Day two of the Australian Open in the second edition of The Daily Deuce for 2017 sees fewer Aussies in action but some of the biggest stars holding court, and not always with a racquet in hand.
Serena Williams airs her concerns on equality
Serena Williams pushed the message of equality in her post-match press conference after her straight-sets win on Tuesday.
Wearing a black t-shirt with the word “equality” printed across the front, Williams spoke of its importance on a day such as Martin Luther King Day.
On what equality means to her: “Yeah, well, with today being Martin Luther King Day, it’s important to spread the message of equality, which is something he talked about a lot and he tried to spread a lot, is equality and rights for everyone.
“… we really just want to speak up about things that we believe in and talk about equality.”
On if she’s concerned about future equality in the US: “I think it’s a concern for just everyone in general. We want to make sure we always continue to move forward and always have the opportunity to have equal rights for all.
“We don’t want to stop that forward movement. It’s just always great to raise awareness for it.”
She however would not answer when asked if she fears what is going to happen under the Donald Trump administration: “I don’t talk – I don’t have any comments on that.”
Soaring temperatures make life tough
It wasn’t the 38C predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology, but fans and players at Melbourne Park were still uncomfortable on day two of the grand slam.
The weather peaked at 35.4C just after midday but thankfully eased from there, staying in the low 30s for much of the day.
Some players particularly battled in the weather but others, like Brit Heather Watson, were non-plussed.
“I actually thought it was pretty cool for Australia,” said Watson, who does most of her training in Florida.
The New Daily asked those at Melbourne Park how they would cope with the heat – and whether they thought it was fair that players were made to play through the difficult conditions.
Karlovic aces his way to a record in epic five-setter
So what’s the last thing you want if you’re scheduled to play on such a stinking hot day? That would be an epic-five setter.
Big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic and his Argentinian opponent Horacio Zeballos were on court for five hours and 15 minutes – the second-longest match in Australian Open history (the record still belongs to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal for their titanic 2012 final which lasted five hours and 53 minutes).
The beanpole 20th seed eventually claimed a marathon five-set victory 6-7 (6-8) 3-6 7-5 6-2 22-20.
IT'S FINALLY OVER!! Giant Croat Ivo Karlovic has beaten Horacio Zeballos in five sets, winning the decider 22-20! pic.twitter.com/3l7praeFYP
— ABC Grandstand (@abcgrandstand) January 17, 2017
By number of games played – 84 – it was the longest Australian Open match since the introduction of tiebreaks in 1971.
Remarkably, the match could easily have lasted much longer, given Karlovic ended plenty of points before they could become rallies – he pounded down a new Australian Open record 75 aces. That’s almost a third of the total 234 points he won.
Karlovic and Zeballos’ fifth set alone lasted longer than either Djokovic or Nadal’s first-round wins.
Such was the serving dominance in the final set, the pair eked out just one break point each in the first 41 games.
Karlovic now plays Australia’s Andrew Whittington in the second round on Thursday.
Nadal: the colloquial Australian
Rafael Nadal returned to centre court without a hitch in his straight-sets win over Florian Mayer, but it was his love for fishing that made every Aussie grin.
Nadal on his love for fishing: “I think is a full package, no? Is not only about fishing. I love the sea. I am from an island. Is not just about fishing. Is about going out with the boat, be in the middle of the sea.
“I love all these kind of things, no? I love to be a little bit away sometimes with the boat, going out with the boat, to spend the night outside. For me, is something unique. That’s make me feel great. I relax myself. I love it.”
The New Daily was unable to confirm that he likes to fish wearing a blue singlet and sipping on a VB while in his undoubtedly humble tinnie.
Picture of the day
The ghost of Lleyton
It’s only been a year since Lleyton Hewitt last set foot on an Open court, but there’s already a new five-set sensation to hit Melbourne Park.
Belgium’s David Goffin puts Lleyton’s five-set record to shame, having won six of his last seven five-set matches. On Tuesday he reeled off the last 10 points in a row to seal victory over former Wimbledon junior champion Reilly Opelka.
‘That is so filthy’
Jim Courier may be missing his partner in crime Bruce McAvaney, but he didn’t show it with this “filthy” description of a Florian Mayer serve and drop shot against Rafael Nadal.
Jim’s taken the reins and by golly it is “delicious”.
— #7TENNIS 🎾 (@7tennis) January 17, 2017
Age shall not weary them
There’s an ATP veteran, and there’s an ATP veteran, and then there’s these two.
Dmitry Tursunov and Radek Stepanek, who are a combined 72 years old, battled it out for a spot in the second round.
Stepanek, 38, showed Tursunov, just four years his junior, he still had time on his side with a straight-sets 6-2 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 victory.
Lucie Safarova fended off nine (nine!) match points before defeating Yanina Wickmayer.
“But I was like, I’m just going to go for it and if she closes the match, well OK, but I’m just going to play my game. It’s exciting,” Safarova said after the match.
— #7TENNIS 🎾 (@7tennis) January 17, 2017
Well, it’s groundhog day … again
Few things are certain in in life – death, taxes and Sam Stosur being bundled out in round one. Read more about it here.
Stosur’s loss is her fifth first-round exit at the Australian Open and the second in a row. Talk about a home ground disadvantage.
The action heats up for the second round, with one-time champ Stan Wawrinka up against American Steve Johnson, while fellow Swiss and tennis great Roger Federer is also back on the court.
World No.1s Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber both play their second-round matches on Wednesday, as does Japan’s best hope Kei Nishikori.
Meanwhile, Venus Williams will have double duty, playing singles against Stefanie Voegele and teaming with her sister Serena in the doubles.
Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios top the list of Aussies to look out for, as well as Ashleigh Barty, Jaimee Fourlis, and Alex De Minaur.
Games to watch
From 11.00am – Rod Laver Arena
Angelique Kerber vs. Carina Witthoeft
Roger Federer vs. Noah Rubin
From 11.00am – Margaret Court Arena
Elina Svitolina vs. Julia Boserup
Stan Wawrinka vs. Steve Johnson
From 11.00am – Show Court 2
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Dusan Lajovic
Serena Williams & Venus Williams vs. Timea Babos & Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
From 6.00pm – Hisense Arena
Andreas Seppi vs. Nick Kyrgios
From 7.00pm – Rod Laver Arena
Andy Murray vs. Andrey Rublev
From 7.00pm – Margaret Court Arena
Ashleigh Barty vs. Shelby Rogers
Bernard Tomic vs. Victor Estrella Burgos