The Australian Open According to My Cousin Vinny

There were a lot of angry tennis players at the AO this year, as many vehemently argued against the umpire’s judgement calls on replay-vs-point and other issues. Aga’s above launch into glass-shattering octaves is also notable for the fact that it may be the first time in recorded history that a supervisor actually intervened on the player’s behalf after getting the details.

 
Such arguments are often blamed on a player being in a losing position, but eventual champions Caroline Wozniacki and Roger Federer also got into it with umpires–with the normally rather stoic Fed even sending a bit of sass towards a linesman.

 
In other potentially rankling news, those who were hoping for (or dreading) a repeat of 2017 with another #Fedal final at the Australian Open…

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…had those thoughts squashed when Rafael Nadal retired in the fifth set of his quarterfinal match against eventual finalist Marin Cilic. In his post-match press conference, Rafa once again called for changes on the tour to prevent injuries to players…like himself.

 
Despite the focus on injuries at the tournament, another topic overshadowed all else once we headed into the quarterfinals. To everyone’s shock, the lone American on the ATP side of things was Tennys Sandgren, a player just barely inside the Top 100 that many viewers had never even heard of.

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The shock was even greater when tennis fans unfamiliar with the player decided to take a gander at his social media accounts…

 
When Sandgren headed to his next press conference, he was greeted with questions about follows, tweets, RTs, and faves that linked him to some extremely right-wing and bigoted people, ideas, and crazy conspiracy theories.

The player’s attempts to mitigate the damage done by having his most unattractive thoughts gleaming under a spotlight, from brush-offs to prepared statements to Twitter apologies, did not have the intended effect on his critics.

 
In between all the tweetstorms and think pieces on politics and tennis, others were griping about the way the draw was working out for the WTA. As players like Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, and Caroline Wozniacki progressed through the draw, the usual naysayers were bemoaning the fact that defensive players (aka “counterpunchers,” said politely–or “pushers,” impolitely) were ruling the day, rather than their favorite players who hit huge serves and huge forehand winners that sometimes blow a hole in the back wall…

 
But surely those who were privileged enough to see the incredibly intense battle between Simona Halep and Angie Kerber, as seen in highlights below…

 
…had to appreciate the supreme athletic level of defense, plus the crafty shifts of defense to offense to seal those relentlessly powerful, all-court rallies with a sudden, searing and ungettable winner…

And while the brilliant duels were going on for those mighty defender ladies, the lone Top 4 dude remaining–and the oldest of them all–was half-sauntering, half-stumbling his way through the men’s draw, until BOOM! Two totally cool peeps turned up in the finals:

Caroline survived the tough onslaught of Halep’s wicked backhand angles and deft returns, plus a battle with her own nerves as she fought any old demons hanging around and battled to the end for victory.

On the other side, Federer had to fight against a younger, strong, and aggressive opponent and survive his own distraction when he looked too soon to the finish line. Although, that lull may have just been a reaction to the hypnotic, repetitive bounce of the tennis ball on Cilic’s. Every. Serve…

 

So why did Federer win a TWENTIETH SLAM? Well, we had lots of thoughts about his win last year, so you could check out all the brilliant ideas here.

As for Caro, well she said a few years ago that she wanted to be a “relatively young mother,” so maybe it’s not a stretch to think she was extra motivated to get this mighty accomplishment checked off her to-do list now because…

Hopefully it’s not ticking too loudly, though, because we’d love to see our Wozza triumph again on the biggest stages. And we gotta say how much we loved that she knows she never has to go to another press conference again and be asked about being a Slamless #1.

Huge congrats to our winners, and hope you all enjoyed the triumphs, dramaz, and disasters at the Australian Open 2018!!

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