Our Young Aussie Stars - Onwards and Upwards After Exciting Australian Open
January 27, 2015
An Australian hasn’t reached the Australian Open final since Lleyton Hewitt lost to Marat Safin in 2005, but who knows we mightn’t have to wait too much longer to cheer one of our own on in the Championship Match. Whether Hewitt will play another Australian Open at the age of 34 next year remains a major doubt although there’s every chance he’d want to return after his 2015 campaign ended in a nightmare second round exit, having given up a two set lead to German Benjamin Becker. But Hewitt’s no longer our main hope, Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios will both believe they can one day take out the title especially after their efforts in this year’s tournament. The latter contested a quarter final while Tomic finished in the fourth round. Both have big steps to take yet. But with a little luck and that patriotic home crowd…. The future is promising.
Nick Needs to Improve Despite a Successful Slam
Nick Kyrgios’ excellent Australian Open ended tamely after a red hot Andy Murray monstered him in the quarter finals. The Scot showing the Aussie the gap between the very best players and the rest of the field. But Kyrgios proved he’s closing the margin and at just 19 he’ll continue to improve. The Canberra teenager was underdone and under prepared heading into the Open but showed flare, confidence and most importantly guts to reach his second Grand Slam quarter final. Australia’s number 1 ranked player gained momentum after outing big serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic before a fourth round triumph over Andreas Seppi was as much a mental battle as it was physical. The Italian who’d come off upsetting Roger Federer was cruising into the quarters at two sets to love up, before Kyrgios came back. He mixed passion with power and used the home support wisely to win an epic, taking out the fifth set 8-6. If Kyrgios can continue that good form and stay injury free, he should be aiming to make the second week of every Slam this year.
Bernard Building for Big 2015
Bernard Tomic often divides the nation’s opinion but it seemed most of the country was on his side during his impressive display at the Open. It wasn’t just the fact that the 22 year old was winning but he also showed qualities many have come to question. The Queenslander appears to have matured on and off the court and after a relatively comfortable first round win he showed plenty of heart to get past Philipp Kohlschreiber in his second outing. Tomic took the 22nd seed out in four sets, three of which went to tie breakers.
He beat fellow Aussie Sam Groth in straight sets before making a tame fourth round exit to Thomas Berdych. The Czech star was simply too good for Tomic but the Aussie had already given plenty of signs that he’ll be a much more consistent player in 2015. Tomic is now back in the top 50 players in the world but he’s aiming to reach the top 20 this year.
Groth Grows While Thanasi Kokinakis Causes Shock
Sam Groth’s third round run was his best result at a Grand Slam. Perhaps the only thing he did wrong was knockout out his countryman in Round Two. The 27 year backed up a strong straight sets win in his opening match by beating fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis in a tough five set battle before going out to Tomic in another all Australian affair. Though Kokkinakis went down to his compatriot he’d already provided one of the moments of the tournament. The 18 year old showed true fighting spirit to survive four match points before upsetting 11th seed Ernests Gulbis in a five set thriller. The victory is the Adelaide teenager’s most significant win to date.
So our boys bid au revoir to their home Slam as they turn their attention to the French open. Get ready Roland Garros, an Aussies assault is coming.