his opponents. Especially on hard courts, his flat style of hitting makes for penetrative shots that keep low and skid through the court, meaning even regular rally balls are difficult to return. This is particularly the case for players who are used to trading looping topspin shots.

He is keen to go for winners on his serve, with aces down the “T” and out-wide. Medvedev also has an impressive reach, which aids court coverage under challenging situations, chasing down a ball across the baseline or running towards the net. He also likes to play with variation, with drop shots, spin and the occasional improvised shot that catches opponents by surprise.

Combined with the steady increase in consistency over the years since turning pro in 2014, Medvedev has matured into one of the deadliest players to face on tour. He is undoubtedly the favourite to win the Open this year, adding a second grand slam to his tally.

The second point to note is that the “new three” of Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas form a group of players gradually replacing the big three. The Greek is also playing well in Australia.

In his most recent match against Benoit Paire, Tsitsipas’s return of service appears to have substantially improved, hitting close to his opponent’s feet and going for winners early on in the rally. Risky and previously unreliable shots now seem more consistent, where acute angles from his one-handed backhand or inside-in forehand winners are hitting their mark.

Tsitsipas also looks more mentally settled at grand slam events, with no hesitation to close out a point and taking half-volleys at the baseline with little error.

For years, commentators and analysts were looking for a moment that meant the end to the hegemony of the big three. Perhaps something akin to Roger Federer’s toppling of Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001 was expected as a changing of the guard moment.

By now, it is clear that this has not occurred. Instead of a sudden alteration in dominance, tennis is experiencing a slow transition, where younger talents of Medvedev, Zverev and Tsitsipas are now emerging in key grand slam matches.

Nadal remains a tour de force of the game, still deep into the Australian Open draw, and still with a significant chance of winning the tournament. Conspicuous by his absence, Djokovic would have defended his title with all his talent and consistency.

Vaccine and border politics have stopped Djokovic from competing here in Melbourne, not a relative decline in his world-class game.

However, the new three have all made appearances in grand slam finals. The Russian beat Djokovic in the 2021 US Open final, and Tsitsipas took Djokovic to five sets in the Roland Garros final last year.

Combined with their growing share of career titles (Medvedev 13; Zverev 19; Tsitsipas 7) and hold of the number 2, 3 and 4 rankings, this year will likely see the further defeat of the big three. 

Aside from the upper-echelons of the game, the third point is that success appears divided between the very young and tour veterans.

The staying-power of Marin Čilić is especially relevant, given that his victory over Andrey Rublev makes him the seventh active player to reach the fourth round of a grand slam 25 times, alongside Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Wawrinka. Gaël Monfils has already been mentioned as another experienced hand continuing to be a prominent force on tour.

On the other end of the age range, Jannik Sinner is making huge gains year on year. Sinner has enjoyed a meteoric rise, from being ranked outside the top 100 at the start of 2019 to being ranked inside the top 50 in 2020, and now holds a number 10 ranking at the Australian Open.

A tall player with long arms and legs moves exceptionally well and remains physically agile when changing direction. Booming groundstrokes and remarkable consistency in his backhand mean he has excelled at clay and hard court tournaments, winning the most recent of his five titles at the 2021 Antwerp Masters. 

His matches in Australia have shown his mature disposition on the court, celebrating when the occasion demands but rarely showing signs of mental distress or anger at rough patches in performance.

During the third round against Japan’s Taro Daniel, Sinner’s calm demeanour allowed him to use his powerful groundstrokes but not overshoot or go for too much. This lethal combination of ball speed and cognitive control has preserved Sinner’s chances of running deep into a grand slam and portends to more considerable success in the future.

Tennis is in slow flux. At the Australian Open, Medvedev, not Djokovic, has taken centre-stage. The Russian seems to be riding high on a string of well-executed grand slam matches following his US Open victory. 

While the big three still make appearances at majors, their participation in crucial matches is beginning to be phased out by the new three. While a few veterans of the tour can make tough opponents, younger talents like Sinner pave the way for upcoming hopes of significant victory.

What trends can you spot at the Australian Open? Can Medvedev win a slam down-under? And how prominently will the big three feature this year? Let me know in the comments.

Alex Nulliah

My name is Alex Nulliah and I am a tennis writer from Bath. I enjoy writing about tennis, International Relations and anything else which takes my interest. At Exeter University I took a BA in History and an MA in Applied Security Strategy. I love playing tennis.

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86 Comments

  1. But why not something about the Shapo-Zverev, too? Shapo is a great talent as well as the others, but maybe not as consistent so far, – but could have a turning point some time…?
    Medvedev (or Nadal) I feel has the best chance this time. A pleasure to view the highlights with M and the artistically entertaining talent Kyrgios. This run-around point K won was monumental

  2. Nice one Alex!!!

    I definitely miss Roger, but the tournament has been good so far, Zverev loosing to Shapo took me by surprise, I hope he does well against Rafa. Daniil seems to be the favorite by a mile though.

    #GoRoger

    1. I hope too on Shapo. He’s unpredictable, both in a good and a little less good way…A pity those two had to meet that early. As with Medvedev and Kyrgios

  3. I am not watching any of the Australian Open, given they should no longer be able to host a Grand Slam, but still seeing the results. Surprised Zverev went down so tamely, some of his slam performances are puzzling, it’s like Best of 5 is a complete game-changer for him. 19 career titles.

