Was this the greatest Australian Open of all-time?

junior74

Talk Tennis Guru
The level of tennis was not impressive, but there were great drama and a fair amount of choking for us to enjoy.

From recent memory, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2017 were tournaments of higher quality, at least on the men's side.

I find it moving that Kyrgios is used as a sign of quality. Never thought that would happen from a Rafa fan, kudos @weakera !
 

BGod

Legend
No, still one of the worst despite some dramatic matches. I mean the semifinals were a bust and objectively speaking the Felix and Shap matches had a lot of choking as opposed to amazing quality tennis. Women's side was relatively routine. How was it great outside of the men's final, which again had a lot of choking?
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
In terms of media coverage and historical significance this AO could well turn out to be the "best." I can recall only one time TTW was buzzing with as much activity, hand-wringing, fire & brimstone, and plain idiocy as in the lead-up to this Open, and that was in the aftermath of the infamous "I don't have any money" spat between Pistol and Dre with Fedal uncomfortably looking on. In both cases it really felt like every cultist, prig, nutjob and blowhard was ready to offer their own unsolicited takes on the matter, except that the Hit for Haiti fallout was relatively short-lived while the Novaxx situation seemed to drag on forever while attracting international attention from well beyond the tennis community.

Of course we'll never know what would've have happened with Novak competing... except I do. Barty winning with her high-tennis-IQ game was nice, though.

But unlike the anti-vax crazies I don't care for Novak's "principles," which means this AO overshadowed by the legal wrangling and the sanity-versus-crackpottery "culture" war cannot be the best ever. Which one, then? For a somewhat fair comparison we've gotta look from the mid-1990s on cuz the dump of a major didn't switch to HC till '88 and many a top player including Dre and Pistol continued to skip it till '95. Among these candidates I see 15 with at least one SF/F plus a 4th-rounder (try to guess which one) that went the distance:

2000 - Agassi-Sampras SF
2001 - Clément-Grosjean and Agassi-Rafter SFs
2002 - Safin-Haas and T. Johansson-Novák SFs
2004 - Safin-Agassi SF
2005 - Safin-Federer SF
2006 - Baghdatis-Nalbandian SF
2009 - Nadal-Verdasco SF and Nadal-Federer F
2012 - Djokovic-Murray SF and Djokovic-Nadal F
2013 - Djokovic-Wawrinka 4R and Murray-Federer SF
2015 - Djokovic-Wawrinka SF
2016 - Murray-Raonic SF
2017 - Federer-Wawrinka and Nadal-Dimitrov SFs and Federer-Nadal F
2018 - Federer-Čilić F
2020 - Djokovic-Thiem F
2022 - Nadal-Medvedev F

That '00 SF was one of the most underrated of any major and the 4th-set TB is the best in AO history (OE), but Pistol's injury early on does relegate the match/tournament under the what-if column. Ditto Rafter's cramping vs. Dre in '01 and nobody frankly gives a crap about the other SF between the Frenchmen, the '06 one between Baggy and Nalby or even the '16 harbinger between Muzz and Milos (of course their next meeting at SW19 wouldn't be nearly as competitive). Another ditto with ToJo vs. Novák in '02, though Marat vs. Tommy should've been fun (another one on my watchlist). The '04 Marat-Dre showdown was a cracker with some of the hardest, crispiest hitting you'll ever see, but it took a toll on the Russian and Fred took care of him easily in straights.

Now we come to the (fake-)Big 3 matches. I've never fully taken to the popular '05 SF and there was no other notable 5-setter in the later rounds (unless you count Rusty's 5-set Ws over Youngdal and Nalby), so that one is out. Ditto the '12 F and the Nole-Muzz SF is the first time in my experience watching a big Slam match felt like a chore (if on replay). I've yet to see the '15 SF but it can't have been better than the '13 classic. Ditto the '18 F (this was in the middle of the Trump years when I was losing much interest in sports), and we all can agree that the '20 and '22 finals wouldn't make any (sane) fan's best-AO list.

That leaves us with '09, '13 and '17. The latter can boast being the only edition with all of its three late matches ending in 5, but while they were all excellent each of 'em yields to the certified classics in '09 and '13. The Nole-Stan (near) shocker gets my unimpeachable vote as the best AO match of the modern era, but the Muzz-Fred SF was just about the most lopsided 5-setter you're likely to see. So '13 places 2nd to '09, with two corkers of nearly unrivaled quality and drama. In fact I'd be strongly tempted to place the '09 F over the '13 4R if not for Fraud's complete meltdown in the 5th, and I also retain fond memories of both Gonzo and Gasquet of all people playing like warriors en fuego, Fred's escape act vs. the Birdman, and even Dasco-Muzz living up to my expectations (I knew Verd was for real when he double-bageled the Worm in the previous round).

So there it is, 2009 as the best AO ever. Hizztorians are welcome to chime in with valid pre-OE picks if they've got any.
 

malbaker86

Hall of Fame
2022 AO needs more time to breathe. It’ll be elevated in the next 5+ years depending on how the next gen shapes out
 
Top