Player’s Comment Roundup – 2017 Australian Open Draw
The Australian Open draw has been made, the anticipation is already at fever pitch, so what better way to kill some time than to pick at what the player’s have said since the draw. Possibly the first of many of this kind of post, this is the player’s comment roundup – 2017 Australian Open draw edition.
It’s natural for the home crowd to root for their own in sporting events. So it’s a little confusing that the Australian press seem to have it in for Tomic lately. Hitting back at claims that he isn’t fit enough and picking at his weight.
Tomic hit back with a two-fold response. Firstly; there are players in the top ten that are not as fit as he is. Secondly, there are many players outside of the top 100 that are fitter than him.
It’s not a completely invalid point; fitness isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of the game. However, I would argue that if Tomic is as good as he is at his fitness level, why not go further? Being fitter won’t hurt his game.
Imagine if Kyrgios was prepared to put the work in that Andy Murray does.
Milos Raonic was involved in probably the biggest coaching switch up on the men’s tour recently. Except for Djokovic and Becker, of course. His former coach, Carlos Moya, saw the Canadian through to a Wimbledon Final, but left to take the reigns in camp Rafa Nadal. Stepping into the Moya void was Richard Krajicek, and it turns out that Raonic has a very specific plan.
…you have these two guys that move very well laterally. I don’t think I’m ever going to be the best guy from the baseline by any means, especially not against them. If I’m going to take it to them, it’s by coming forward…
“These two guys” of course being Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. Raonic would have had a handful of finals, an ATP 500 trophy, and a maiden Grand Slam to his name in 2016. Would have, that is, if not for bumping into Andy Murray every step of the way. It’s good to hear that Raonic has a real strategy for taking that next big leap.
he also commented that he feels he can catch up to the top two players in the world. He has the confidence to do it, they just have a massive lead over everyone else right now… so it might take a while.
Stan the Man is a bit of an enigma. Somehow he seems as likely to get knocked out by an unseeded player in the second or third round as he does to go on and win the lot. He is a three time Grand Slam champion, of course, with his first Slam being right here in Melbourne back in 2014.
Stan talked of having confidence in his backhand, and how he’s not troubled by the prospect of playing a lefty in round one. He talked about the tough decision not to play the Davis Cup due to scheduling difficulties. Perhaps most interestingly, however he talked about Nick Kyrgios.
The pair are seeded to meet in the fourth round. But as Wawrinka pointed out, neither of them are in the fourth round yet, and his focus is his first match.
Djokovic is of course a six time champion in Australia, not to mention the defending champion. The first point of discussion was that match with Fernando Verdasco in Doha. Djokovic ultimately went on to win the Qatar Open, but that very nearly wasn’t the case. In a tough three set battle, Verdasco had match point five times. The topic is relevant, of course, because Djokovic will face Verdasco in the first round in Melbourne.
…a lot depends, of course, on how I feel, how he feels. It’s the first match of the Grand Slam. We both need to start with the right intensity, of course.
Moving on, Djokovic’s coaching situation had to be touched on. Djokovic stated that he doesn’t intend to bring anybody else into his coaching set up. His current set up is the coaching team for now.
When asked about the elephant in the room that was his number two ranking, Djokovic said he would be “thrilled” to recapture the number one ranking, but that it wasn’t a priority. He is taking things one tournament at a time, and if the number one ranking comes “as a consequence” of his results, great!
As the newly minted world number one, and five time runner up in Melbourne, all eyes are on the Scot this Australian Open. He might have been favourite after his dismantling of Djokovic in the World Tour Finals last year, but his subsequent (albeit much closer) defeat to Djokovic in Doha has most people picking the Serb again.
When asked if he feels any different coming into the tournament as number one, he said he didn’t. Short and sweet.
Murray touched on the success of other British players this week. With Jo Konta picking up the Sydney title, and Dan Evans making the final of the men’s equivalent.
Regarding his chances at finally winning the Australian Open, Murray said;
…yeah, I think I’m in a decent position, for sure, to do it. I think I have a chance to win here. Obviously nothing’s guaranteed. But, yeah, why not? I’m playing well. Practice has been good. I feel healthy. I’ll give it a good shot…
Let’s hope so. Murray is a very physical player. Much of his game relies on his fitness and endurance. At 29 year old, he may not have many Australian Open chances left.
Player’s Comment Roundup – 2017 Australian Open Draw
So there we have it. If you want a more detailed break down of each player’s press conference, I recommend you check out the Tennis-X Blog. They have an entire post dedicated to each of the above players, going into far more detail than I did here.
What do you think about the player’s comments? Feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment below!