the pre aussie open points to defend – protect the hopman cup at all costs, the wta bad bitches of 2018, and is australia the new wimbledon for roger federer?

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Hello and welcome to ur pre-AO PTD x

Who’s buzzin for tomorrow? Who lives in a time zone that really doesn’t match up well with Melbourne’s so is going to spend the next two weeks being nocturnal? I’m already ready to turn into the gal who by day does uni and blog work and by night watches the AO. It’s like a shit version of Hannah Montana. If you see me in the next couple weeks I might be ridiculously tired so pls forgive any change in mood.

The Slam hasn’t even started and it’s already wild. Andy Murray announced his retirement on what I’m still dubbing the worst day of my life – Friday 11th January. I’ve obviously already written about it. There’s drama about the ATP players potentially getting rid of the ATP President Chris Kermode. There’s drama about next year’s ATP Cup and what happens to the women’s events when Tennis Australia prioritises the men and the men only (this is why we need Andy Murray!!)

Anyway, during the first couple weeks of the season I had a few ~tennis thoughts~ that I thought I’d compile into a lil points to defend blog post before the Aussie Open starts in a matter of hours, so enjoy.

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yasmin stefanie brighton street style topshop black denim joni jeans australian open hopman cup roger federer
jacket – topshop // top – pretty little thing // jeans – topshop // shoes – nike

protect the hopman cup at all costs

What is highly likely the last Hopman Cup wrapped up a week ago, with Switzerland beating Germany again in a repeat of last year’s final. All four (ok, three because Angie didn’t speak for some reason) players in the final said that they hoped to be back next year, and funnily enough none of the officials involved in the trophy ceremony made any mention of ‘see you next year! xoxo‘ because let’s be real, as it stands there’s not going to be a next year.

We need to protect the Hopman Cup at all costs. It is basically the only non-Slam event in tennis that allows men and women to play and compete together. There’s really only mixed doubles at Grand Slams and in the Olympics, and a lot of top male singles players don’t play dubs at Slams because they’re busy exhausting themselves over five sets in the singles (don’t get me wrong, no dissing to the gals here cos it’s not their fault that the rules of tennis are as they are and I’d love to see bo5 for the gals at Slams too or, better yet, bo3 for everyone in the first half and them bo5 for everyone in the second half – but that’s for another PTD).

Would the highly-anticipated, once in a lifetime Serena (and Tiafoe) vs Federer (and Bencic) have ever happened without the Hopman Cup? And it wouldn’t be once in a lifetime if we had more mixed-gender tournaments. Would we really ever see Federer play doubles unless it’s at the Hopman Cup (ok, and Laver Cup / Davis Cup / Olympics)?

Everyone’s more relaxed at Hopman Cup and everyone has a bit of fun on court there, thanks in part to the fact that it’s a sorta exhibition with no ranking points available and the security of guaranteed matches in the round robin stage. The Hopman Cup #atmos is my favourite tennis calendar atmosphere, maybe tied with the Laver Cup (I love a half-exhibition, no-points-available-but-still-super-competitive team tournament) and it would be a great shame to lose that. I actually prefer when the mixed doubles match at the end is a dead rubber because the players have more fun.

The most important factor here is the mixed-gender factor. Look at what happened when Serena and Federer faced each other in the USA vs Switzerland mixed doubles match, and then were interviewed together at the end and gushed over each other’s greatness.. It was international sports news. It was everywhere. It was what the whole world had been waiting for. It was the sports story of the day all over the world. And none of it would’ve happened had the Hopman Cup not existed. This year more than any other year showed what’s so amazing about the Hopman Cup, this year had the Federer vs Serena factor. Do Tennis Australia really want to get rid of something that created a moment that was the biggest global sports story of the day?