    1. I think it is – and possibly also for some of the other younger players. After all, they don’t get many chances to play tough Bo5 (and learn to go with the ebb and flow of them) these days, and I’m sure that’s a contributing factor in the failure of many of them to win through when it matters. Tsitsipas at RG last year is a case in point, I think. I also think that’s a contributing factor in the continuing success of the Big 3 – Nadal and Djokovic, anyway. I have wondered many times over the years how many slam titles Zverev will end up with – and I’m still not convinced it won’t be zero. It oughtn’t to be, but there you go.

      Thanks, Alex.

    2. I can’t agree with you Jonathan re the Australian Open. The organisers tried to find a way for Djokovic to play despite being given clear warnings from the govt that there would be no exceptions. The Djoker Alain tried to get around the system but failed. It was a complete schmozzle and did was not a good look.
      But there AO is a wonderful tournament. The facilities are amazing and get better year by year. The atmosphere is always relaxed and happy. I am sure the players wouldn’t agree with you as they love coming here. It is bad luck for Djokovic that he isn’t here but he could have got vaccinated like all the other players who wanted to come. If he sticks to his guns he may not be able to play in a Grand Slam again and he will never break the records he craves. Which would be a good thing for all we Roger fans.

      1. Wrong, he had a valid exemption and entered Australia legally.

        The level of facilities makes zero difference on my opinion here. It is not a question of how good the courts etc are.

        “But he could have got vaccinated like all the other players who wanted to come.”

        Can you honestly read that and think it sounds normal? Australia is FUBAR and their citizens better wake up sooner rather than later.

      2. Worse than wrong, Jonathan. You know, where the truth is and you lie. With legal you mean, everything looked good on paper? You don’t know, there was a deal between Djoker, Tiley and Victoria government, to try, maybe the cheat is not disclosed? This means “legal” for you?
        As to positive Covid on 16th of December and Djoker’s behavior after it must be obvious for every thinking creature, it was not just a hand of God, but primitive cheat. Either he tested + and was than behaving completely fake. Or he didn’t test positive, but the result was manipulated. Where on Earth the President of the country (Serbia) confirms publicly, your Covid test was not manipulated? Serbia is lost nation and not having any significance in the world, made Djoker it’s national hero and how nationalist Serbs are, well … you should know.
        So it was a dirty deal between Djoker, Tiley and Victoria government and the drive was the money. Then Djoker was so cheeky (and stupid) to publish (after talking over half a year, his private medical situation is none of business for the world), to publish him smiling on SM with the comment, he just got special exemption and is just flying Australia. Arrogance, stupidity or both?
        He didn’t give the Feds in Australia the chance for Feds to give him a wink, because everybody knew what’s going on and both almost 100% vaccinated peers and Australian public were getting angry, so Feds have no choice. That’s how you shot into your feet because of being rich celebrity from a lost but “proud” nation. Proud of what? Of having some some good athletes and million of nationalist idiots?
        Djoker could have got vaccinated or skip the tournament. As he will have to do all over the world all 2022. No matter what you think about vaccines, freedoms of choice (=disrespecting freedom of choice of others). Australia is not just waiting for your recommendation. Do what’s your choice, accept consequences and be happy. And let others do the same. Your words about “freedom of choice” are too close to the “philosophy” of certain idiot named Farage. Go and support Farage publicly in UK and you will see, where you will land.
        Your freedom of choice ends where the freedom of choice of others ends. Is this so hard to understand? Of course you may ask Bezos or Musk to send you to Mars or the Moon and you will see, how your freedom of choice will look like.

      3. Your comment is full of speculation, wild accusations, false equivalences, strawman arguments and ad hominem garbage. It’s also denigrating an entire nation.

        The Australian government conceded that Djokovic entered the country legally and had a valid exemption. FACT. This is indisputable, whether you think his PCR was fake, his behaviour was poor or it was a dirty deal, is irrelevant. He was removed from Australia due to having the wrong opinions. That’s it. Simple.

        Australia has little freedom of choice left. By removing Djokovic on these grounds, it sets the precedent to block travellers with undesirable political views who pose no real risk to the community.

        How people cannot see that empowering governments to deport people or deny them the right to earn a livelihood due to their political opinions is extremely dangerous is unbelievable. But hey the locker room and facilities are really nice this year!

      4. Speculation is your specialty, but on the other area.
        You call speculation, what is logical thinking, but you never heard of.
        Before you talk about “denigrating nations” read your own messages about Australia and about the new “nations” of vaccinated. You can be sure, nobody feels offended because the world is not waiting for a savior and if it is, they don’t (yet) know, it’s you.
        You call FACTS things, you have no evidence of. It’s simply another speculation and manipulation. FACT is, Djokovic entered Australia (not really – he first entered detention hotel). That he allegedly has a valid visa is not FACT – it’s your manipulation. Before it was manipulation from Djoker, Tiley & Co. The visa was manipulated to look like it was legal. 2 “independent” medical panels (paid by Tiley), breaking rules (you like to think, rules and law is not the same – right, your rules are not a low, ATP rules are low (on court) and rules set by government are laws). Or you miss the meaning of the word.
        “Valid exemption” – not FACT but FAKE. The exemption was manipulated and it’s getting boring to repeat, Tiley was informed many times by Feds, Covid recovery is NOT A VALID” reason to get exemption (even if it was not manipulated). This is of course indisputable – just in the opposite direction than your understanding.
        Djoker was not removed for having wrong opinions. Hitler was not removed because of his wrong opinions about vegetarianism or. Djoker is allowed to have any opinion on any place on Earth. He was smart enough to not talk too much about his opinions. But somehow the whole world knows and he has written a book and his wife has published something on her blog. And Djoker is not you or me and has millions of followers.
        And in politics there is something they call “diplomacy” (you may not like diplomacy and prefer cannons). The reasons of the final revoking of the visa were obviously diplomacy. The real reasons was the whole fake made by Djoker, Tiley and Co. after it was shown the world by media. Djoker could have been accused of lying in the visa paperwork, which is FACT (even confirmed by Djoker, using diplomatically the wording “administrative mistake” for something every regular people would be sent back home or land in jail). Tiley and probably some high officials from Victoria government would have big troubles and Feds decided to avoid it. It’s obvious for someone who can read with comprehension.
        Naive kid Kyrgios urged Australia “to do better” in Djoker affair. I can only repeat – do better, because you can. But you turned fanatic and lost your mirror. You can’t even see your face in the mirror of your other users – who (according to you) are all idiots, but you call it diplomaticfally “Wiki said? Come on.” Or you quote the other and say “Can you honestly read that and think it sounds normal?” Come on, you would be good in multimarketing.

