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FEDERER/WOZNIACKI STUNNING NEW HIGHS

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2018 AUSTRALIAN SUMMER

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FEB / MAR 2018 A$7.50 / NZ$8.40 / US$7.50

tennismag.com.au


contents FEBRUARY / MARCH 2018 VOL.43 NO.2

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GOOD TIMES FOR CAROLINE A memorable Australian Open concluded with the sweetest reward for Caroline Wozniacki – a first Grand Slam title and return to No.1.

FEATURES 24 DYLAN DOES IT AGAIN

Becoming the first man to win four consecutive Australian Open titles, quad wheelchair player Dylan Alcott also continues to build the profile of his sport.

25 HISTORY: OLD AND NEW

History was not only created at Australian Open 2018, it was celebrated too.

26 SAY WHAT?!

As the world’s best players entertained on court at Australian Open 2018, they also showed their colourful personalities in press.

30 AN AUSTRALIAN SUMMER TO REMEMBER With many career-best results and noteworthy performances, Australian stars stepped up this summer.

62 MELBOURNE MILESTONES

Breakthrough performances cast new names, including Elise Mertens and Kyle Edmund, into the world tennis spotlight.

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FEDERER’S TOP 20

The Melbourne Park fairytale continued for ageless Roger Federer, with a record-equalling sixth Australian title and a magical 20th major.


REGULARS 6 46 50 52 56 54 66 78 72 74

FIRST SERVE FAN ZONE BREAKPOINTS ONE TO WATCH TOP TEN TWENTY QUESTIONS RANKINGS SCOREBOARD KIDS' CLUB LAST WORD

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INSPIRED AND INSPIRING Teenage sensation Alex De Minaur was among the biggest stories to emerge from the Australian summer.

EDITOR Vivienne Christie ASSISTANT EDITORS Leigh Rogers Daniela Toleski FOUNDING EDITOR Alan Trengove GRAPHIC DESIGNER Andrea Williamson Melissa O'Connor Trevor Bridger ADVERTISING MANAGER Nicole Hearnden

ADMINISTRATION & SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER Vanessa Skendaris PHOTOGRAPHS Getty Images John Anthony COVER PHOTO Getty Images COVER DESIGN & PHOTO EDITING Andrew Hutchison AFL Media

Australian Tennis Magazine is published by TENNIS AUSTRALIA LTD, Private Bag 6060, Richmond, Vic 3121. Ph: (03) 9914 4200 Email: editor@tennismag.com.au Distributed by Network Distribution Company Printed in Australia by Webstar The views expressed in Australian Tennis Magazine are not necessarily those held by Tennis Australia. While the utmost care is taken in compiling the information contained in this publication, Tennis Australia is not responsible for any loss or injury occurring as a result of any omissions in either the editorial or advertising appearing herein.

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FULL FOCUS All eyes were on a 21-year-old from South Korea as he lit up the Australian Open with a historymaking run to a first Grand Slam semifinal. For that man himself, Hyeon Chung, the broader focus is on the exciting things still to come.


FIRST SERVE

True CHAMPIONS

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s Roger Federer soared to a sixth Australian Open title with customary skill and grace, the most remarkable fact was not that he’d claimed a 20th Grand Slam at age 36 with such artistry – but that tennis itself is arguably not even his biggest strength. While easing through round after round in his 19th Australian Open before victory in a scintillating five-set final, Federer not only showcased his usual on-court ability but also depth of character with endless support for his peers. There were reassuring words to Alexander Zverev after the

fourth-seeded German was devastated to lose in the third round; an immediate text sent to injured rival Rafael Nadal. Equally enlightening was news that Federer had spent time with finals opponent Marin Cilic on a recent holiday to the Maldives. “It was just nice and relaxed,” said the Swiss. “(A chance) to get to know the man behind the player.” Any wonder that alongside being publicly voted as the ATP’s Fan Favourite for the past 15 years, Federer is also the recipient of 13 Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Awards, voted by his peers. And that grace is far from limited to the men’s tour. As

Federer expanded on his own new milestone in the post final media conference, there was praise for newly-crowned women’s champion Caroline Wozniacki and empathy for Simona Halep as runner-up. “I was very happy for (Caroline), but also at the same time very sad for Simona,” said Roger. “They both had brutal tournaments. Winning the first one clearly is incredibly special. I'm sure she's over the moon right now, which she should be.” Wozniacki herself had also showed qualities beyond the playing kind as she twice apologised to the gallant Halep

