We’d primed ourselves for an epic finish in the wee small hours. But it was not to be.
Just before 10pm on Thursday night, the curtain closed on Lleyton Hewitt’s stellar tennis playing career.
It was not the five-set marathon that has defined so much of the past two decades. David Ferrer had his measure in three. But, as always, he fought to the very last ball.
For so long, he was the definition of Australian tennis. Federer says Lleyton made him appreciate the importance of hard work. Andy Murray named his dog after him — what higher honour is there?
The up and coming young guns of Australian tennis look up to him. And from today they’ll have to suck up to him as the new captain of our Davis Cup team. His legacy will continue through these tempestuous proteges.
Plus there’s a little Lleyton waiting in the wings.
So how do we mark such a contribution? The greats that have gone before him have had arenas named after them. Rod Laver. Margaret Court. Pat Rafter.
But I’ve got another idea for Lleyton, one that transcends time and place. One that captures his fighting spirit.
No one played more Grand Slam five set matches than Lleyton. Only one man, Pete Sampras, won more. So here’s my idea. Why don’t we give the five setter a new name? Why not call it a Lleyton?
You can hear the commentators now as a match heads into a fifth set. “And it’s going to a Lleyton.” “Federer won the final in a marathon Lleyton.” “That was an epic Lleyton.”
Are you with me? Are you? C’mon!
On to other matters tennis and you know things are grim when you get sledged by a former Celebrity Apprentice contestant.
That’s what happened to Nick Kyrgios when he had to play one and a half sets, shock horror, in the wrong shorts.
What’s the big deal about a pair of shorts, you ask? Good question. Apparently Nick’s pockets weren’t big enough to hold his balls. His tennis balls, of course.
Which prompted this retort from AFL legend in his own lunchtime, Warwick Capper. And a visual we thought we’d never have to clap eyes on again.
As we go into round three, we’re left with four Aussies in the singles draw — Kyrgios, Bernie Tomic, our adopted Russian pocket rocket Daria Gavrilova and John Millman, who won in an epic Lleyton over Gilles Muller. See what I did there?
While fans rally behind Tomic, he continues to come in for ridicule over his decision to retire mid-match at the Sydney International to focus on the Australian Open.
He may be the greatest player ever but that doesn’t mean Roger Federer wants to watch his kids play tennis for the next 20 years.
While the rest if us salivate over the prospect of two sets of Federer twins terrorising the circuit, the lads racking up some memorable Lleytons against Cruz Hewitt, Roger’s hoping they choose other career paths.
“I think it’s 40 years on the tennis tour that doesn’t excite me, you know?” he says. “I’d rather support them in another sport. Go see them be a super skier. That would be exciting. To go watch tennis matches, I don’t know.”
On the subject of watching tennis, fans have responded well to Hisense Arena being opened to ground pass holders for the first time. Perhaps a little too well.
It’s been another disappointing Aussie Open for Sam Stosur, bundled out in the first round.
At least she’s maintained her sense of humour. Asked how she’ll be remembered as a tennis player, she answered: “Well, hopefully not from my Australian Open results.”
As we all know, Fernando Verdasco took out Rafael Nadal in a marathon Lleyton in the first round earlier in the week. So how did he celebrate? By giving the oldest man in the comp, Radek Stepanek a massage. Don’t ask me why.
It’s said the best ball kids in the game are the ones you never notice. This kid fails the test.
There was other sport besides tennis going on this week. Perhaps the biggest story was the move by the European golf tour to allow players to practise in shorts for the first time.
“Shorts are a natural evolution to help modernise the game,” said tour boss Keith Pelley. Yeah, it’s real cutting edge, Keith.
Former world number one Rory McIlroy has promised to get a bit of sun on his pale Irish legs before he inflicts them on the public.Embed from Getty Images
Meanwhile, the US PGA Tour is having trouble finding enough golfers for the test event at the new course in Rio de Janeiro, which is required before golf can return to the Olympic fold for the first time in 112 years. Maybe the players are put off by the alligators.
Games organisers continue to make a virtue of their budget cuts, the latest of which include a reduction in volunteers and courtesy vehicles.
Says organising committee boss Mario Andrada: “In future, many Games will follow this example to create economically sustainable events with no white elephants.” Uh-huh.
For the numpty of the week, we turn to professional hockey player Justin Agosta. Upset with his girlfriend, he decided to burn her love letters. In his apartment. Using gasoline.
He successfully burned the letters. And a substantial portion of the apartment. He’s been charged with second degree arson.
This guy gets runner-up.
Have a good weekend, everyone. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.