When most people play tennis, they accessorise with a hat, some sunscreen and possibly sweatbands.
When you’re Rafael Nadal, you rock a watch worth over $1 million with your sweatbands.
The 14-time grand slam champion has been spotted wearing three different, very expensive timepieces from luxury Swiss brand Richard Mille during his Australian Open run.
Most recently, he wore a custom-designed orange tourbillon sports watch worth an estimated $US775,000 – or over $A1 million.
The RM 27-02 is one of several watches the company has designed for Nadal – one of which was stolen from Nadal’s room by a hotel barman after the 2012 French Open.
“For me, when I’m going on the court and I don’t have the watch with me, there’s something missing,” Nadal has said of his pricey collectibles.
“It costs so much because it is an extreme watch.”
The final that is a ‘win-win situation’
Sisters Serena and Venus Williams will play each other in a grand slam final for the ninth time on Saturday – but the first since 2009.
That was Venus’ last grand slam final, but her little sister has played in 14 since – winning 11.
The pair probably thought the chance would never come again, but Venus saw off CoCo Vandeweghe in three sets and Serena blitzed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni on Thursday to set up the unlikely match.
“It’s been a while … this probably is the moment of our careers so far,” Serena said.
“I never lost hope of us being able to play each other in a final … I was just so happy [after Venus’ win]. It was so, so exciting.
“After everything that Venus has been through with her illness [Sjogren’s Syndrome] and stuff, I just can’t help but feel like it’s a win-win situation for me.
“I was there for the whole time. We lived together. I know what she went through.”
And as for Venus?
“I know that it won’t be easy – you have to control yourself, then you also have to hopefully put your opponent in a box,” she said.
“This opponent is your sister, and she’s super awesome. It’s wonderful.”
‘I don’t care at all’
Lucic-Baroni’s progression through the women’s singles has, perhaps, been the feel good story of the tournament.
She was knocked out on Thursday, though, and after her defeat said she had had enough tennis.
“Would you believe me if I tell you that I don’t care at all?” she responded when asked for a final tip.
“I hope it doesn’t sound the way it sounded … I’m sure it’s going to be a great final.
“I’m going to be on a plane, flying home, see my family, get a little bit of rest. So, yeah, I’m done. I’m not going to watch.”
Picture of the day
Joy for Alcott, Groth and Stosur
Australians haven’t had much to cheer about in the men’s or women’s singles, or the juniors, but John Newcombe Medallist Dylan Alcott gave us something to be happy about on Thursday.
Alcott, going for three straight quad wheelchair singles titles, beat Brit Andy Lapthorne 6-4 6-1 to continue his push for the title.
Sam Groth and Sam Stosur also won on Thursday, toppling Leander Paes and Martina Hingis 6-3 6-2 in the mixed doubles to reach the semi-finals.
Unfortunately, in the men’s doubles, Aussie pair Marc Polmans and Andrew Whittington could not back up their win over the top seeds, losing in straight sets to Finn Henri Kontinen and Australia’s John Peers.
Andy Roddick’s mischievous side
In an interview in the ‘Twitter Blue Room’, the retired Roddick – inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this week – revealed that, at the age of just nine, he snuck into the players’ lounge at the US Open.
And what did he do in there?
Play video games with Pete Sampras, as you do.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2017
A winning team is a happy team
American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic have enjoyed a successful tournament in the women’s doubles.
The pair, who have won three grand slam titles together, have reached this year’s final and it’s clear they are enjoying themselves off-court.
They are known as ‘Team Bucie’ and this is what they get up to before a match.
Warning: some of the language in the song is explicit.
A video posted by MATTeK-SaNDS (@matteksands) on
Speaking of doubles duos …
How about this celebration from the Bryan brothers during their win over Spanish pair Pablo Carreno-Busta and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the men’s doubles semi-final?
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2017
What’s on for Friday
All eyes will be on Rafael Nadal as he meets Grigor Dimitrov in a semi-final in the night match on Rod Laver Arena, starting at 7.30pm (local time).
The pair have met eight times with Nadal winning seven, but the Bulgarian won the last clash in straight sets in China last year.
Before the semi-final, ‘Team Bucie’ meet Andrea Hlavackova and Shuai Peng in the women’s doubles decider.
There’s also the finals of the men’s and women’s wheelchair doubles on a busy day of action on centre court.