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Old 01-28-2013, 07:34 PM   #1
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Default FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

I've been feeling quite nostalgic today and the tournament that kept popping into my head was this one. I don't think there's ever been a slam, Roland Garros aside were so many top players mugged out early. In RG you had specialist dirtballers who loved the surface so upsets were common, but in this hardcourt slam there was an absolute plethora of them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Au...en%27s_Singles

Hewitt was injured and fell to a clay courter in round one, Agassi pulled out on the eve of the tourney and second seed Kuerten and fifth seed Grosjean tumbled out in the first and second rounds respectively.

R1: Alberto Martin def Lleyton Hewitt(1) 1-6 6-1 6-4 7-6
R1: Julien Boutter def Gustavo Kuerten(2) 3-6 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-3
R2: Francisco Clavet def Sebastien Grosjean(5) 6-4 3-6 6-0 5-7 6-4
R2: Ivan Ljubicic def Andy Roddick(13) 3-2 ret

The last 16 featured some interesting results. 16th seed Thomas Johansson had beaten Jacobo Diaz, Markus Hipfl and a decent seed in Younes El Aynaoui to get there where he faced unseeded Adrian Voinea. Haas-Federer was a thriller and Tommy pulled it out the bag.

Marcelo Rios def Nicolas Lapentti 7-5 6-1 6-4
Tommy Haas(7) def Roger Federer(11) 7-6 4-6 3-6 6-4 8-6
Wayne Ferreira def Albert Costa 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-7 9-7
Marat Safin(9) def Pete Sampras(8) 6-2 6-4 6-7 7-6
Jiri Novak(26) def Dominik Hrbaty 6-4 6-2 5-7 6-2
Stefan Koubek def Fernando Gonzalez(Q) 7-5 6-1 6-7 6-2
Jonas Bjorkman def Tim Henman(6) 6-2 7-6 6-4
Thomas Johansson(16) def Adrian Voinea 6-7 6-2 6-0 6-4

Four unseeded quarter finalists, however they would all lose.

Tommy Haas(7) def Marcelo Rios 7-6 6-4 6-7 7-6
Marat Safin(9) def Wayne Ferreira 5-2 ret
Jiri Novak(26) def Stefan Koubek 6-2 6-3 6-2
Thomas Johansson(16) def Jonas Bjorkman 6-0 2-6 6-3 6-4

In the semis Haas had Safin beaten all ends up but the rain lashed it down and the 50 minute delay allowed Safin to regroup and take control under the RLA roof. Johansson edged Novak in a five setter to make his first final as huge underdog. Two solid players with excellent backhands but you'd have thought top 10 would be their ceiling. Johansson even lost a set 6-0

Marat Safin(9) def Tommy Haas(7) 6-7 7-6 3-6 6-0 6-2
Thomas Johansson(16) def Jiri Novak(26) 7-6 0-6 4-6 6-3 6-4

Safin was clear favourite in the final but:

Thomas Johansson(16) def Marat Safin(9) 3-6 6-4 6-4 7-6


Johansson played very well throughout the tournament and his serve and backhand were superb in the final- he handled Safin's mood swings in a calm, Swedish way One that got away for Marat for sure.

The point of this is to look back and compare with today, and wonder- could a grand slam draw open up sometime in the future and we end up with a Tipsarevic, or a Wawrinka or anyone taking advantage and picking up a shock slam or are those days long gone? Stan almost defeated Nole after all...
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

Marat vs Pete was an epic match. Can't believe Marat was playing that good and mug it up like that in the final. At least he should have lost to Haas so he was the champion and not Johansson.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

I remember Marat admitting the rain had saved him from defeat in that SF with Haasi.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

Haha what a tournament.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

yeh, rain was quite the top player in the early 2000s.

fun tourney - was another decent chance for Henman to do something big at the AO, he did land with some epic opening-up draws down under, but never took advantage. Tojo was rock solid in the final and thoroughly deserved his slam - would have far preferred Marat or Haaaasi taking it, however.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketassist View Post

The point of this is to look back and compare with today, and wonder- could a grand slam draw open up sometime in the future and we end up with a Tipsarevic, or a Wawrinka or anyone taking advantage and picking up a shock slam or are those days long gone? Stan almost defeated Nole after all...
Sorry, but no.

The courts are simply too slow for guys like Djokovic to be defeated by someone like Stanislas, even though the former is playing lights out best-of-his-career tennis and thoroughly out playing the latter; it's disgusting and disgraceful but it is what it is.