      5. Again, all speculation with plenty of ad hominem thrown in.

        The government confirmed he entered the country legally, and had a valid exemption. This is a fact. It isn’t my interpretation or speculation. It’s the opinion of the Australian government. Alex Hawke conceded Djokovic entered Australia with a valid medical exemption.

        Whether it’s ‘diplomacy’ as you put it, is irrelevant. It sets a dangerous precedent – you can be removed from a country due to having the wrong opinions that have no bearing on anyone else.

      6. Lie and manipulation continues.
        Djoker’s visa was first cancelled and the valid reason was, he could not prove the validity of his exemption. FedCourt didn’t question the reason of revoking but procedural errors of the Border Force. Should the BF have been orderly, Djokovic would be sent back home with the same plane. Fault of BF. But only procedural one. Not about the grounds of the exemption, which was evidently NOT VALID.
        “Legally” and “with valid exemption” is not the same. His visa was wrong and was cancelled according to Australian laws/rules. He entered Australia legally only because of BF’s procedural error, which was corrected by FedCourt by revoking the cancellation (because of procedural error, not a valid exemption).
        I can’t tell more so I stop this thread.
        Back again to “denigrating the entire nation”. You may not know much about Serbian nation because in times Serbians were ruling on Balkan (because of certain Josip Broz Tito – you need to upgrade your knowledge in history), you was not yet born and I can hardly imagine you studying history books about the region. To be somehow short – when USSR ended it’s life, Balkan wars were started and Serbians were trying in a bloody way to behave their reign over Balkan. Yugoslavia was then divided according to ethnic limits from older times and lost it’s position on Balkan. So to say they are a lost nation is not offensive, it’s FACT. Somehow Serbs didn’t produce any big name in culture or science so they needed a new national hero. Unfortunately they were Milosevic and Karadzic (maybe you heard these names before?) I have nothing personally again Serbs and I somehow feel sorry for them. But FACT is FACT. Like RULES are RULES. Try to live without rules. You will end banned from everywhere. That’s what Djoker is trying to do. If he stays for his beliefs, he should say the West farewell and live happily in Serbia (if Marbella or Monte Carlo are Serbia).

      7. Few words more (because you miss the history) about denigrating entire nations.
        Maybe you don’t know, but Yugoslavia was dismantled by NATO (is this not a Western alliance?), partly via bombarding. So I understand Djoker’s anti-tern sentiment better than you being a man of the West (Poland was dismantled 3 times so we have lost our roots for ages so maybe I have genes letting me feel better similar stories). Djokovic somehow “shows” the West, what a proud and hard nation Serbs are. Not nice for the 99% Western crowds, but quite easy to understand. Still he was not forced to be hero on a field dominated by the West.
        I’m rather all on his side re his national pride a.s.o.). Anti-vax, healing by praying and similar don’t belong there. Ask Serbian President (4x jabbed) or Serbian PM. Or more than 50% vaccinated Serbs.

      8. You need to try to stay on topic. We are not interested in a Serbian history lesson or how knowledgeable you are about the Balkans.

        The question is did the government acknowledge that he entered Australia legally with a legal visa? The answer is yes.

        Did the Victorian government grant Djokovic an exemption? The answer is yes.

        Did a judge rule he had the right to stay? The answer is yes.

        He was deported, not for breaking any law but for his alleged views on vaccination. It’s political and an abuse of power.

        So they either should not have let him in, in the first place, or he should have played.

      9. I’m trying to stay on topic.
        We don’t speak the same language (and I don’t mean my poor English and your zero Polish). It’s going to be boring. You had just the last word and I’m off.

      10. PRF January 27, 2022 at 11:02 am – on this one It accords with the information I have, and I agree on your “speculation”.

  4. Federer is number one to me. My next new favorite is Carlos Alcaraz. I love his humility and class. Plus he is a phenom, far superior to his same aged peers.

    1. There are really some youngsters now worth following, and Alcaraz is certainly significant. But for this major, he’s out unfortunately

  5. Sinner looks like a tall boy and I was always quite sure, he is at least 193, but … he is only 188 cm, so rather classic height. He only looks so tall because of being slim and having visually long legs and arms.
    Calm temper is his strength. Never looks angry or scared or overly focused.
    Alcaraz is a beast. Physically 2xNadal. Hard to find 18 years old with such body build. Maybe natural, maybe with too much of artificial support. He believes, his game is closer to Federer than to other top players. It’s how he feels, I don’t see it.
    The “new” big3 are just a bit worn out and look sometimes old.
    Not sure, if Medvedev will not find dangerous foes soon – IMO it’s only matter of good tactics. His biggest strength is for me the feeling of the game and ability to accelerate shots by quite weird moves. Not sure, if this will not end with injuries.
    It’s quite natural, that nobody drops a word about Thiem. But Thiem (if and when he regains his top performance) must be taken into account in bigxxx considerations. The French will tell, if he can (and wants to) get back to his top performance.
    Shapo’s consistency is a nightmare. He plays consistently only when the opponent from Top10 has bad day in the office. His lefty one-hander is beautiful but exposes all his weaknesses when he cannot finish points quickly. It’s like Nadal’s forehand, but Nadal has no weak points and his game is complete.
    Djokovic is a mental strongman but will have hard time if still unjabbed. Maybe he decides to adapt to quarantines and bubbles for unvaccinated (should have done this for AO – was the only clean solution and Tiley would have given him some comfortable quarantine with ability to train normally. Being (yet) no. 1 and natural leader in the field does not help him much with current and expected (at least in 2022) covid rules. Can also see him calling it a career and do anything else.

