He made how much in 23 minutes? Which young Australians starred in the first round? And who is Andy Murray’s better-looking doppelgänger?
We answer all the big questions from day one of the Australian Open and more in the first edition of The Daily Deuce for 2017.
The tennis player who earned $2173 … per minute
Spaniard Nicolas Almagro was the subject of much criticism after his Australian Open campaign lasted just 23 minutes.
Almagro pulled the pin after trailing 4-0 in the first set against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy and former Australian player Todd Woodbridge suggested he only played for the money.
Despite his retirement, as a first-round loser Almagro will still pocket $50,000 in prize money.
And that equates to a whopping $2173.91 per minute – more than enough to get Almagro back home in comfort.
On his calf problem, Almagro said: “I think I can [could] play.
“I considered it [withdrawing]. But practising, I didn’t feel it.”
On criticism of his withdrawal/picking up prize fee: “I have more than 10 million dollars.”
Italian Luca Vanni joined Almagro in the sheds for an early exit, lasting 32 minutes before retiring hurt.
Vanni’s race was run when he pointed to his hip and clutched his shorts, as he explained his decision to his first-round opponent and 10th seed Tomas Berdych.
The Czech didn’t mind, winning through to the second round in just seven games.
Bernie’s new theme song
At Bernard Tomic’s match against Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil his usual Aussie cheer squad was in the stands but this time with a new addition to their repertoire.
They sang a rousing rendition of Let it Be by The Beatles but swapped the pivotal phrase for the name “Bernie T”. So “there will be an answer, Bernie T.”
It got lots of laughs from the crowd and even a rare reaction from Tomic, who gave them a subtle thumbs up and clapped with his racquet.
Fresh-faced Aussies thrill crowd
At just 17, Alex De Minaur showed maturity well beyond his years to win a five-set thriller.
De Minaur, ranked 301 in the world, rallied the crowd behind him with a gruelling 5-7 6-3 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 victory over Austrian Gerald Melzer.
The 17-year-old celebrated by taking selfies with the adoring crowd and signed his name on almost everything he could get his hands on, from pieces of paper to hats.
— David Zita 🌐 (@DavidZita1) January 16, 2017
“Unbelievable experience, definitely the pinnacle of my career right here,” he said after the match.
“I’m lost for words, the atmosphere was unbelievable, I’ve never felt this before. I couldn’t be happier.”
Not-so hot Coco
American Coco Vandeweghe appeared to be the first player to fall victim to Australia’s blistering sun.
Coco’s breakfast made a brief appearance on court as she was doubled over and receiving medical attention in the second set.
Remarkably, she recovered to beat 15th seed Roberta Vinci of Italy, 6-1 7-6 (7-3).
She said after the match it was not heatstroke, and that she had just started feeling nauseous.
Destanee to have ‘a great future’
Australian teenager Destanee Aiava has “a great future” ahead of her, according to her round-one conqueror Mona Barthel.
In her first ever Open campaign, Aiava, 16, crashed out in straight sets but didn’t go down without a fight, saving a match point and forcing a tiebreak in the second set.
She went on to save two more before succumbing to the German 6-3 7-6 (7-4).
“I think she’s definitely a great player,” Barthel said of Aiava.
“I mean, I wish I had served like that when I was 16.
“I think she has a great future. It’s always tough to predict, but I think she has great strokes, a lot of power and of course the next few years will show how she develops.”
Andy Murray’s better-looking doppelgänger
Jamie Murray, the brother of world No.1 Andy, was on his way to Melbourne Park when he was on the receiving end of an unexpected compliment from his Uber driver.
Jamie was clearly chuffed by the comparison, sharing the conversation on Twitter.
Uber driver "hey, you look like @andy_murray."
Me – "yeh I get that a lot"
Uber Driver – "you're much better looking mind you." Cheers Mate!
— Jamie Murray (@jamie_murray) January 16, 2017
Battle of the bottle
That, Sir Andy is a water bottle. A frozen water bottle.
Murray’s confused look did the rounds on social media, and for your viewing pleasure, here’s his reaction.
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) January 16, 2017
Nick Kyrgios cruised to a first-round win against Gastao Elias, but he didn’t have everything his own way after requiring a medical timeout to fix a nose bleed.
The trainer was forced to take cover as Kyrgios’ sneezing struck at the worst possible time for the world No.13.
What’s on today
The Australian Open steps up a gear on the second day, with reigning champ Novak Djokovic returning to defend his title.
His opponent? Fernando Verdasco, who defeated former No.1 Rafael Nadal in the first round last year, could provide “the Joker” a surprising first-up loss.
Meanwhile, Serena Williams will start her campaign for her 22nd major title against Belinda Bencic. Caroline Wozniacki, David Ferrer and exciting Frenchman Gael Monfils all play their first-round matches on Tuesday.
Samantha Stosur tops the list of Australians to watch out for, with Andrew Whittington, Lizette Cabrera, Blake Mott, Alex Bolt, Jordan Thompson, Omar Jasika, Arina Rodionova, Christopher O’Connell and Daria Gavrilova also hitting the court for their opening encounters.
Games to watch:
From 11.00am – Rod Laver Arena
Karolina Pliskova vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo
Serena Williams vs. Belinda Bencic
Rafael Nadal vs. Florian Mayer
From 11.00am – Margaret Court Arena
Milos Raonic vs. Dustin Brown
Samantha Stosur vs Heather Watson
From 11.00am – Hisense Arena
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Arina Rodionova
Omar Jasika vs David Ferrer
From 7.00pm – Rod Laver Arena
Fernando Verdasco vs. Novak Djokovic
Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Tsvetana Pironkova
The New Daily will publish the Daily Deuce each day throughout the Australian Open.