ROGER FEDERER

“I was very happy for (Caroline) but at the same time very sad for Simona.” on court. “It was an incredible match, an incredible fight, again I’m sorry,” said the Dane, to rapturous applause from fans. That bittersweet spot as the vanquished finalist is one that Wozniacki knows well after she was runner-up at the US Open in 2009 and 2014. Still, those experiences are at no cost to close friendships – the winner of that latter final was Serena Williams, who was watching the AO2018 final from home in the US and quick to congratulate the new champion. “Obviously she’s a close friend of mine. It means a lot she was supporting and following. She's just the best. It's awesome,” Wozniacki beamed. Of course, you could argue it’s easy to be gracious with such important trophies in hand. At the same time, the qualities that have made the AO2018 victors such true champions have been forged in some difficult losses too. While many would love to emulate Federer and Wozniacki as players, it might ultimately be more rewarding to match their strengths as people too. Vivienne Christie editor@tennismag.com.au

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Choose a sport they can play forever‌ Tennis!


Stunning NEW HIGHS Roger Federer raised the bar once again and Caroline Wozniacki achieved career bests of her own as stunning new highs were set at another record-breaking Australian Open.

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN

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JOHN ANTHONY / ISPA

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN

TOP 20

The Melbourne Park fairytale continues for ageless Roger Federer, with a recordequalling sixth Australian title and a magical 20th major. By SUZI PETKOVSKI

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lenty was different at Australian Open 2018 compared to the dream 2017 chapter but the ending was gloriously the same: Roger Federer awash in teary triumph after a five-set win – this time over a gallant Marin Cilic, 6-2 6-7(5) 6-3 3-6 6-1 – extending his record Grand Slam haul to 20. Rod Laver taking a selfie of the historic moment sparked an emotional ovation and more tears from the overwhelmed champion. “I was so bloody nervous all day,” Federer explained, of the extended (even for him) waterworks.

“How would I feel if I won it? How would I feel if I lost it? I was going through the whole match like this. I’ve had these moments in the past, but maybe never as extreme as tonight.” This was the first men’s singles final at Melbourne Park played entirely indoors. Recent Wimbledon finalists and holiday hitting partners in the Maldives, the two gentlemanly types took the court in old-school allwhites, Cilic the first Croat in an Australian Open final, Federer appearing in his record seventh. The Swiss blitzed the start, winning 16 of 20 points and snapping up the first set in 24

minutes. Cilic threatened to flip the script when he wrested the second-set tiebreak despite never breaking serve. As Federer, attempting to keep the points curt, fell into error and missed first serves, Cilic dominated rallies with his forehand and swamped the net. When Cilic surged again in the fourth, sweeping six of seven games to force a decider, the momentum was his. Two missed break points for Cilic in the opening game of the fifth set turned the tide again. “I went for my shots,” said the composed 29-year-old. “Didn’t make them.”

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN

GOOD TIMES FOR

Caroline A memorable Australian Open concluded with the sweetest reward for Caroline Wozniacki – a first Grand Slam title and return to No.1. LEIGH ROGERS reports

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s a beaming Caroline Wozniacki walked off Rod Laver Arena, a fi rst Grand Slam trophy in hand, Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline played throughout the stadium. Sweet Caroline. Good times never seemed so good. It was an apt song choice for what was, without doubt, the sweetest victory of the 27-year-old’s career. She had just scored a 7-6(2) 3-6 6-4 victory over top seed Simona Halep in her 149th Grand Slam match. It was her 107th win in her 43rd Grand Slam event. But this result was not about the numbers – it was an emotional triumph of resilience. A sensational victory that showcased the power of believing and never giving up on a dream.

A DRAMATIC SHOWDOWN

It had been three years since the world No.1 and world No.2 had faced-off in a tour-level women’s singles final – and it almost did not happen again. Reigning world No.1 Halep’s campaign got off to a shaky start, injuring her ankle in an unconvincing first-round win over Australian

wildcard Destanee Aiava. She then saved three match points in a near four-hour titanic tussle with American Lauren Davis in the third round, equaling the tournament record for most games played in a women’s singles match in a 4-6 6-4 15-13 win. After dominating world No.6 Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals, the 26-year-old Romanian had to draw on her steely fighting qualities again to get past


FEATURE

FULL FOCU HYEON CHUNG

All eyes were on a 21-year-old from South Korea as he lit up the Australian Open with a history-making run to a first Grand Slam semifinal. For that man himself, Hyeon Chung, the broader focus is on the exciting things still to come. VIVIENNE CHRISTIE reports

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he story of Hyeon Chung’s start in the game is by now well known. Suffering from weak eyesight, a doctor suggested to his parents that tennis could help their young son, with the associated green colours providing a better focus point than words in a book. What nobody could have known, however, is what sage

advice that would turn out to be. From that unlikely start at the age of six, the 21-year-old went on to become the fi rst South Korean to reach a Grand Slam semifi nal at the 2018 Australian Open and the youngest at Melbourne Park since Marat Safi n in 2004. Lighting up Melbourne Park with his whipping movement and electrifying groundstrokes, Chung also showed a fearless