I’ve seen some stuff floating about on Twitter about how Tennis Australia apparently have some agreement with the ITF to run the Hopman Cup until 2022 or something but who knows if there’s a loophole in this contract or something. Even then, with Tennis Australia and the ATP pushing this new ATP Cup starting next year, will any high-profile male singles players even enter Hopman Cup even if it carries on? And then what will that leave the women who still want to play Hopman Cup with?

The best case scenario is the ATP and WTA working together with Tennis Australia to make one big Hopman Cup – just like the ATP Cup idea incentivising players with rankings points but a mixed-gender tournament with the WTA as well as the ATP. But then again, I’m just a twenty year old fashion blogger sitting in the corner of the sofa whilst at home from uni. What do I know x

the bad bitch of 2018 award

I needed to think of a third topic for this PTD because I either like doing them about a minimum of three lil things or one long topic. I had the other two topics planned from the first week of the season, then I realised this tiny little idea that I had for a bigger blog post that I never wrote could just be shoved in here so it could still see the light of day.

You know at the end of 2018 when the season was over and every tennis / sport platform ever was publishing articles and posts of their tennis awards for 2018? Best match, best player, best comeback, best tennis dog – all that good stuff. I wanted to do one, but with more ~fun~ categories, but the only one I could really think of that was still a genuine opinion of mine was the bad bitch of 2018 award. And all the nominees I came up with were WTA gals, obviously. I ach tweeted it the other day, then realised I could put it in this blog post.

I came up with the category and nominees (if you wanna call them that) in December and wrote them in my phone notes, and then I was thinking about the women I think will win the Australian Open and the only four I would pick to win it are the same four I nominated for bad bitch of 2018. Take from that what you will. Anyway, here they are.

Aryna Sabalenka. She just is the embodiment of a bad bitch. Since I started seeing her on tour, from Eastbourne last year onwards, I just thought she was the most nonchalant bad bitch ever. I wanted her attitude. When I needed to feel like a tough, bad bitch I channelled Aryna Sabalenka. She’s one of those people who seems like she doesn’t give a fuck. Obviously she gives a fuck about her career, but she is afraid of nothing and no one. She doesn’t give a fuck if she’s playing a world number one and multiple Slam winner, or if she’s playing a qualifier ranked in the hundreds. She takes care of her game and is not phased by who is on the other side of the net. She looks like she feels zero intimidation from whoever it is she’s playing. Would LOVE the Serena Sabalenka AO final to see how Aryna deals with playing the Queen GOAT. My guess is you won’t notice a different in her approach and attitude compared to her first round match.

Simona Halep. Simona is being nominated for one specific reason, but she does a lot of lil things that make her a bad bitch. This time last year she showed up to the first Grand Slam of the year as world number one without a sponsor. Adidas didn’t want to invest enough money in her anymore because they wanted to invest more in Garbine Muguruza (and absolutely zero offence to Garbi here but lol at how that worked out for Adidas), so she came to Melbourne sponsor-less. Since she didn’t have a sponsor to give her any kit for the AO, she went online, found a dress she liked from a seamstress China, and ordered it to wear it for the Australian Open. Then on one of the days she was playing, she felt like she needed a visor to shade her eyes from the sun. So she got someone on her team to buy her one of the AO merch ones from one of the lil merch stands on the grounds. Absolute bad bitch attitude. An unbothered queen. And she made it all the way to the final in her lil unbranded dress that she ordered online a few weeks earlier.

Elina Svitolina. Again, someone else being nominated for a specific moment. There was a moment during her final against Sloane Stephens at the WTA Finals Singapore that was so bad bitch and changed everything. It was one of those moments where I saw what she was doing and, even though it’s a tiny thing that a guy might not notice, I knew as a woman exactly what it meant. Elina meant business. Something switched in her mind and she was ready to put her head down, get down to business, stop fucking about, and win that trophy. And she did. And you know what that moment was? She walked to the back of the court, she took the ponytail that her hair was in (and is literally always in for matches) and she put it up into a bun. Is that not the universal gal symbol of getting down to business? When you’ve had enough and you’re not fucking about anymore and you have work to do, you put your hair in a bun. You get it out the way and get on with finishing what you started. It was such a bad bitch moment from her, you just knew the match and the title would be hers from then on.