    1. About Alcaraz, there is something to be said about his forehand technique which is actually a mix of Federer and Nadal (looks more like fed when he flattens it out and more like Nadal on clay), his backhand is eerily similar to Djokovic’s and as wilander said he has flawless technique and can hit it cross court all day. But I think he is more aggressive than Djokovic off that wing and his DTL backhand is a beautiful shot too. I love the way he attacks the ball, but yes I partially agree with you that he is not Federer because he doesn’t yet have Rogers spot serving capability which was already incredible at 19, but he has a huge serve and once he improves his spot serving ability, watch out. His game is incredibly complete already, and I love his mentality. But I hope stays healthy so fingers crossed. As ferrero said, clay is actually not his favorite surface and I think he will be a Much better hard court player, he has all the weapons for grass but I think his footwork needs time there.

      1. Alcaraz should think about a career in weight lifting or boxing or shot put. Just watching his body and face on the photo on ATP website. His muscles are bigger than Nadal’s. His face is older than Federer’s. How many anabolica did he need to develop such body build at 18? In a year or two his bones will no more be able to carry such a muscle mass. It’s crazy!
        Technique? He can (yet) move because of age. Hand skills? Comparing to Federer or Nadal is a big misunderstanding. The kid may believe he has something from both, so we are going to get a Fedal in one person, hahaha. I’m sorry for the boy.

  6. Yes, without Fed it will never be the same but still some good tennis. Hoping Shapo beats Nadal and Felix doing well too.

  7. Hello Alex,
    I am not too sure why you have missed out two of the most improved young players from Canada.
    F. Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov. These two won the ATP Tournament for Canada.
    Dennis knocked off Alexander Zverev last night at the Australian open in three straight sets and Felix may be able to get by Cilic tonight .
    Let’s be fair in our commentaries. Thank you

    1. Shapo had luck to play Zverev in his worst form since a year (who knows why). Felix is of course a tower of consistence compared with Shapo and has just beaten Cilic, which was to be expected. As to the gameÄs beauty I prefer Shapo but Felix will reach more. Still both not really tested – they will in QF – one against Nadal and another against Medvedev. In both cases a number too high. But this is not a critique. Both Canadians are still very young and have chances to get to the very top, where for now they are not.
      Not sure if you find my comment “fair” 😉 I’m Pole and my fave is Thiem, not Hurkacz. I’m game-oriented, not nation-oriented. BTW – while Thiem is Austrian amd Hurkacz Pole since generations, Shapo and Felix don’t look like native Canadians 😉 Canada is 100% importer in tennis, like many others (including Australia). If you are fan of Shapo or Felix, you better forget, you are Canadian (aren’t you?) and you will have no problem with nation-oriented “fairness” (which not exist).

  8. Kind of paradox but Big3 (could have been 4, 5 or 6 – Murray, Delpo, Wawrinka) have put a brake to development of younger generations, not giving them chances to win big titles. Nothing to blame them, but I believe, that we should not look for another Big-something emerging. More diversity, also in winning bit titles would maybe mean a broader group of elite player, different game styles, with everyone with top skills able to win big titles. Would be more exciting. I hope it goes this direction – no more small group to dominate over decades. Even the highest level tennis starts to be boring if you only see the same faces and game styles in all finals of big tournaments. Now everybody trying to follow one of the Big3 instead of developing more individual game style, is not good for tennis. I will not cry when Big3 call it careers. They have delivered enough and deserved to have some normal life after tennis. And take the brake away and allow upcomers to stop to look if they are neo-federers. neo-nadals or neo-djokers. There is more in tennis, I think.

    1. I quite agree with you, PRF. I know I’d miss Federer (like crazy), but I was thinking over Christmas that I wouldn’t have been sorry if all 3 had called it a day. The sport needs more variety.

      1. Of course they are still a big challenge and source to learn skills for new generations. But this has also a negative effect. Like the tennis world consisted of Big3 and The Rest. So everyone not being Big3 has no personality and is advised to follow them as unachievable patterns. Then you see lot of quite well skilled guys, playing the same. If you do something individual, you must be crazy. But how good it’s to watch Kyrgios, Dustin Brown or Dolgopolov. Guys with personality not fitting into the white-black world of Gib3-TheRest.
        Of course many will miss Federer, others Rafa or Djoker. But they have locked themselves too in the same scheme. Everyone of them telling every day, they would be never so good, if not having such rivals. Maybe true, but not inspiring. And tennis should be creative and inspiring. That’s why we watch just tennis and not car races or swimming or chess 😉
        Let’s be honest – you can’t watch even Federer 4 hours every day. It starts to be boring, because even with his variety there are limits and sometimes I prefer to watch Federer playing exhibition, where he can play “kyrgios-like”, trying everything he can or what just comes to mind.

