Blogs & Opinion


Features:

All eyes will be on local favourite Andy Murray as he attempts to cap another impressive year with victory in London.

Australian Open: Andy Murray braved heat and all set to make second week

Features - Barry Cowan Posted 14th January 2014 view comments

With conditions as hot as they are at the Australia Open, Andy Murray will be delighted that he polished off Go Soeda in quick fashion.

You don't want to get yourself in a hole early on and then have it affect you down the line - but Andy didn't do that and, after winning 6-1, 6-1, 6-3, you have to give him 9.5 out of 10.

Not wasting energy physically and mentally in the opening rounds of Slams - both on the court and off it - is an area where Andy has improved greatly; he used to always have four or five set matches but now he comes through these hurdles more easily.

Murray in a hurry: Brit dispatched Soeda in straight sets

Murray in a hurry: Brit dispatched Soeda in straight sets

We still don't know how Murray will fare against a top-10 player as he hasn't been at that level since September, but looking at the draw - he faces French qualifier Vincent Millot in round two and probably Feliciano Lopez after that - I think he will make the second week without dropping a set.

Terrible

Things were pretty routine for the big boys in round one in Melbourne but a few of the guys in the second tier have caught my eye.

Dimitrov has got to earn his corn and get through to the second week of a major.

Barry Cowan
Quotes of the week

Grigor Dimitrov - who came through America's Bradley Klahn in four sets - needs to kick on because he has disappointed since he surrendered pretty meekly to Novak Djokovic in the third round of the French Open.

He was terrible at Wimbledon and the US Open, so has got to earn his corn and get through to the second week of a major, while Milos Raonic should be thinking that way, too.

But one guy I think will do really well in this tournament is Gael Monfils, who beat Ryan Harrison in three sets first up, played well in Doha last week whilst getting to the final, and should be in or around the top 10 at the end of the year.

Monfils will face Jack Sock in round two but Lleyton Hewitt's tournament is over after he lost to Andreas Seppi and although he beat Federer to win a tournament in Brisbane last week, the defeat was not a great surprise.

When you get to your 30s and have endured as many injuries as Lleyton has, you never lose the ability to play great tennis and win big matches, but you do lose the ability to perform consistently week in, week out.

Your body slows down and it becomes tougher to recover, which is something Federer will find out and something Venus Williams, sent packing in the first round by Ekaterina Makarova, has already discovered.

Capable

Venus' time at the top has slipped away but I think she will have decent year.

Her sister, Serena, is in great form and so I think playing doubles with her will help Venus find her feet as well and she is more than capable of getting back in the world's top 20.

Venus is far from the force she was and that must be frustrating for her, I have always been reluctant to tell people to retire because everybody's goals are different.

If her goal is to become world number one I would tell her to pack it in because that's not going to happen, but if her viewpoint is that she loves competing and is a long time retired, then she should stay out there as long as she can.

Laura Robson has a lot of time left in tennis but she needs to make her move quickly; she is 20 next week and must do a lot of soul searching in order to fulfil her potential and not end up like Bernard Tomic.

Heather Watson is out of the Australian Open, too - although she had a very tough draw against former Melbourne semi-finalist Daniela Hantuchova - which means Murray is once again the only Brit left standing.

Let's hope that's still the case on Sunday week.

back to top

Other Tennis Experts:

Latest Posts in Tennis:

Latest News RSS feeds

Davis Cup - Latest

Score updates from the Davis Cup final as France's Richard Gasquet take on Switzerland's Roger Federer in the opening reverse singles.

Gasquet named to play Federer

Richard Gasquet will replace Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for France against Switzerland's Roger Federer in the Davis Cup final.

Swiss close in on first title

Switzerland moved into a 2-1 lead over France in the Davis Cup final thanks to a straight-sets doubles win.

Fed and Wawrinka partnered

Roger Federer will team up with Stan Wawrinka in the doubles contest at the Davis Cup final against France in Lille.

Honours even in Lille

Gael Monfils levelled the Davis Cup final between France and Switzerland with a 6-1 6-4 6-3 victory over Roger Federer.

Features

Davis Cup final 2014: France take on Switzerland at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille

Davis Cup final 2014: France take on Switzerland at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille

Switzerland, spearheaded by a fit again 17-time grand slam champion Roger Federer, take on France on the clay courts of the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille in a tantalising finale to the tennis season.

Tennis in 2014: Djokovic's genius, Federer's flawlessness and a host of new talent

Tennis in 2014: Djokovic's genius, Federer's flawlessness and a host of new talent

As 2014 rumbles to a close, the usual suspects stand tall. The year belongs to the imperious Novak Djokovic and his evolving methods of keeping the chasing pack at an arm’s length, but critical to his ascension are the rebirth of Roger Federer and the relentlessness of a group of young pretenders.

Stars in the crowd at ATP World Tour finals

Stars in the crowd at ATP World Tour finals

We look at some of the famous faces and sports stars who attended the ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena.