2021 Australian Open Shifts Attention to Emerging Tennis Stars


Noa Belehssen

Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are the winners of the 2021 Australian Open.

Michael Evelyn, Staff Writer

For two weeks, top tennis players have battled it out in the blazing Australian sun for the chance at the $2.75 million cash prize and the prestige that comes with winning the Australian Open.

The Australian Open is one of the four largest tournaments on the professional tour for tennis elites. Players compete at these four tournaments for a chance at winning a Grand Slam title, which can greatly elevate their status as a professional. Athletes from around the world also train in anticipation of the higher stakes that result from more players competing for larger cash prizes.

At this year’s Oceanic Open, there were plenty of rising young athletes attempting to make their breakthrough within the sport. Players such as 20-year-old Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime and 23-year-old Japanese Naomi Osaka were some of the younger competitors looking to win their way to the top. Many well-established top players also competed, such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters, both having been in the game for years.

“I enjoyed watching the Australian Open this year, but I would have liked to see Federer play again. I was surprised when Nadal lost, but I am glad Djokovic won it all in the end,” senior Antoine Hernandez said. (Pull Quote)

A fan favorite was Rafael Nadal, who was knocked out of the competition by a young Greek player named Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Quarterfinals after an intense game. Both players had won their previous four matches and eventually met up in the fifth round. After a long five-set match, Tsitsipas eliminated Nadal from the competition.

Nadal, who is currently tied with Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam titles, was the player many fans expected to take home this year’s title. They both currently hold the record for the most Grand Slam titles in men’s tennis.

Federer and Nadal are currently tied for having the most Grand Slam titles in the professional tennis world. (Mic)

Novak Djokovic, who many deem to be the current best tennis player in the world, was also expected to do well at this event. With his athletic movement and simple strokes, Djokovic was able to reach the finals of this tournament without much trouble. His toughest match was against Taylor Fritz, where the game went to a fierce five sets with Djokovic eventually coming out on top. With Nadal out of the way, Djokovic was able to secure first place with a definitive win against Daniil Medvedev in just under two hours.

“I was excited to watch both the men and women play. There were so many new players that were so interesting to watch,” senior Adrian Nantes said.

On the women’s side, Naomi Osaka was able to win the tournament by beating top players such as Serena Williams and Ganriñe Muguruza. Osaka first rose to fame after beating Williams at the U.S. Open finals in 2018. In this year’s competitions, she managed to win her first three matches all in two sets and moved on to beat former world number one, Muguruza, and later Williams.

It was challenging for Osaka to close out the match, however, as when they met in the quarterfinals, Williams had begun to step up her game. Nonetheless, she was able to win the first set convincingly by beating Williams 6-3. The final score was 6-3, 6-4 to Osaka who went on to beat American player Jennifer Brady in the finals, winning the tournament.

Normally, in these Grand Slam tournaments, top players such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are able to win with relative ease. However, this tournament showed that young players are starting to take the reins from them. Tsitsipas, who took out Nadal, along with Osaka, who was able to beat Williams, are showing a shift to the future of professional tennis and are slowly replacing the big names many fans were used to for so many years.