  9. Federer is of course the one and only. But I agree, i might secundo watch players as Kyrgios, Dustin Brown, Monfils, Dolgopolov, and a few others (Shapo). Hopefully Musetti in some time to come. Players with integrity and creativity and unpredictability. But they don’t seem to last….or be consistent – hopefully I’m wrong about that

    1. “One and only” does not mean, you can watch him (without the excitement about the result, if it’s competition) too long. Moreover, you can’t watch live if the win is not 100% guaranteed.
      Another thing is, if and whom to watch, when Federer is temporarily or finally not available live). After watching for so long only him, you will have definitely the big question – to watch or not to watch (others). I feel quite the same about Thiem, since I’m following him with a great intensity. I think, this is normal. Every player retires some day and most of fans are player-bound and stop to watch, if their hero stopped to play.
      Or you find someone new to follow. You will now your decision first after it happens.
      Monfils is still there but since Bresnik has helped him to win more, he is no more the entertainer he was all his life. Would be nice to see him at least reaching the final at AO. He learned a lot with Bresnik and is using his athleticism and feeling rather to win matches than to deliver fun. But is still funny to watch. I’m cheering for him so long he survives. And then – I’m no more interested in watching, only reading results.

      1. Well, a better way to put it, Federer is my number one in tennis, and will probably stay so. – Monfils lost i 5 😢. So now are only results to watch. But maybe Nadal will give a rather good fight…? Not that I cheer on him this time

  10. Shapovalov has a point. Nadal wasn’t ready to receive over and over again and didn’t get a time violation. The momentum shifted after that long break after the 4th set. Things could have been different. Who knows. A player has to be able to block all that out playing Nadal. Not easy, so many balls to juggle as it is.. Rooting for Medvedev.

    1. Every loser have some point. Shapo was not playing nadal first time. And many others have played him a lot, including Federer. If you lose to Djoker, you may have a point about too many MTO’s, feigning injuries a.s.o. Thiem lost AO final to Djoker and was not complaining about such tricks. They are allowed. No way to check, if MTO was necessary. Shapo should learn instead of claim. Must not to the same to others bus must learn to deal with such things. Re Nadal he could learn from Thiem, who has played Nadal a lot and never complained. If you are mentally weak, better play chess 😉
      BTW – Bernardes is one of best umpires in tennis and is not known to be favorable to Nadal – just the opposite. It’s just the price you need to pay for learning and accept the lesson. Yeah – “who knows” hangs over the court even when a top player plays an outsider. Every player has some antics, which can be nerving for opponents. Complaining during the match and staying focused – well, you need to be McEnroe, Kyrgios or Medvedev. Or you lose because you get out of focus – no need for the opponent to distract you, if you do it yourself.. What’s now the point of Felix?

  11. Yes, Felix played a good match. I bet he learned a lot from the experience. At this point, anyone but Nadal please. I agree with you Jonathan about the way the Australian gov’t handled it.
    I see Djokovic is in the Dubai draw. Looks like a good line-up.

      1. Well, maybe not Djokovic, but Serbian President “on his behalf”. This was Djokovic’s mantra over the whole story. Djokovic is of course worth more for Serbia than the President. Given he is (acc. to his own public declaration, President’s health is not private ;)) 3x or 4x jabbed, his merits for No-Vax Liberty Movement are less than zero. But, who knows? Maybe the President was jabbed with s

      2. If the last 2 years were ever about public health, I would be critical. But anyone with half a brain knows the PCR is a useless test and mass testing is complete nonsense, so faking one is almost a public duty.

        Anyway, need confirmation, BBC are a bunch of jokers. If only they had looked into Jimmy Savile as heavily as this test.

    1. Be interesting if more comes out about that or if it gets confirmed.

      I wonder if the BBC is looking into which players are playing as vaccinated without taking one? 🙂 Just speculation…

    2. Also if proven, don’t the ATP have a rule that would make this a 3 year ban?

      Would be career over basically.

      I do find it quite sickening that the BBC (who are part of the trusted news initiative which explains why) have spent more time investigating this than alll the malpractice and malfeasance of the last 2 years. A joke of an organisation.

  12. Now John McEnroe, a big supporter of Djoker, especially in the AO story, is calling for a closer investigation on the BBC’s revelation. Like we all, he doesn’t know facts, only different reports and statements.
    JME may not be able to use logic and it’s not his job. But anyone can.
    Here’s another logical conclusion of what we have heard from different parts of the process.
    The question marks about dates and data for alleged positive testing came early, at 11th of January and were based on the same source – a German research group called Zerforschung, then results published by DER SPIEGEL (probably another “paid by Pfizer”, but actually renowned and serious German weekly). then investigated further by Ben Rithenberg from NYT (another paid by Pfizer?). And then the Serbian PM, Ana Brnabic, commented publicly, that in case Djokovic tested positive on 16th December and didn’t isolate (we know from enough different sources, he wasn’t), he would have broken Serbian Covid rules and would be punished by Serbian authorities. But nothing like this happened and Serbian authorities have closed mouths since. Serbian authorities are not Australian, so we may assume, if Djokovoc is rather feted as a national hero than being punished for breaking Serbian Covid rules, it makes the probability higher, that he didn’t test positive at all and the only question remains, who has manipulated the Serbian Covid database. The question “what for” would be stupid, because it’s obvious – to give Djoker ground for exemption (even if it actually was clearly not on the list of events entitling for such exemption).
    So the more real assumption would be – Djoker didn’t actually test positive and his meetings after the test were legal (in this aspect). Everything gets now very simple and logical. Djokovic needed 2 different results of the same test – the positive for Australia plans, the negative for the local plans in Serbia.
    Now only the scapegoat is needed, who did the manipulation “on behalf” of Djokovic or … just for fun. This would of course a crime (in Serbia) and would destroy all Djoker’s arguments used to go and stay in Australia to play AO. I agree with JME. Djokovic is rather smart guy, so my bet is: Djoker first decided to skip AO. Then Tiley urged him to come and offered the playbook – the only thing, Tiley could not deliver, was the Covid+ test. No need to speculate how it was done because Djokovic has a lot of power in Serbia to do things other would not dare. And maybe the whole story would have an happy-end, if not a small error in Djokovic’s role in the playbook. He published in Social Media his own photo with a statement about getting exemption and just flying Australia. Which made the alleged secret “Djoker-Tiley” deal public. Before Tiley was saying many times like “if Djokovic is here by the time required to play AO”, it will mean, he is either vaccinated or has exemption and nobody will push him to tell it publicly”. Maybe the deal was even unofficially sealed by Australian Federal Government, but Djoker gave them no chance to play, they don’t know the story and repeat Tiley’s mantra.
    Maybe we will hear more, if media still interested. Or we must “close the case” and see, where Djokovic would be able to play over 2022 season. For sure not in all places he would like. But this is another story, not yet started.

