By Bill Simons
JUST WONDERING: Now that the best players in men’s and women’s tennis—Djokovic and Serena—have prevailed at the Aussie Open, what are the chances that we will get a true Grand Slam winner this year? … Can Djokovic replicate the dominance he showed in 2011, and can Serena capture the French Open and Wimbledon to claim a Serena (non-calendar) Slam like she did in 2002-3?
THE END OF MAGIC: During the Aussie Open, a reporter told Serena, “You were doing some mystical stuff or magic [out there].” But Williams, a Jehovah’s Witness, said she would have none of it: “I’m not involved in mystics or magic.”
THE CURIOUS DEMENTIEVA CONNECTION: After losing to Venus at Indian Wells in 2001, Russian Elena Dementieva was asked who would win the Serena vs. Venus semi. She stirred controversy when she said, “I think Richard will decide who’s going to win tomorrow.” Then last fall Dementieva was by Shamil Tarpachev‘s side on TV when the Russian tennis czar launched his ill-considered attacks on the champions he absurdly called “the Williams brothers.”
GO FIGURE: After Rafa‘s loss to Tomas Berdych in Melbourne, writer Nick McCarvel told him he played “a so-so match.” Nadal retorted: “No, not so-so, very bad. You can say [it], no problem” … This year’s Aussie Open was the first time Novak Djokovic and Serena won the same Slam … Both Nadal and Murray suffered bagel losses at the Aussie Open (at the hands of Berdych and Djokovic, respectively) … US Open wonder CiCi Bellis has reportedly been working with Nick Bollettieri, Sloane Stephens is back with coach Nick Saviano, and Genie Bouchard, who was a Saviano student, has hired Vika Azarenka‘s longtime coach Sam Sumyk. Meanwhile, Vika is working with Simona Halep‘s former coach Wim Fissette.
CRUSH CITY: After recalling how Serena bounced back from devastating losses to Sharapova at Wimbledon and Sam Stosur at the US Open, Pam Shriver said, “When she wants revenge, it’s crush city.”
OBVIOUS ANALYSES: After falling to Madison Keys at the Aussie Open, Petra Kvitova said, “I’m not the first to lose here and I won’t be the last.” … After getting through his first-round match, Lleyton Hewitt said, “Obviously, it helps” … When reflecting on her Aussie Open fourth-round match against Madison Brengle, Madison Keys said, “Obviously we are representing our name pretty well.”
• Venus Williams said, “This old cat has a few tricks left in the bag.”
• Mary Carillo said, “Koalas are stoned on eucalyptus all day long.”
• A bird pooped on Lindsay Davenport while she was watching Madison Keys beat Petra Kvitova.
• Nick Kyrgios‘ mother Norlaila said her son “might appear cocky, but it’s mostly a front. He has got to shield his inner self because it is very pressured out there. … He can growl like a lion … [or] even break a racket … I just ask him not to do it on purpose.’’
RIGHT—WOMEN CAN’T COACH: Not only did Lindsay Davenport inspire Madison Keys, who reached the Aussie Open semis; not only did Mary Joe Fernandez get the Williams sisters to show up and play Fed Cup in Argentina; also, Amelie Mauresmo coached Andy Murray to the Aussie Open final, and then, when her French Fed Cup team was down 2-0 to the often powerful Italians, she benched No. 1 player Alize Cornet in favor of Caroline Garcia, who kickstarted a three-match comeback for the win. All of which begs the question, has any man or woman had a more successful three weeks of coaching in men’s and woman’s tennis?