Sat. May 18th, 2024

Another COVID Casualty

The global pandemic has apparently claimed another victim as reports circulated over the weekend that the Australian Open would, for the first time since 1987, not be held in January. Although a final decision has not been made, several sources are adamant that the Down Under Grand Slam event will be moved to March or April. 

Brett Phillips, an Australian tennis commentator, stated on SEN (Sports Entertainment Network) radio, an all-sports AM station in Melbourne, that he is convinced the tournament will be moved based on what he has gleaned from industry insiders.

“It’s chaos, it’s delicate discussions, it’s crazy,” Phillips said.

“It’s incredible times for TA. I’d hate to be a TA administrator or a sports administrator full stop in 2020.

“Next year, it’s not going to get back to normal for so many sports. There’s breaking news by the hour with the Australian Open.

“My strong feeling, just on the situation that’s happened in Victoria in the past seven or eight months and our Premier, who’s taken a fair bit of criticism for the whole hotel quarantine bungle, is that they’re taking a very cautious approach.

“I’ve just got a very strong feeling that the Australian Open will be pushed back possibly to March or April. This is certainly one of the scenarios that was on the table, it was talked about.

“There’s no doubt the Australian Open won’t happen on its scheduled date. It’s just a matter of whether they move it back a week or do they push it back to March, April.”

When we do get the final word on when the Aussie Open will take place, you can be certain that one of the preeminent betting sites will be offering odds and bonuses on this and all the other tennis events in 2021. 

Is Time Running Out on Serena?

When the curtain closes on her illustrious career, Serena Williams will be heralded as the greatest female tennis player ever to grace the court. She has 23 Grand Slam titles to her credit, 39 if you count her 14 women’s doubles and two mixed-doubles championships, and has dominated the sport in a way that few if any women ever have.

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Earlier this season, the Tennis Channel ranked the top 10 female tennis players of all time and it was no surprise to see Serena at No. 1 when the list was revealed. Below are the results:

  1. Serena Williams
  2. Martina Navratilova
  3. Steffi Graf
  4. Chris Evert
  5. Billie Jean King
  6. Margaret Court
  7. Monica Seles
  8. Venus Williams
  9. Justine Henin
  10. Maria Sharapova

And while you might disagree with the precise placement of the aforementioned legends, it’s a tall task to argue against Serena being at the tippity top of the heap. But this year has not been kind to the 39-year-old superstar as she failed to win a grand slam event again this year. It is the third consecutive season she has gone without pocketing a Grand Slam title, the longest drought of her career.

But more pressing could be her pursuit of Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, with some starting to believe that there is not enough gas left in Serena’s tank to get that record-tying title, let alone two more which would make her the undisputed queen of the court. 

Consider for a moment that of the current top 10 women’s tennis players in the world, Serena is 10 years older than the oldest of the lot, Romania’s 29-year-old Simona Halep. It’s a young breed of talented female players and how Serena will overcome those odds at her advanced age is anybody’s guess. 

However, if you have been watching Williams over her nearly 25-year career, you would know that doubting her is never a good idea. She narrowly missed the top 10 this season, trailing 22-year-old Belarusian, Aryna Sabalenka, by 140 points, placing her 11th in the world.

The final 2020 WTA rankings are as follows:

  1. Ash Barty – 8717 points
  2. Simona Halep – 7255 points
  3. Naomi Osaka – 5780 points
  4. Sofia Kenin – 5760 points
  5. Elina Svitolina – 5260 points
  6. Karolina Pliskova – 5205 points
  7. Bianca Andreescu – 4555 points
  8. Petra Kvitova – 4516 points
  9. Kiki Bertens – 4505 points
  10. Aryna Sabalenka – 4220 points

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