Thank goodness for the Land Down Under and the Australian Open to keep our appetites whetted for the 2015 Grand Slam season! We’ve got the upset of Roger Federer! We’ve got plucky teenagers (19 year-old Madison Keys), and we’ve got Twirlgate!
Some of the action has been a bit sentimental, like the Williams sisters both advancing to the fourth round when number one seed, Serena Williams, defeated Elina Svitolina (4-6, 6-2, 6-0) to join Venus in the middle rounds. Venus Williams beat Camilla Giorgi (4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1) for her fourth round spot. Serena Williams is the absolute favorite to win the women’s singles title for 2015. Whether we might see a Williams v. Williams nail-biter again, as when they last met across the net August 11, 2014, remains to be seen.
Other news has found the last of the American men’s players ousted when Giles Muller of Luxembourg defeated John Isner, the 19th seed, in straight sets. The men’s upset of the tourney, thus far, however, was the stunning takedown of South Africa’s favorite tennis son, Roger Federer, by Andreas Seppi of Italy (6-4, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (5)) in a hard-fought match that had Federer giving himself pep talks in three languages.
What the Williams sisters have brought to the sport of women’s tennis sometimes makes it seem like we’ve achieved an egalitarian tennis state where both sexes are applauded for their agility and acumen. However, this Grand Slam tournament set that idea back on its heels with what has come to be called Twirlgate in the sports media. Australian reporter, Ian Cohen, asked freshly victorious Eugenie Bouchard to stop and “give us a twirl” in her post-match interview this week.
“Men like this help women to hate sport,” said Bouchard, the fourth seed in the women’s tournament. In fact, a quick Google search of the Australian Open news finds more than one first page ranked story focusing on the ladies’ tennis fashion than on their game.
Come on, ladies. Remind those boys why you’re here!