Tales of Tennis from the Land Down Under: Recap of the 2024 Australian Open

Sinner raising the Mens Singles Australian open trophy. (David Gray)
Sinner raising the Men’s Singles Australian open trophy. (David Gray)

From underdogs reigning over the greats, to incredible comebacks from behind, the Australian Open provided nothing short of quality tennis for viewers around the world. In its 112th edition, the January tennis tournament brought together the best players in the world to compete for the title in men’s and women’s events, respectively.

Beginning on the second Sunday of the month, marking the first time the tournament began on a Sunday, players from all over the world visited Australia to compete for the title in their respective events, including singles, doubles, mixed doubles, and wheelchair competition. Attendance for the tournament reached an all-time record high of 1,020,763, being the first Grand Slam tournament (French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open) to reach a million spectators. This year, the prize pool for all competitors reached an all time high of AU$86 Million, with singles winners taking home AU$3 Million each, according to ausopen.com.

Men’s Singles

What better ending for the young Italian star than winning his first grand slam? That was the case for rising star Jannik Sinner from Italy, who defeated three-time Australian Open finalist Daniil Medvedev from Russia in an unforeseen comeback in five sets. Sinner entered the tournament with an ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) rank of 4, defeating three top-five players throughout the tournament, including defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, a Serbian ranked 1st in ATP rankings, in the semi-finals.

Sammy Davis, a senior at Morton West and Boys Varsity player of the Morton Tennis team, commented on the young Italian’s talented run. “Sinner gave a very good demonstration of what he can do at such a young age,” Davis states. “He’s making a bigger impact, compared to Alcaraz, for example, who’s also his age and in the same category of new players.”

Carlos Alcaraz from Spain, was ranked 2nd in ATP rankings coming into the tournament, suffered an early exit in the quarterfinals, losing to German player Alexander Zverev, who was ranked sixth.

Alcaraz showing his excitement during his match against Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. (Joel Carrett/EPA-EFE)

Alcaraz was a favorite among many to go far in the tournament; he displayed his resilience during Wimbledon 2023 in June, becoming the first Spanish player to win it all at London, and the first player out of the big four–Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray–to win since 2003.

“He gave up too many service points, kept making faults, and kept hitting out. Other than that it was pretty fine for him,” said Davis.

Rising American Ben Shelton, with an ATP rank of 16, sought victory in Australia, only to lose in the third round to French master Adrian Mannarino in a clash of five sets. To Davis, the match between these two players was his favorite.

Ben Shelton hitting a power serve during a match. (Mike Frey, USA TODAY Sports)

“It was a good match to watch Shelton, a freshman, go against an older guy who beat him pretty good by tricking him and messing around with him to ultimately win.” Davis added. Shelton previously made it to the U.S. Open semifinals in 2023, where he played against Novak Djokovic, losing to the Serbian in a speedy three sets.

What could have been a comeback for longtime Spanish player Rafael Nadal fell through just a week shy of opening day. Nadal suffered a microtear in his hip during the Brisbane International tournament in the quarterfinals this January, ultimately losing to Australian Jordan Thompson. Nadal had just recovered from a years-long run of injuries that had him sidelined for most major tournaments in 2023. The two-time Australian Open champion sought to compete once again in 2024 but had no choice but to return to Spain for recovery.

Women’s Singles

On the women’s side of the Australian Open, there were no surprises for Belarusian Ayrna Sabalenka, who was crowned singles champion for the second year in a row, defeating Qinwen Zheng from China in two sets in the final. Sabalenka’s run in the tournament was nothing short of a display of sheer power and resilience, fighting hard in every game to ultimately win it all.

“Sabalenka played really good, it was her third title,” Davis said, adding. “She won it this year for her dad, I know that.”

American Coco Gauff sought a second title in Australia, previously being crowned the 2023 U.S. Open champion in September. Gauff came into the tournament with a WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) ranking of 3, behind Sabalenka and Polish tennis player Iga Swiatek.

Belarusian player Ayrna Sabalenka waves to the crowd after her semi-final win against Coco Gauff at the Australian Open. (AP Photo/Louise Delmotte)

Mr. Michael Hasler, Special Education teacher at Morton West and Girls Varsity tennis coach, had words about the rising American star. “She is somebody who’s got a lot of skill, she’s athletic, she’s got a great forehand and backhand, I think she’ll learn a lot from this.”

Gauff’s run ultimately ended in the semi-finals, where she lost to eventual winner–and U.S. Open final competitor–Ayrna Sabalenka. The rematch between the two players proved Sabalenka’s ongoing strength in the game, while Gauff continues to build her rising skills as a young player.

Next year’s Australian Open will commence on January 12, 2025. Tickets are already on sale for eager spectators to come.













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