    1. The problem with the BBC article is that Serbian Health authorities have already under affidavit provided evidence that confirmed the tests were authentic. We need to actually confirm the inconsistencies from a primary source.

      After all, isn’t the guy that the BBC are using as their source here, the guy who tried to bribe a woman to try and get Djoker to cheat on his wife??

      I also don’t like the fact that Novak’s private medical/travel information was released to the whole world to download and play with.

      1. The problem with you is you don’t understand or deliberately manipulate the meaning of the affidavit (https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/95050/Affidavit-of-Novak-Djokovic-sworn-on-10-January-2022.pdf) and of the BBC “investigation”.
        Serbian Health authorities didn’t provide anything to Australian Federal Court and were never a party in the proceeding, The affidavit was delivered by Djokovic and enclosed to it were 2 copies of PCR test certificates, one positive and another negative.
        Who was swearing for authenticity of these documents was Djokovic and it’s reasonable to assume, Djokovic is no way representing any Serbian Health authority. Period.
        The first doubt emerged after these documents incl. QR codes were published and everybody could read them and get to the Serbian databank holding these certificates.
        The first issue was, Ben Rothenberg has disclosed, reading the same QR within and hour, the same certificate with the same number showed first negative, then after 1 hour positive result. This was so far not explained by any Serbian authority.
        BBC (or maybe someone else before – maybe the German group Zerforschung with a publication in DER SPIEGEL) have found out, that the number of the positive test was higher than the number of the negative test. And tried to find out, if this has some meaning or the numbers must not represent timely sequence. So they checked other Serbian certificates and came to the conclusion, the numbers are growing with the time, which is reasonable if they are provided by a centralized system (probably the same applies to any country, because such numbers are not provided by laboratories – they must be unique, so they are provided by the centralized system after any laboratory delivers test results to this system.
        Maybe Serbian system works differently (and BBC have taken this into account) but once the matter went public (which was unavoidable because of the rules of court proceedings), it’s up to Serbian Health authorities to explain and they didn’t drop a word. In such situations either you give the explanation instantly or it stinks, which would be valid reason to keep silent.
        Maybe Serbia thinks, it’s none of the business of international media and they don’t need to explain. But this may leave the story stinking every day more. Is this good for Djokovic and Serbia? (yes, in this order – Djokovic is known in every corner of the world, while you easily find people around the globe, not knowing what is Serbia)
        In my understanding it’s just Western standard of dealing with public information and media and so long no explanation comes from Serbian authorities, the world will think, the Djoker story stinks. And international media will not stop their interest in Djokovic. Like every (especially prominent) pro athlete he is a public person and some information cannot be held private. Just like for politicians. Don’t want your personal data to be released to the public, stay private, never go to courts (of law) and even then some of your data may be not so private as you would want. It was Djokovic who first declared publicly he got an exemption even if he was saying since half a year, he will not tell such things to the public. But this time he meant it was in his interest. He was wrong. Just with this statement the whole story started.

      2. Thanks PRF for the link, which I skimmed more or less carefully. As I understand it, It clearly says in app. A that only finished vaccination or doctor’s declaire that you are unable to receive vacc because of health can give you entrance. A PCR test of being positive covid some recent time can not pass as finished vaccine or unableness to receive vaccine. – Well they used other and better words, but that was what I got out of it. The reasons in the appendix A for this rule is expressed word to word in the minister’s reasons for cancelling the visa. And probably made the judges unanimous in their deciding, that the minister had a right to cancel D’s visa.