Serena Williams. You think I can do a bad bitch award and not nominate Serena? Serena is the bad bitch of tennis. Serena is the bad bitch of the world. Serena has fought against everything to get to where she is now, and she is the greatest of all time. Serena has faced so much criticism from so many different people in her career. We will never understand what it’s been like for her and Venus coming into this sport that’s so predominantly white and middle class, and unapologetically being themselves from the very beginning. The amount of adversity they’ve faced, it would be easy to give up completely or give in to people’s criticisms and act / play / present yourself how people say you should. But Serena has carved out the greatest career anyone has ever had without giving up or giving in, and now nobody wants her to be anybody other than herself. She always uses her voice and platform to speak out for people who were once in her position, so life won’t be as difficult for them. She wants to use her voice to give other black women a voice. And that’s the baddest bitch quality ever.

There are some special mentions for Garbine Muguruza for being an all-round Instagram baddie and for Kiki Bertens because at the end of 2017 she nearly quit tennis because she was struggling so much mentally with it but she persevered, turned around the way she thought about tennis, and ended up winning big titles and qualifying for the WTA Finals, getting all the way to the semis there. Only a bad bitch could be that strong and end up back on top after such a low point.

Who are you choosing for the ultimate bad bitch of 2018?

is australia the new wimbledon for roger federer?

Wow I had so much fun talking about how the WTA gals are such fierce women that I forgot I had this third section left to write.

Years ago, Wimbledon was Roger Federer’s playground. To an extent, it still is. He won five in a row, in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. If you went to Wimbledon with anyone other than Federer as your pick to win, you were a divvy. Wimbledon was his Slam, it should’ve just been handed to him on a plate at the start of the fortnight rather than anyone even bothering to play the men’s singles event. It wasn’t dissimilar to Rafa and Roland Garros now.

But I’m wondering if Australia has become what Wimbledon used to be for Roger. Think about it, the last three years he’s played Hopman Cup, had the best time, come to the AO and won. He comes to Perth looking majestic. Literal majestic. He’s refreshed and ready to go, it’s the first tournament back from the off season and he always looks like he’s had the most valuable off season of everyone on tour. He looks the most fresh and plays the best after the month off of the tennis tour.

Maybe it’s changed with his age. I mean, he’s 37 now. This is something like his twentieth Australian Open. He’s been a pro player for longer than I’ve been alive. So is it really surprising that the time of the season that he peaks is right at the beginning of the year, when he’s just had a solid amount of time off to relax, train and stay at home?

I know that since Wimbledon and even more so since the American hard court swing we’ve all been caught up in Djokovic-wins-everything territory like we were in 2014/15/16. I know everyone thinks that this AO is Djokovic’s for the taking and nobody else will be able to challenge him for it. I know that this Slam is Novak’s best. But I think it’s becoming Federer’s too, if it isn’t fully already. Lest we forget Novak lost to Khachanov in the Paris Bercy final, Lil Zverev in the Nitto ATP Finals final (I was there🙋🏼‍♀️) and to Roberto Bautista Agut in the Doha semis a couple of weeks ago. Australia as a country seems to be Federer’s new playground and with Novak already having lost some matches that everyone expected him to win easily, I think Federer is winning his third AO in a row. This tournament has become his best chance of winning a Slam to me now, not Wimbledon anymore, and I believe it so strongly that I’ve got actual money on Federer to lift the trophy in two weeks’ time.

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Hope you enjoyed my pre Australian Open thoughts. Just wanted to get them out ykno, and if you can’t use your blog to release your thoughts wtf can you use it for??

Less than five hours to go til it all gets started. Buzzin.


Yasmin

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