Panic set forth among the tennis community when Rafael Nadal dared mention fellow "former No. 1" (as these two are now constantly referred to in commentary) Roger Federer without describing the Swiss as "classy," or "fantastic," or "great guy." Federer did not take Nadal's "outrageous" accusation that he is not outspoken enough in defending fellow players' rights to heart, responding that Nadal is entitled to his opinion. Nonetheless, Nadal apologized the next day for his public outburst.
Meanwhile, there was a hockey game earlier on Sunday that included four actual, physical fights.
Perhaps also disappointed by such docility in men's tennis, some umpires decided to make things more interesting. There has been a considerable amount of bad judging, including a moment where the umpire got the score wrong (of course, players can be guilty of that too – Frederico Gil missed match point in his loss to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga).
Kader Nouni, generally authoritative in the chair, in large part because of his booming voice, was getting in player arguments right and left during the first week, culminating in a disagreement with David Nalbandian following a bizarrely unfair call. Nalbandian did not hear when an out call on the serve of his opponent, John Isner, was overturned by Nouni. Once he realized the situation, Nalbandian wanted to challenge but Nouni suggested it was too late. The referee agreed with the Chair Umpire, but not much time had lapsed before Nalbandian wanted to challenge. TV review showed the original out call was correct.
The battle with officials didn't end there. Nalbandian was fined $8,000 for misconduct following the match. Allegedly, Nalbandian threw water at an Australian Open staffer after losing to Isner. The Argentine denies the charge.
Less is More
The Australian Open is considered the most laid-back of the four slams, and this year, that simplicity and ease finally showed up in players' outfits. Although there were some loud colors, the styles presented have been practical and streamlined throughout.
Best Dressed of Week One: Ever since she replaced Maria Kirilenko as the exclusive wearer of Stella McCartney for Adidas, Caroline Wozniacki's on-court look has varied from "ridiculously ill-fitting" to "it's not that bad... if she stands still." Finally, Stella got it right this year. The red dress Wozniacki has worn is simple but bright and fits the Dane well. Now burn all the previous ones, Caroline.
Honorable Mention: Serena Williams. Going with a dress design that's not far off from what other Nike players are wearing, Serena is stood out with her tennis this tournament, not with her dress or on-court behavior. That is until she ran into a determined Ekaterina Makarova in the Fourth Round.
Worst Dressed of Week One: Fernando Verdasco and the Adidas Ronald McDonald special. Imagine the number of jokes we could have come up with if that atrocity had lasted on court for more than one match. Talking about the outfit, of course, not the not-so-new "old Verdasco."
Honorable Mention: The backs of the Bryan brothers' outfits make it look like they're about to engage in Greco-Roman wrestling. Have the chest bumps been preparing us for this?
Oi Oi Oi
Sam Stosur, US Open Champion, went out in the First Round in her home slam, once again surrendering to local pressure. Stosur's early exit was almost expected, if not brought upon by the media. Pundits referred to her mental weakness playing in Australia even prior to the tournament. And when Vera Zvonareva, the seventh seed, lost (in her traditional teary way) in the Third Round, American commentators simply assumed the Russian was the highest seed to go out thus far in the tournament.
In the meantime, Aussie men surprised in a positive way. Bernard Tomic delivered on his talent, only surrendering to Roger Federer, and Lleyton Hewitt, a Wild Card in this and many recent tournaments due to constant injuries, reached the Fourth Round as well, reminding all what a great player he is when his body allows him to play his game.
This is perhaps the right place to mention the retirement of Hewitt's sometime doubles partner and notable Australian player Peter Luczak, following his and Hewitt's loss in doubles.
Red, White and the Blues
Ah, red, white and blue, the colors of the French flag. The French contingent seemed successful in the men's draw – although Gael Monfils suffered an early exit, Tsonga and Richard Gasquet played on to the Fourth Round, only to lose there to Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer, respectively.
Meanwhile, no American man reached the Fourth Round, as disappointedly pointed out by John Isner. Andy Roddick was forced to retire injured and Mardy Fish forced himself to throw a tantrum on court, while Isner was not able to recover successfully for his third round encounter after playing five sets with (alleged) water-thrower Nalbandian.
Meanwhile, there is a first this tournament, with the first Kazakh man to reach the Fourth Round in a Grand Slam, as Mikhail Kukushkin has done. As they bought back Bogomolov, who lost in the Second Round, the Russian Tennis Federation might be regretting letting Kukushkin play for the Central Asian Republic.
Semis: Djokovic vs Murray
Federer vs Berdych
Final: Djokovic d Federer
Semis: Azarenka vs Wozniacki
Sharapova vs Kvitova
Final: Sharapova d Azarenka