      3. @muser
        Short explanation.
        The FedCourt in the final proceeding only needed to check, if Hawke’s decision was lawful, not about the grounds of this decision and the “subjective” assessment of the case. Such is the power given to Immigration minister in Australia and Djoker’s lawyers’ arguments were wrong directed, namely at irrational character of the decision and lack of evidence, Djoker is no-vaxxer (which was obvious and easy to prove if it was necessary). It was not necessary in this proceeding but it was investigated by the Court. Like it or not, everything was correct in terms of law.
        Doubts coming from media could only have influenced spirits of judges, not their argumentation. There is no hole in the whole proceeding.
        And it’s obvious (no matter, the positive test is true or manipulated) , it was literally told Tennis Australia and Craig Tiley, that recovering from infection is NOT a valid grounds for exemption. Theoretically Djokovic may have been desoriented about it, but for sure not Tiley and Tennis Australia, so they arranged the deal and Djoker bought into it. Given his high level of intelligence (at least for a pro athlete) and his possibilities to hire best experts, it’s hard to assume, he didn’t know, the deal is dirty and he accepted it. If this included some manipulation with test results – we don’t know but it’s very similar to circumstancial prosecution in criminal trial, where the basic assumption is like “the guilty is the one, who had some advantage from the crime”. Who had advantages in the Djoker case, it’s obvious – it was him, Tiley and Tennis Australia and Victoria government.
        If someone manipulated Serbian covid tests databank, has done it for Djokovic, but maybe “forgot” to tell him, he is just officially “positive” and should isolate or something like this.
        It would be good for tennis and for Djoker to get a dispensation from the patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church to get jabbed and do it. Maybe he will as bans from other slams ans Masters are looming or he will need to go over quarantines and live in private bubbles during every tournament. Only my opinion.

      4. Thanks PRF. I agree. The real culprit may be Tiley as well, – although ND has some responsibility himself, he was kind of victim too. There were other players who were cancelled at the border (but didn’t appeal, just returned) in spite of “exemption” from Tennis Australia’s’ panel of experts, so ND was not the only victim for those attempts which turned out unvalid to get them through.

      5. Yes, me simply stating that Serbian health authorities confirmed the tests were legit is manipulating the meaning.

        Whereas you sending a link that doesn’t even contain the affidavit I’m referring to along with your expert legal opinion is definitely in good faith!

        Why are we going back to the court decision anyway? They are not related, if you want to use the speculation around test validity in your own mind to say that retrospectively it was a good decision by the courts, then fair enough.

      6. “Serbian Health authorities have already under affidavit provided evidence that confirmed the tests were authentic.” This is false. Serbian Health Authorities (some clerk signing and stamping the document) confirm on this document the test results. Which has nothing to do with the Djokovic’s affidavit. In this affidavit Djokovic only states, that documents he enclosed are true copies of originals. Djokovic cannot validate the content of these documents. These documents (test certificates) were not issued to be delivered to any court within an affidavit.
        Now I don’t know, if you also lost the ability to use links. Have just checked again and yes, the affidavit (as PDF) is still there, only the document does not load fast. Maybe your browser is not capable of opening PDF’s from links. Use one which can do the trick (Chrome uses PDF extensions to do this). So not a hit from you, but shit.
        You miss basic understanding of legal matters but I thought, you are good at logic. I still think, you are, but you are handling in bad will. And … you would maybe need to upgrade your knowledge in legal matters, if you want to discuss such matters.
        It’s not about having different views, but about discussing with class and without manipulation (like adding – without evidence – remarks about BBC’s source). Should you have evidence of your pseudorhetoric “accusation”, it does not help to understand the suspect Djokovic test story. If suspicions are wrong, it should be no problem for Djokovic, his lawyers or any Serbian authority to make things clear.
        You may think, it’s good for Djokovic to exchange his tennis career to politics. Maybe Djokovic will be next President of Serbia and we will have new Balkan wars. His current political activity in Montenegro is just going this direction. Does not look after fighting for freedom of choice. Montenegro has chosen to separate from Serbia via popular voting ans is (yet) sovereign state. Maybe no more, since Djokovic started to do politics there – rather fighting for restoring Serbian power on Balkan then for freedom of choice.

      7. Well, as I see it there are 2 cases. One is the right of Australia to cancel his visa, and second the possible uncorrectness of dates of tests, information of journeys, no isolation according to Serbian rules, and maybe more strange circumstances/self-contradictions, which of course are attached to case one, but were not necessary to discuss in the matter of right to cancel ND’s Visa. But those circumstances/self-contradictions still point to something fishy worth to pursue. In my opinion they point to something not completely pure, unless better explained, to the better of the world.

      8. If you can’t use Chrome or MS Edge, give me a link so I can send you the PDF from my computer. Or I will look later (now it’s AO final and lunchtime), how to get to the place, where you can read the PDF online (without loading).
        You gave another link to an attachment called “TESTIMONY”, re test results. Attachment F or something – but the attachiment to what?

      9. The title of the document containing the affidavit from my link is “Affidavit-of-Novak-Djokovic-sworn-on-10-January-2022”. Your “attachment F” is dated 12.01. I can’t see from your link part of what was this testimony. Could not be part of the Djokovic’s affidavit, sworn on 10.01

      10. My browser loads PDFs fine.

        Can you share which page the document I was talking about and shared is in the PDF you shared? Oh yes, that’s right, it’s not in there!

        Oh well, back to briefly skimming documents and forming a legal opinion.

      11. I will post the affidavit later on my Dropbpox and send you the link, so you can download the PDF from there

      12. I have the PDF you shared already. My point is, the document you claimed I was manipulating or not understanding, is not even part of the overall document you assumed I was talking about!

        As I told you, the Serbian Health Authorities provided this under affidavit that the 2 tests were legitimate. So it is what it is.

        Now we can go back to speculation, maybe Jelena is good with photoshop, maybe he bribed them, jada jada jada.

      13. I’m not aware of an affidavit presented to Australian Federal Court in case Djokovic (affidavit = sworn statement before the court). So what affidavit is your attachment from Serbian Health Authority part of?

      14. Ah so now you want to redefine affidavit.

        Great. Do you work at Merriam Webster? They have changed quite a few definitions in the last 12 months, so hey, what’s one more. It’s not like language matters.

