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Switzerland’s Roger Federer holds the trophy as he celebrates beating Croatia’s Marin Cilic in their men’s singles final match on day 14 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 28, 2018.<br />SAEED KHAN / AFP


Novak Djokovic is the President of the ATP Player’s Council. At the beginning of the Australian Open, he acknowledged that tennis, as all sports, has become is big business that accounts for the huge earnings by the top male and female players. While expressing gratitude for their financial fortunes, he bemoaned the toll on the body of a year-long season. His words turned out to be portentous. He and Nadal succumbed to injuries and pulled out.

The frailty of the human body accounted for the exit of Hyeon Chung whose progress through the rounds was of interest to many people worldwide and not just his compatriots in Korea. After throwing in the towel in the semi-finals, said he could no longer walk. It sounded like the town of Oconomowoc in the United States. One of the indigenous inhabitants had complained that he could no more walk. In Chung’s case, it was “blister over blister over blister” that ended his dream run in Melbourne. He left with a meteoric rise from 58 to 29.

The Women’s Final was more about the runner-up and the change of positions in the rankings. Caroline Wozniacki won her frist Grand Slam title and replaced Simona Halep as the number one female player in the world. For Simona Halep, it was more than close. The first set was critical in such a match, and the Romanian could have clinched it had she not been denied the break umpteen times.

Federer made the 20th Grand Slam with his sixth title in Melbourne. The semi-final match was pure genius and provided the answer to the question: what type of game for a particular opponent? The master displayed the antidote to the boredom of long rallies.

He mixed it up: slices, changes of pace and angled shots to pull opponent wide’ especially to the backhand. Knowing that baseline sluggers are uncomfortable at the net, Roger hit short balls to lure Chung to the net and then made passing shots. That was the chess nature of the game.

Before the Women’s Finals commenced, there was an award ceremony for Yvonne Gulagong Cawley, a former champion at Wimbledon, French Open Champion and several times at the Australian Open on grass-courts in Kuyong. In conferring the Grand Order of Austrralia, the Governor-General (a position from colonial times) spoke of Yvonne’s role as ambassador and founder of a Foundation for Youth Development, especially aboriginal people. A tearful Yvonne showed the medallion but was not asked to say a few words, as would have been appropriate.

As we say good-bye to Australia, we remember the winners and their countries. Men’s Singles: Roger Federer (Switzerland); Women’s Singles: Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark); Men’s Doubles: Mate Pavic (Croatia) and Oliver Marach (Austria); Ladies Doubles: Timea Babos (Hungary) and Kristina Mladenovic (France); Mixed Doubles: Mate Pavic (Croatia) and Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada); Junior Boys’ Singles: Sebastian Korda (USA); Junior Boys Doubles: Germany’s Rudolf Melleker and Henri Squire; Junior Girls Singles: En Liang (Chinese Taipei): Junior Girls’ Doubles: En Liang and Xinyu Wang (China); Men’s Wheelchair Singles: Shingo Kuneida (Japan); Men’s Wheelchair Doubles: France’s Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer; Women’s Wheelchair Singles: You Kamiji (Japan): Women’s Wheelchair Doubles: Yui Kamiji (Japan) and Marjolein Buis (Nederland); Quadrangular Wheelchair Singles: Dylan Alcott (Australia); Quadrangular Wheelchair Doubles: Australia’s Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson.


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