2021 Australian Open midweek evaluate: Lockdown sparks weird scenes, some large names drop early, Indians disappoint

The reside digital line name has sparked an fascinating debate over whether or not expertise will take over tennis.

Reigning ladies’s singles champion Sofia Kenin left the Australian Open after shedding to Kai Kanepi within the second spherical. AP

On the one hand, the primary week of the 2021 Australian Open felt like another Grand Slam. Many of the normal suspects and favorites entered Week 2 with an odd hiccup, some ranked gamers fell by the wayside, a couple of new names and potential stars appeared out of nowhere, whereas Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios continued to berate himself. and a lot of the officers and folks round them!

Alternatively, there have been some instances that we do not have and hope to by no means see once more. For the primary few days, solely 30,000 spectators had been allowed into the Melbourne Park area for all matches in comparison with almost 60,000 daily in recent times. The out of doors courts and gardens appeared and felt empty. If that wasn’t sufficient, the Victorian authorities introduced one other five-day lockdown due to a couple new instances of COVID-19[female[feminine .

The world has witnessed the weird and surreal pictures of Djokovic and his third-round opponent, Taylor Fritz having to take a break from their match to have the world vacated by spectators who had been to be house by midnight on the night time of the twelfth. February. That is the primary time that the gamers must be made to attend till the stadium is emptied when it’s at all times the spectators who should look forward to the gamers.

The opposite very uncommon sight is that there is no such thing as a linesman for the occasion and all calls are made by the sector cameras and the chair umpire. This has already led to obvious errors particularly on ‘let’ companies and in addition sparked an fascinating debate on whether or not expertise goes to take over tennis and if that is the tipping level to from which expertise begins to play a a lot bigger position within the sport of tennis.

2021 Australian Open midweek review lockdown sparks bizarre scenes, some big names drop early, Indians disappoint

The Novak Djokovic-Taylor Fritz third-round match was suspended for a number of minutes to empty the Rod Laver Area attributable to COVID-19[female[feminine curfew in Melbourne. AP

The strict COVID-19[female[feminine The principles meant that lots of the gamers who confronted a strict quarantine after coming into Australia didn’t have one of the best preparation for the primary Grand Slam of the yr. For the large gamers, used to creating their coaches, coaches and guides journey, the extreme restrictions have compelled them to scale back their entourage, which put them out of their consolation zone within the preparation of the occasion. Lots of the large gamers complained about their lack of preparation because the companions and ladies continued to go about their enterprise.

Courtroom pace was one other matter that took heart stage, with many gamers complaining that the courts had been among the quickest that they had ever performed on. I believe this is because of the truth that this yr’s occasion is in February which is barely cooler than January and has sped up the floor. Both approach, the pace of the pitch is just like the climate that each one gamers face equally and anybody who complains about it’s simply exhibiting off in a foul gentle.

The largest upsets of week one are anticipated to be the tame outing of Sofia Kenin, the defending feminine champion, and Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion. Whereas Kenin clearly could not deal with the stress of being the reigning champion, collapsing in post-match press convention whereas speaking concerning the stress, Andresscu returns after a career-threatening knee harm and would nonetheless battle to return to the pains of the tour so early in his return.

From an Indian perspective, the Open has been fairly disappointing. Ankita Raina made historical past by turning into solely the fifth feminine participant to characteristic in the primary draw of a Grand Slam following within the footsteps of Nirupama Mankad, Nirupama Vaidyanathan, Sania Mirza and Shikha Uberoi. Nonetheless, she might barely make an influence throughout her first spherical outing within the ladies’s doubles and her lack of doubles prowess on the high stage was critically on show.

In actual fact, Indian gamers have did not win even a set in all of their males’s doubles, ladies’s doubles and combined doubles matches, which is definitely a trigger for concern for the longer term. If we’re to begin enjoying Grand Slam tournaments, it’s time for the federation and stakeholders to begin pondering outdoors the field and possibly contemplating making a specialist doubles academy and begin getting ready specialist doubles gamers. , which additionally occurs in badminton.

In the beginning of the second week, all the highest female and male gamers will take heart stage. Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka will take heart stage as favorites within the ladies’s occasion. Be careful for Daniil Medvedev and Stephanos Tsitipas for the lads and Iga Swiatek and Ashleigh Barty for the ladies. All of them, whereas being very nicely labeled, should not talked about as a lot and are for my part the black horses of this yr and will upset the applecart of the favorites.

The one factor I hope and pray for is that the Victoria State Authorities won’t lengthen the lockdown past 5 days and permit spectators to return to Melbourne Park for the semi-finals and the finals. In spite of everything that the gamers, organizers, assist workers, media and everybody within the tennis world have gone by way of to make this occasion occur, spectator entry would absolutely be the icing on the cake for the occasion and for the great recreation of tennis. in addition to.

Gaurav Natekar is a two-time Asian Video games gold medalist, Arjuna Awardee and former Indian No.1 tennis participant.

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