      15. I’m not redefining anything. You may know, English is not my native language and even in Polish I’m not expert enough to elaborate linguistic definitions. The same with legal matters. In this case I have used an “ad-hoc” definition because Djokovic’s application before Federal Court is just called affidavit, while you used the same name for a document from Serbian Health authority which is not called affidavit but testimonial and was issued by a Serbian public health institution on Djokovic’s request and does not look to be sworn. And you didn’t respond my question of what was the document, to which this”testimonial” (testimonial is not equal affidavit I guess) was attached as attachment F. This could explain, if the document was provided to Australian Federal Court by Djokovic as a supplement in the course of the proceeding). Or please explain how this document IS an affidavit.
        Yes, language matters and I’m ready to learn. But in this context a legal definition counts, not linguistic. The legal definition in Polish for this kind of document is “sworn statement” or “statement under oath”. How do you recognize this “testimonial” an affidavit? It happens I was over decades a sworn translator at a court in Warsaw and my stamp was equal to “statement under oath”, that the translation reflects the content of the (German in my case) original. If I was required to translate this Serbian (must have been in German) document into the language, for which I’m established a sworn translator, my translation could be used by the court like the original but I would only confirm the relation between the original and the translation, not the authenticity or truth of the content. So again – where do you sea attributes of an affidavit in this “testimonial”? The document was issued on request of a private person´and doesn’t have a form of an affidavit.
        If I’m wrong, please explain, because I was never sworn translator for English or Serbian and maybe I’m missing something or affidavit in Serbia or in Australia is not the same as in Poland.
        BTW – another manipulation from you. Your argument would be fair (if true) if I was a native English speaker like you.
        Explain in a good will or don’t answer at all.

      16. To your knowledge. A sworn translator in Poland has the status of “expert witness” in courts and to get it, must document the command of both languages of the given language pair and an appropriate expertise in legal matters.

  13. Did anyone watch the women’s final for once? I might get a little tempted by the highlights giving the impression of Barty’s amazing playing and personality. And seeming effortless moving…? Could she be a bit like a female “Federer”, worth following? Just asking

    1. I have watched a bit of Barty. Nice personality, strong mentality and versatile player. Not comparable with Federer. Ladies tennis has actually no leader. I don’t see any female player to follow right now. I think, their game is mostly boring. If When my “hero” is not just playing, I’m watching men’s doubles.
      But if you want to try to follow ladies, Barty is the best option.

  14. Medvedev must be the stupidest player I’ve ever seen. He is bungling away this match trying to hit drop shots and drop volleys over and over against the fastest guy on tour, only to get smoked repeatedly and add to Rafa’s highlight reel. And his drop shots are garbage! And he tries them on break points or at other important junctures. Who told him this was the strategy? Not to mention this guy can’t hit clean volleys to save his life, that having cost him staying level at 4-4 in the third set instead of getting broken and then losing it (which is fine, okay, hard to sweep Nadal and Medvedev might’ve lost the set anyway) and going up 2-0 in the fourth (backhand volley on break point, absolute duck, into the net). Maybe that early break wouldn’t have mattered since these guys traded them later, but now it’s smooth sailing for Rafa, having figured out his opponent is a moron who has nothing to hurt him with (Medvedev is overconfident in his shots too, muffing balls that call for simpler approaches in dramatic fashion; and again, more idiotic drop shots if he can guard the deep ball and just get it back. What a loser way to hand Rafa number 21.

    1. Right. But is this something new? I’m wondering, how the hell all (or almost all) coaches and players have not found the way to beat Medvedev regularly. Lazy guys 😉
      Nadal has lot of weapons (but missing ability to serve aces) and can adapt the game to the situation. Like every other Big3.

  15. Medvedev might be functionally retarded. To break back when down 4-5, and to dump that next game on serve…only a true donkey would do this. Up 30-15, at mid court in a winning position, he hits, you guessed it, a drop shot that lands almost at the service line, only to get smoked again. Then he blasts off two more overhit errors to lose a game that if he’d won it, he could’ve really given nadal something to think on. Even if you lose the match, you gotta win that game after breaking. Medvedev played like a bum over the stretch.

    Probably Nadal would win 21 elsewhere, this year or next, and Novak too, but what a way to get it gifted at the beginning of the year. And of course, now he’s the GOAT, says McEnroe. Maybe so, though his opponent surely helped tonight.

    1. At the top level, you always need the opponent to “help”. This “what-if” thinking is not very productive. The match was close, both made crucial errors (Nadal not being able to close the set at 6:5 and serving. Nerves. Incidental errors. It’s everything normal. On the end someone must win/lose. You are unhappy about Nadal taking 21 first. Talk with Djokovic, who would probably win it, if not his no-vax nonsense. Would you be happier with Djokovic winning it?

  16. I couldn’t care less if Nadal took 21 first or Novak, since both will have it and the tally only matters when both retire. I don’t like how Medvedev kept doing stupid things that didn’t work against a beatable Rafa today, and that’s a frustrating watch.

    1. It seems, Medvedev doesn’t like you and that’s the only reason he has done stupid things, hahaha Well, I think, Medvedev’s game consists of a lot of stupid things and that’s the secret of his success so far.
      Nadal was going to lose because of having started with wrong tactics and because of missing ability to serve aces (which he will never learn – too late). But Nadal (unlike Medvedev) has multiple skills and can implement plan B and C during the match.
      When losing 0:2 (but plan B started to work in set 2), he finally found out, where’s Medvedev’s weakness. It is returning of shots with mixed pace and bounce height, including good slices, but not in long series and moving vertically. He is good at moving laterally but letting him move to the net when it’s not his own concept, makes him lose a balance and regularly miss shots. And yes, dropshots are not his strength as well.

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