The 2013 Australian Open is in the history books so it’s time to start handing out some final grades for the first Major of the year. Who passed? Who failed? Find out as we reveal the player’s report cards.
Novak Djokovic – A+: The No. 1 seed entered as the favorite to win his fourth AO title and he didn’t disappoint even with an unexpected five set classic battle against Stanislas Wawrinka that was hands down the best match of the event. Djokovic will still be the man to beat all year.
Andy Murray – B+: Murray breezed through the early rounds before grinding past Roger Federer in five sets. Some will say Murray having played the second men’s semi, along with that stray feather during the finals that threw off his serve, contributed to his loss to Djokovic. But Murray proved he is very capable of reaching many more Major finals. Don’t count him out in Paris just yet either.
Roger Federer – B: A 33rd career Grand Slam semifinal, the most ever by any man, is nothing to sneeze at. Federer was handed the toughest draw of any of the top four seeds and though he taught the young guns (Paire, Tomic, Raonic) a few lessons, his back to back five sets against Tsonga and then Murray proved a bridge too far in his quest for his 18th Major title. Should Fed be disappointed or encouraged by his trip to Melbourne? Probably both.
David Ferrer – C: Though he does get credit for grinding past Nicolas Almagro in five sets, Ferrer’s shellacking at the hands of Djokovic in their semis proved once again he is still very far away when it comes to challenging the “Big Four”.
Juan Martin Del Potro – D: Many were shocked by Delpo’s dismissal by Jeremy Chardy. But should they be? Despite his Olympic heroics this past summer, the Argentine has been rather average in the last few Majors. Know this — Del Potro hasn’t been in the semis of a Major since his run to the title in New York back in 2009. We’ll find out this year if he’ll rise above or remain stuck in neutral gear.
Stanislas Wawrinka – B+: Wawrinka’s inspired performance against Djokovic proved he has another level deep within in him. If he can channel that all year, watch out.
The French Men – C: Aside from Jeremy Chardy’s run to the quarters, it was yet another so-so performance from the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet. And as far as Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils are concerned, let’s hope that they never face each other again. Le Horror!
The American Men – D : This was a rough trip down under for the U.S. men that saw John Isner withdraw, Brian Baker suffer an unfortunate knee injury, along with Sam Querrey and Ryan Harrison lose early in the first week. 2013 is a rebuilding year for sure.
Victoria Azarenka – B: She defended her title and remained No. 1 in the world, but wow was it not pretty or popular. Some may still feel that Azarenka was guilty of the “by any means necessary” game plan after her controversial medical time out in the semifinals and “Vika” could still pay the price in terms of popularity all year long. But perhaps the biggest lesson Azarenka may have learned is that when someone sticks a microphone in your face after a crazy match, the best thing to say is “no comment.”
Li Na – B+: Showing a new patience and an improved forehand, Li dismissed two top four seeds before several falls in the finals against Azarenka proved too much to handle. If Li can keep this up, expect her to challenge for more Majors this year.
Maria Sharapova – B-: Yes, she was near perfect heading into the semis, but then when she got there, her lack of B plan against Li proved her undoing. But don’t expect her to change a winning formula that works against 98% of the rest of the tour.
Sloane Stephens – B: Reaching her first Major semi cemented her status as possibly the next great WTA star. But her inability to close out an ailing Serena Williams in the second set of their quarterfinal and a reeling Azarenka in their semi proved the likable American still has a bit of learning curve ahead of her.
Serena Williams – C+: Bad luck, a bad ankle and a bad back derailed Williams’s chances to possibly take over No. 1. But it was her nerves yet again that proved to be her biggest obstacle in taking out Stephens in that third set.
Venus Williams – C-: She got blown out by Maria Sharapova for sure but at age 32, the former No. 1 has got to be a tad worried now about her remaining chances to win one more Major title.
Sam Stosur – F: You know it’s bad when Stosur’s coach, David Taylor, admitted that after Stosur went up 5-2 in the third set against Zheng Jie that even he knew she wouldn’t win another game. Next year, maybe organizers should schedule Stosur on an outside court to help her deal with her nerves? Or would it matter?
Kimiko Date-Krumm – B+: By reaching the third round in Melbourne for the first time since, get this, 1995, the Japanese veteran proved that age really is a number.
Bernard Tomic – B: No way could we forget Bernie who talked up his chances all through the first week before being outplayed by Federer. But make no mistake, this isn’t the last we’ll hear (literally) from the Aussie No.1. Now about that hat he wore…
Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci – A: The Italian duo now only need Wimbledon to complete a career Grand Slam.
Matt Ebden and Jarmila Gajdosova – A: A fine effort from the all-Aussie team to earn their first ever Grand Slam title in mixed doubles.
Bob and Mike Bryan – A: 13 Grand Slam titles, the most ever for any men’s doubles team. Is is too premature to call them legends? Probably not.