Djokovic will always be able to grind and grind and grind his opponents down until the courts are sped up (if they ever are).
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

Hass is the spiritual winner of this vulture slam.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

As a Jiri Novak fan, looking back on his achievements, this was one of the biggest disappointments in a year in which many believe he punched above his weight.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

federer and roddick in 2002 counts as 'upsets'? lolwut
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

Looking back, Federer-Haas was one of the best matches of the decade. Sometimes I still watch pre-2004 Fed matches because his technique was so lively back then. Tough to deal with his hair though

Obviously a mug vulture slam, but there were so many young, exciting prospects. Not just Roger but Gonzalez, Haas, Lapentti, Hewitt, Roddick, Safin and a whole generation that played differently than the 90s generation. Even though the winner was a mug, the prospects for the future were bright. Sadly, Haas was out for most of 2002, Safin was out for most of 2003, Ferrero out for 2004, and pretty much all the future prospects from that 2002 AO except for Roger suffered injuries or disappointing careers.

Not to say Roger played in a subpar era, at his best he was untouchable, by far the best player to ever play the game. More that tennis never recovered from that, and the big hole left by the lack of a pre-Nadull/Fakervic/Mugray era as well as the lack of young prospects like existed back in those days means there's no excitement left in tennis. Until 2011 RG the top 4 seeds had only made the semis of a slam 11 times IN HISTORY. It now happens almost every slam. The consecutive slam semi record looks like this: Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl, Novak Djokovic, Ivan Lendl, Boris Becker, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal (5+) Andy Mugray is above Rod Laver, John Mcenroe, Andre Agassi, Arthur Ashe, Pete Sampras, Bjorn borg, Jimmy Connors, etc.

This is what we mean by tennis being dead, and looking back 2002 was maybe the last time tennis was really alive.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:53 PM   #11
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SliceAce View Post
Looking back, Federer-Haas was one of the best matches of the decade. Sometimes I still watch pre-2004 Fed matches because his technique was so lively back then. Tough to deal with his hair though

Obviously a mug vulture slam, but there were so many young, exciting prospects. Not just Roger but Gonzalez, Haas, Lapentti, Hewitt, Roddick, Safin and a whole generation that played differently than the 90s generation. Even though the winner was a mug, the prospects for the future were bright. Sadly, Haas was out for most of 2002, Safin was out for most of 2003, Ferrero out for 2004, and pretty much all the future prospects from that 2002 AO except for Roger suffered injuries or disappointing careers.

Not to say Roger played in a subpar era, at his best he was untouchable, by far the best player to ever play the game. More that tennis never recovered from that, and the big hole left by the lack of a pre-Nadull/Fakervic/Mugray era as well as the lack of young prospects like existed back in those days means there's no excitement left in tennis. Until 2011 RG the top 4 seeds had only made the semis of a slam 11 times IN HISTORY. It now happens almost every slam. The consecutive slam semi record looks like this: Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl, Novak Djokovic, Ivan Lendl, Boris Becker, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal (5+) Andy Mugray is above Rod Laver, John Mcenroe, Andre Agassi, Arthur Ashe, Pete Sampras, Bjorn borg, Jimmy Connors, etc.

This is what we mean by tennis being dead, and looking back 2002 was maybe the last time tennis was really alive.

Djokovic is at 11 above Lendl
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

Quote:
Originally Posted by asmazif View Post
yeh, rain was quite the top player in the early 2000s.

fun tourney - was another decent chance for Henman to do something big at the AO, he did land with some epic opening-up draws down under, but never took advantage. Tojo was rock solid in the final and thoroughly deserved his slam - would have far preferred Marat or Haaaasi taking it, however.
It's always puzzled me why Henman never did particularly well at the AO. I know it's a slow hardcourt but it wasn't as slow back then and he won a handful of pre AO warm up tournaments (and 2 Indian Wells finals and it's hardly screaming fast there). He should have at least completed his SF set there at some point or another.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:47 PM   #13
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saberq View Post
Djokovic is at 11 above Lendl
That's so depressing...
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

Koubek reaching the quarters was a huge shocker as well. He was a very solid clay court player but I never thought he'd come close to a QF in any of the other slams but the draw opened up in this one and he took advantage.

Jiri was a very good player BTW, excellent backhand and good counter-punching skills. This was a slam that suited him better than RG cause the field was so packed with dirtballing expertise at the time.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:18 PM   #15
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Default Re: FLASHBACK: Australian Open (2002)

Wouldn´t it be a good idea for you to make a series of threads like this one describing certain slams of the past that peaked your interest? I don´t want to put any pressure on you or anything, but you have an enjoyable style of writing and a lot of historical awareness, so it would be nice to hear your take on slams like Wimbledon 2003 or Australian Open 2005. My own memory of this tournament for instance is quite sketchy at best, so reading this was quite helpful in that regard.
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