The only thing that I can really be sure of at this point: Day 1 was a blur. And it's still not over yet.
Wow. Talk about 0 to 150 in a matter of 24 hours. That is unquestionably what happened today. The tennis season was plodding along for two weeks, and now all of the sudden it is at mach-5.
I'm going to start my discussion with a quick look at the joy and anguish of Gael Monfils. Just as there are two sides to every coin, I believe that there were two sides to Gael's compelling come-from-behind victory against the Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker today.
While Monfils' courage was fully on display as he picked himself off the canvas and eventually notched the 8th 5-set victory of his career (vs. only 2 losses), the fact remains that he spent 3-hours and 38-minutes on court in the first round. That is far too much for him.
So, yeah, it was thrilling stuff. But the pressing issue for La Monf is that every minute spent on court in the early rounds of a Slam is time not spent relaxing so that you have more energy for the later rounds. It was great that Monfils dug deep and got things figured out today, because a first-round loss -- even to a stellar player like de Bakker -- would have been a travesty. But the fact that he couldn't get it done quickly and efficiently is bad news for a guy like Monfils.
For Gael to get that breakthrough victory in a Slam, he'll need to be fresh next week, and if he gets involved in these long drawn out matches, he'll be limping into the later rounds.
I could say the same thing about Fish, who also had to come back from the dead against Victor Hanescu. For Mardy, it was the first time he'd ever come back from two sets down in his career (If I'm not mistaken it was a first for Monfils also), and the accomplishment is a testament to all the hard yards he has put in over the last year. But - as I've already stated - the minutes are precious, and Fish, along with Monfils, is now behind the 8-ball, whether they are thrilled to be in the second round or not.
Quotes of the Day:
- Roger Federer, when asked if the youtube videos where he knocks a bottle of a guy's head are real: "Yeah, I did it twice, that's why I wanted to make sure people knew it was real...Q. You've never done it before and got someone in the face? Well, we couldn't show those clips (smiling). Yeah, that's about it. That's all I'm going to say (laughter). Can't say more."
- Maria Sharapova, on how she feels about her return to the game since surgery: "Listen, I wish I could be No. 1 in the world today, last year, right when I came back. But I think everything is a process, you know."
- Monfils on Thiemo de Bakker getting tight in the match: "I was kind of surprised. But I know Thiemo a bit. I know sometime he snap in the head. So this is like a strong belief. We know like he can snap. It's a weakness for him. So you play with that."
- Venus, to Darren Cahill: "Is there Thanksgiving in Australia?" also..."I've got my own problems, so I'm just dealing with my game and whoever is across the net from me at that moment."
By the Numbers, Day 1:
- Grigor Dimitrov won 77% of his second serve points in his straight-set win over Andrey Golubev.
- Sam Querrey and Nikolay Davydenko, at 18 and 23 respectively, were the highest men's seeds to fall.
- Dustin Brown served 29 aces in his 5-set loss to Spaniard Albert Montanes. Montanes served 1.
- Players who battled back from 2-set deficits: Monfils, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Mardy Fish
- Men who lost six or less games in their first match: Federer, Roddick, Berdych, Djokovic (*published after the fact, as this blogger went to sleep after the Henin-Mirza match)