First Round Blues for Americans at Australian
Most of the top American seeds have lost in the opening round. On the women’s side, both Venus Williams (5), Coco Vandeweghe (10), and Sloan Stephens (13) were upset. On the men’s side Jack Sock (8), and John Isner (16) were upset. The highest American seeds remaining are Madison Keys (17) and Sam Querrey (13). Both have the potential to go deep in the draw.
The string of American upsets is puzzling, especially for Williams, Vandeweghe, Stephens, and Sock. These are players that had an amazing 2017. Williams appeared in two slam finals, Stephens won the US Open, and Jack sock won his first Masters series tournament in Paris, and finished the year in the top 8.
So what gives? I think we need to put this into a bit of perspective. The Australian Open has always been a bit tough on the top players. Historically, many of the top players bow out early in this tournament. It can be argued that it’s tough for many players to start the year off playing a Grand Slam, especially one where on court temperatures can top 140 Fahrenheit on court. Many of these players have spent the month of December with family and friends not thinking about tennis. Many may not be prepared for the sweltering conditions.
It is well known that Andre Agassi would not take any time off during the off season to run up and down a hill, nicknamed “Magic Mountain,” in the Nevada desert heat. You can read more about Agassi’s training regiment here. His fitness was one of the reasons he won three out of four Australian Open’s between 2000 and 2003. He was simply fitter than the entire field when the Australian rolled around.
I predict we will see more seeds fall and we’ll have a couple of outsiders take advantage, as in years past. Either way, it should be a fun ride!