Last weekend we had the women’s and men’s finals in the Australian Open tennis tournament and each participant was aged over 30. The
average age across both finals was 34. This surely must be some sort of record. Open officials probably couldn’t believe their luck after the early exit of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray with the Williams’ sisters, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal making it through to the final days of the tournament.
We had the much heralded return to the spotlight of Garry Lyon this week on the re-vamped SEN breakfast show and I must say, to date, I am significantly under whelmed. It would want to improve significantly to stay on the air!
Darren Gauci retires from the saddle this weekend and what a great career he has had. He was a boom apprentice in his early days and unfortunately, a number of falls impacted on him later in his career. He was always regarded as one of the best riders of front runners and still got rides even though he was past his best due to his ability to rate a horse out the front. The statistics show that he won 10% of his rides and was placed in nearly 30%. That is a pretty good strike rate.
Have a great weekend!
I watched the end of the Australian Open golf tournament last Sunday and it was no surprise to see Jordan Spieth in contention. He nailed some crucial putts and made it into the play-off with Ashley Hall and Cameron Smith. He then proceeded to birdie the first play-off hole and win the tournament. He has now competed in the Australian Open on three occasions for two wins and a second. For anyone, that is a phenomenal record, but for a 23 year old it is amazing. Aaron Baddeley won in 1999(am) & 2000 as an 18/19 year old which was amazing at the time, but he has probably not gone onto the heights predicted at that time.
It was noted with interest that Faf Du Plessis was found guilty of ball tampering in the second test and was then fined his match fee. As the captain of the team, with a history of ball tampering, this has got to be an inadequate penalty. I understand the previous penalty was three years ago and records are wiped clean after two years, but the man still has a history. A penalty such as the match fee is no deterrent to future indiscretions by anyone let alone the captain. The test started yesterday and Du Plessis clearly made the most of his reprieve with a not out century.
Sticking with the cricket, the Australian team needed a shake up and we got that with five changes from the team that was embarrassed in Hobart. Accepting that changes had to be made, I still felt a bit sorry for Callum Ferguson. He has probably deserved a chance at test cricket for some time, but when his form has warranted selection he has either been injured or no places have been available. He finally gets a chance at 32 years of age and loses his place after one test. That is probably the end of the road for Ferguson which is a bit of a shame as he probably deserved more of an opportunity. Joe Mennie also lost his place after one test, however, he is only 27 and therefore still young enough if good enough. I thought Mennie was lucky to get a spot for Hobart ahead of Jackson Bird on his home track, so maybe not so deserving in the first place.
Greg Miles announced his forthcoming retirement during the week and while he has had a few hiccups in the last few years I have always regarded him as one of the best race callers I have heard. He probably lacks the impact of a Bill Collins, but for someone listening to a race and wanting to know where your horse is placed I think he has had few peers. A great career.
Have a great weekend!
Well Thursday night we saw Lleyton Hewitt bow out of the Australian Open for the last time. I have never been a particular fan, but you have to admire the guy. He made it to Number 1 in the world at 20, he won two Grand Slam titles and the most singles matches ever for Australia in the Davis Cup. You also have to admire that he has kept playing despite the many injuries he has endured and his falling ranking. A pretty good career and I think he will be good in his role with the Davis Cup.
Let us hope he can harness the potential of the likes of Tomic, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis.
I didn’t want to comment further on the Essendon Supplements Saga, however, some of the comments I have heard from some pundits suggesting that the case is similar to the Lance Armstrong and Marion Jones cases has angered me somewhat. In those cases there was a lot of people who provided sworn testimony that both had used banned substances, that is a significant difference to the Essendon case. I am also constantly angered with people saying they did not know what they took. The club has a spreadsheet on all the supplements that the players signed up to and the comment has always been if they were administered anything else, they were not aware of it and it was not sanctioned. This is a very important distinction.
What I would like to know is who advised the players not to complete the ASADA forms correctly. Clearly they were obligated to complete
those forms honestly and whoever told them not to cite the supplements they were being administered has a lot to answer for as this omission seems to have played a significant part in the penalty that has been applied.
I now pledge not to make any further comment on this sorry tale.
Have a great weekend!