“I just think he’s cool … he’s super-fast, he does the splits plays some exciting tennis (and) plays some incredible shots. It’s just exciting to watch.” NEVILLE GODWIN – COACH 42

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approach against the game’s biggest names. Fourth seed Alexander Zverev stunned in five sets in the third round, Chung followed up with an upset of Novak Djokovic, delivering the six-time champion with his fi rst straight-sets loss in Melbourne since 2007. “I think I’m not tired because I win,” grinned the world No.58 Chung as he maintained form

with a straight-sets quarterfi nal win over Tennys Sandgren. “When I win the match against top player, never tired. Just happy, no? Mentally happy, nothing tired.” Clearly, the focus that was integral to his start in tennis all those years ago applied in more than a literal sense – and it had also applied in a far bigger pressure point than in a Grand Slam semifi nal four years ago. In 2014, Chung faced the possibility of a 21-month stint of compulsory military service, which would have almost certainly derailed his professional tennis career. Competing at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, the 16-year-old and his partner Yong-Kyu Lim, needed a gold medal victory to gain the special exemption reserved for those who win a title in such major international events. The South Korean pair saved four match points against Indian players Yuki Bhambri and Divij Sharan in the semifi nal before an easier win against Saketh Myneni and Sanam Singh in the fi nal. “If I lose that match, maybe I am not here now. I would have to go to the army,” Chung told the New York Times. While the ability to handle such pressure as a teenager helps explain Chung’s composure on the big stage at Melbourne Park, it doesn’t fully credit the hard work and savvy that helped him progress to that point. Helped by his father, Seok-Jin, a player turned coach, Chung developed his game alongside brother Hong. The pair would hit for hours on makeshift courts at or near their Suwon home, each with a hero they were trying to emulate.


CUS Hong, two years older and a left-handed player, loved Rafael Nadal. Hyeon, inspired by the fi nal of Australian Open 2008 – one of his fi rst experiences of watching a Grand Slam on TV – chose Djokovic. “I’m just trying to play (like) Novak because he was playing good in baseline and he mentally really strong as well,” the South Korean explained. At age 19, a first match against his hero was understandably overwhelming and Chung lost to the eventual champion in the first round of AO2016 in straight sets. But two years on, momentum and confidence helped by his

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FEATURE

ALEX DE MINAUR

G N I R I INSP INSPIRED AND

Alex De Minaur was one of the biggest stories to emerge from the Australian summer, with fans throwing their support behind a teenage sensation showcasing absurd talent, competitive drive and passion for the game. Even more exciting? He is only going to improve. MATT TROLLOPE reports

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ennis fans love hearing from players about which other players inspire them. Take the crowd’s response, for example, to Hyeon Chung at the Australian Open, when the Korean, after beating Novak Djokovic in the fourth round, was asked how he played his skidding, screeching winners from all corners of the court, reminiscent of the great Serb. “I don’t know. When I’m young I’m just trying to copy Novak because he’s my idol,” he laughed, to huge cheers from the fans at Rod Laver Arena. Alex De Minaur is in a similar situation to Chung, but inspired by a different player. The young Aussie, just 18 years of age, is mentored by two-time Grand Slam champion and former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt, now Australia’s Davis Cup captain. And De Minaur revealed recently that watching Hewitt had inspired him in his early days when he was learning the game as a young child. “I remember watching Lleyton play and that was the biggest thrill for me,” he said in January. “I used to watch his

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matches and then get out in the garage and try to hit balls against the wall and try to be like him.” De Minaur would also use those sessions to work on things he was focusing on in his game, and would create championship scenarios in his head, such as rallying to win Wimbledon or arriving at match point at the French Open. This is a player who, from a young age, has clearly lived and breathed the game. That passion was evident in a breakthrough run for the teenager this summer in Australia, during which he rose from semi-obscurity to become a popular national sporting figure in the space of just a few weeks. Tennis insiders were always aware of the Sydney-born player who has spent roughly half his life in Australia and the other half in Spain, where he was based during his junior developmental years. He’d won Australian national championship titles in 2013 (14s) and 2014 (16s) as well as representing Australia in the Junior Davis Cup in 2015. He’d also posted impressive results at the junior Grand Slams, the


ALEX DE MINAUR

“I remember watching Lleyton play and that was the biggest thrill. I used to try to be like him.”

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Australian Tennis Magazine - February/March 2018  

2018 Australian Summer Souvenir Edition

Australian Tennis Magazine - February/March 2018  

2018 Australian Summer Souvenir Edition