Djokovic and Osaka win Australian Open

Samantha Weber, Staff writer

The Australian Open this year was held from Feb. 8 through Feb. 21.
This is the first of four Grand Slam tennis events of the year, the other three being the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.
The tournament had been pushed back by three weeks to allow for proper quarantine procedures to take place for the players traveling from other countries. This decision to delay the event was made by governing event coordinator Tennis Australia back in the middle of December.
The tournament includes competitions of men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Most of the biggest names in tennis were at the tournament this year, like Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Entering the tournament, Djokovic was the reigning champion for men’s singles and Sofia Kenin for women’s singles.
Even with the big names present at the tournament, there were several notable competitors who did not attend this year.
Roger Federer was expected to play in the Australian Open this year yet had not recovered to top match fitness. Federer had two knee surgeries back in early 2020 and he opted to not compete in the competition as he was not in tournament condition. Fans displayed through social media that they are hopeful he will return in the early summer for the French Open.
Another notable absence was Andy Murray. Murray was unable to make it to the tournament because he contracted COVID-19 directly prior to his intention to enter into quarantine.
The top three seeds for men this year were Novak Djokovic (Serbia), Rafael Nadal (Spain) and Dominic Thiem (Austria).
The top three seeds for women are Ashleigh Barty (Australia), Simona Halep (Romania) and Naomi Osaka (Japan).
One of the biggest matches of the tournament took place in the women’s singles semi-finals when Naomi Osaka took down Serena Williams in straight sets. Osaka, 20, and her sister, Mari, were inspired to start playing tennis after seeing the Williams sisters on television.
The Australian Open has been the first tournament of the Grand Slam to have substantial fan attendance since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, Wimbledon was canceled, the US Open did not allow any fans to attend and the French Open severely restricted the number of fans who were allowed in the stands.
Fans were initially allowed to attend the Australian Open this year with proper social distancing precautions in place. However on Feb. 14 Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews ordered a lockdown to occur for five days, ending on the Thursday of the tournament.
Fans were allowed to return to the games on Thursday, which was just in time for most of the semi-final matches.
Tournament officials allowed Melbourne Park to have 7,477 people attend per session, which was 50 percent capacity.
The final match in women’s doubles was between Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic) against Elise Mertens (Belgium) and Ayna Sabalenka (Belarus). The women’s double champions were E. Mertens and A. Sabalenka in two sets.
The final match in men’s doubles was between Rajeev Ram (USA) and Joe Salisbury (UK) against Ivan Dodig (Croatia) and Filip Polasek (Slovenia). The men’s doubles champions were I. Dodig and F. Polasek, again in two sets.
The final match in mixed doubles was between Matthew Ebden and Samantha Stosur (Australia) against Rajeev Ram (USA) and Barbora Krejčíková. The mixed doubles champions were R. Ram and B. Krejčíková in two sets.
The final match in men’s singles was between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev. The men’s singles champion was Novak Djokovic in three sets.
The final match in women’s singles was between J Brady (USA) and Naomi Osaka (Japan). The womens singles champion was Naomi Osaka in two sets.