Four Thoughts We Have About the Australian Open So Far

Another year, another climactic showdown in Melbourne. 

By Alexandra Cadet

The 2022 WTA Tour may have started fairly recently, but we’re already in the midst of our first major: the Australian Open. So far, every single First Round match has been played, and we’ve been treated to incredible comebacks, surprising reinventions, and even a few upsets. Here are four thoughts that we have about the tournament thus far: 

  1. Naomi Osaka Makes a Triumphant Return

Whisper it quietly, but Naomi Osaka might just be back. Due to well-known circumstances, the defending champion took a much-deserved break for the past few months. But she’s returned in style, passing the first two rounds in straight sets. 

During both of her matches, Osaka appeared to be more relaxed than usual, which fits with her recent statements on wanting to find joy in playing tennis. “I’m here because I want to be here, and I find that it’s fun for me, so I might as well enjoy it while I still can,” she said in a post-game press conference. After the hell she went through last year, we’re so glad to see her thriving on the court. 

  1. Two Upsets for the Price of One

When you think about it, Coco Gauff and Leylah Fernandez’s Round One matches were eerily similar. A teenaged Grand Slam finalist goes up against a player below the top 100 in singles rankings. Said teenager makes numerous unforced errors throughout the game, and gets bounced in straight sets. Cue shock, awe, and frantically revised prediction brackets.

Coco Gauff had a rough outing in Round One, getting bounced in straight sets. (Photo courtesy of the Australian Open)

Of course, crashing out in the first round was probably painful for Fernandez and Gauff, and it showed during their post-match conferences. But don’t count either of them out just yet: there are still three majors left on the 2022 tour, and they should be able to make a splash in them provided they learn from their mistakes in this tournament. Plus, Gauff is still in the Doubles competition of the Open, so be sure to look out for her on the court with her partner, Caty McNally. 

  1. Emma Raducanu’s Reinvention Is Fascinating
    Emma Raducanu is on a mission. She got a new coach before the Open. She bageled Sloane Stevens in the first round, and managed to tick her off by celebrating DURING the match. She trains for twelve hours each day. She talks to few, and hangs out with no one. The mere mention of her name spawns multiple articles a week, each one predicting her downfall. But she’s risen from the ashes of her horrible Sydney International performance like a phoenix, and is ready to prove that all the naysayers should have said a little less. Maybe she’ll burn the competition to the ground, or maybe she’ll just scream in front of them again. Who knows. 
Emma Raducanu in the First Round. (Photo courtesy of the WTA.)
  1. Can We PLEASE Shut Up about Djokovic?

(Okay, we know we’re technically talking about him by discussing this point, but we promise it’s for good reason. Then we’ll put him away.) 

It’s ridiculous that the media has asked multiple female players (Osaka and Raducanu included) about a male athlete’s controversy during their own huge tournament. “It’s taken away from the great tennis,” said Raducanu about the debacle. And she’s right; every second used to blab about the Djokovic situation is a second that should’ve been used discussing that awesome Raducanu-Stevens match, or Osaka’s impressive Round Two performance. Even worse is the clickbait-y headlines on WTA and ATP matches that mention Djokovic for no discernable reason. The Prime Minister of Australia already booted him from the country, so let’s finish the job and boot him from tournament discussions altogether.

But that’s enough about Novax Djocovid. In more important news, the remaining Round Two matches are fast approaching. There’s no way to predict how it will all go down, but one thing’s for sure: if more upsets, bagels, and thrilling matches are in the cards, the first major in the season will almost certainly be a smashing success. 

A schedule of the upcoming Australian Open matches can be found here

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