The Grand Slam of the Asia and the Pacific – that’s the Australian Open to you, kids – is now open… pull out your chairs, sit back, light up your montecristo cigars, and let the games begin!
I have long been waiting for this and now that it’s finally here it rolled out quickly that Rafa is now through to the second round! No mercy from Rafa for the injured Marcos Daniel, though I felt sorry for Daniel, seeing him limping in the Rod Laver arena on the first round!
Anyways, I got so excited when the AO draws list was issued. My boy Rafael Nadal is the top seed in the tournament, followed by Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Robin Soderling, and Andy Murray in the top five. The rest of the top ten are Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, Andy Roddick, Fernando Velasco, and Mikhail Youzhny. The draw puts Rafa and Roger on the opposite sides again (they always do, and could potentially meet again in the finals!) but Soderling and Murray are in the other quarter in Rafa’s draw. It’s good to know that Soderling and Murray are in the same quarter and will have to get past against each other before they meet Rafa. Other players in the same draw as Rafa include Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Ernest Gulbis (lost to Benjamin Becker on the first round), Juan Martin del Potro, David Nalbandian, Lleyton Hewitt (as of this writing, lost to Nalbandian in a dramatic 5-set match), etc. On the bottom half of the draw, apart from Federer, includes Djokovic, Berdych, Roddick, Verdasco, Wawrinka, Davydenko (lost to Florian Mayer on the first round), Almagro, Monfils, and many others. Here’s the complete list of AO draw for men’s singles only.
I have to admit that I don’t really give much importance at the draws because I have this one-match-at-a-time mantra. If Rafa is truly fully fit physically and mentally then he can beat just about anybody in any surface. I just wish that he has recovered well from that bug that drained him at the Doha Open; that he gets enough practice and rest at the same time; and that he is focused. True, Roger looks like he is back in his tip-top form, and that Murray is seeking revenge, Djokovic and Soderling included, but of course, I’m a Rafa fan through and through. I’d back Rafa anytime against any of them…
P.S. The Nalbandian-Hewitt match was a dramatic one so far with Nalbandian crushing Hewitt’s hopes of an AO title! It was like a replay of their epic five-set quarterfinals (if I’m not mistaken) battle six years ago where Hewitt beat Nalbandian.
Photo Credit: Australian Open Photo Gallery