It’s not for nothing that the Australian Open is called the Happy Slam. Firstly, it underlines the beginning of a new tennis year. Players and fans pour in from around the world to witness and take part in the buzz in and around the tennis courts of Melbourne that lasts a little more than a fortnight in January. Of course, this requires a lot of sunscreen, for the temperature is almost always as high as the excitement level of the players and fans.
Secondly, it seems to be the least sober of all the Majors. Roland Garros, with its crushed red brick dust, seems to be a place of proper combat. Wimbledon in whites is all too pristine. And, the US Open in New York is a tad too glitzy. The Australian Open, on the other hand, is associated with sunshine (sometimes, a little too much) and smiles. And, this year, too, had some memorable moments that justified its epithet.
Let’s start with the men’s champ himself. There might not be a lot of better mimics on the men’s tour than the world No 1. After winning a record-breaking seventh men’s singles title, here’s Novak Djokovic being, well, Novak Djokovic:-
Looks like Djokovic is not the only crazy guy in his team. This is what he and his coach Marián Vajda were up to before the men’s singles final:
Djokovic was scintillating to watch on court. Off it, he was, at times, endearing.
Naomi Osaka’s having the time of her life. If there were any notions of her being a ‘One Slam Wonder’, she shattered it with a second straight Major win. But did you know Osaka could have been studying dolphins, whales and turtles instead of playing tennis?
Women’s champion Osaka, self-admittedly, is not so good with speeches. She fumbles a bit, she’s slightly awkward. But she manages to evoke smiles and applause every single tie, as did with this classy winner’s speech after beating Petra Kvitova in a three-set battle.
It isn’t a big deal if Rafael Nadal gets through the first round of a Grand Slam in straight sets (even if he’s coming back from an injury break). So, a journalist is not to be faulted entirely for nodding off at the post-match press conference. But, unfortunately for him, the Spaniard spotted it and what ensues is one of the funniest moments of this year’s Australian Open.
Souvenirs from the Australian Open are worth a fight, right? This tussle between two women in the crowd for Aryna Sabalenka’s headband... became a little too dramatic.
The moment of triumph finally arrives for Katie Boulter after a three-set battle... Oops, not yet!
Well, we all have days like this at work, don’t we?
You could be one of the greatest tennis players of all time, but make sure you carry your accreditation card, mister!
The Rod Laver Arena enthralls one and all. Even the person its named after.