The performance of Peter Senior at the recent Masters should not pass without a mention. It is a credit to him that he has now won the three most prestigious Australian tournaments after he turned fifty years of age. He has always been a good golfer, but never Australia’s best golfer, but he keeps winning. It may have been a reflection of the standard of the field, but he still won. It was also interesting to see that despite the win, he didn’t feature in the favourites for the Australian Open. I bet if Adam Scott had won I am sure he would have started favourite for the Open.
While on golf, what a great finish to the Australian Open on the weekend. The future of Australian golf looks good with Matt Jones and Jason Day both emerging this year. Jones consolidated himself on the US circuit and won the Australian Open on the weekend. Day broke through for his first major win in the US PGA championship. Adam Scott after a couple of bad days came home like a train on the last day and was probably unlucky not to force a tie after 72 holes. Good to see World number one, Jordan Spieth make the trip to Australia to play in one of our feature events.
Well another AFL Draft has come and gone and every club seems to be happy with their selections. Wylie Buzza, who was taken by Geelong with pick 69 has drawn some media attention because of his name and hair style, but he grabbed my attention for a completely different reason. Here we have a home grown product of Queensland and yet neither of the Queensland clubs picked him up. Surely with the “go home factor” and trying to grow the game in Queensland there is an imperative for those clubs to select Queensland draftees. Brisbane Lions could be forgiven as they picked up two Academy players, but the Gold Coast did not select any local player. I hope it doesn’t come back to haunt them, like the Sydney Swans not picking John Longmire and Wayne Carey and more recently passing on Mark McVey and Lenny Hayes.
Have a great week!
We should start with the good news – it was great to see Jason Day salute in the US PGA early on Monday morning. I had predicted that he would win a major in 2014, but unfortunately he had a hand/wrist injury that upset his season and then when in contention for this
year’s US Open he had an attack of vertigo. A most deserved win and it was also refreshing to see the good sportsmanship displayed by Jordan Spieth. Spieth suggested that it was the best loss that he had ever had and I suppose if second place takes you to number one in the world, you cannot really complain. After his amazing win in the Australian Open I understand he has had the lowest total for all 4 majors ever. With Day, Spieth and Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings the golf should be pretty interesting over the next 5 to 10 years.
Continuing the good news theme it was great to see some application from the Australian batsmen in this test. I went to bed with the score at 0-82 on the first day and was pleased to wake and find they had moved to 3-287 which put them in a good position to push for a victory in Michael Clarke’s final test match. After the second day’s play, the Aussies have strengthened their hold on this test by having the English 8 for 107 at stumps. With Peter Siddle’s excellent bowling performance one can only ask the selectors why he wasn’t in the team before now!
I had previously stated that I would not discuss the Essendon supplements saga again until the WADA case outcome was known, however, the events of the week with James Hird’s departure from the club does change the situation somewhat. I read an article written by Tracey Holmes titled “The siren has sounded on Hird and all that is left is sadness” and I think it about sums up my views on the events of this week. As an Essendon supporter a lot of people asked me my for my views on Tuesday and my immediate response was sadness. It was also clear from the players that flanked Hird on Tuesday that most of the players were emotionally struck by what had happened as well. There are a lot of James Hird haters out there and I am sure they will get around Caroline Wilson and congratulate themselves on a job well done, they finally got their man.
Have a great weekend!
Well everyone seems to be touting Hawthorn as unbeatable in this years premiership on the back of the thumpings they have delivered to the Swans and Fremantle in recent weeks. I would be urging everyone to take a deep breath and consider the hype about Hawthorn when they trounced Geelong in Round 1. It was suggested at the time that they could go through the season undefeated, they lost the next week and lost a further three games out of the next seven. I would agree that there form since then has been extra good, but should both WA teams end up in the top two positions, they potentially may have to travel twice just to get to the grand final. They deserve to be favourites at the moment, but it is not a done deal.
Great effort by Australia in the Davis Cup last weekend. After losing the first two singles rubbers they won the doubles and the reverse singles to take out the tie 3/2. I don’t watch a lot of tennis, but I remember how much the Davis Cup was revered when I was younger and it is always good to see Australia get through to the semi-final stage.
The British Open Golf also threw up an interesting result with a three way play off, but I must say I was disappointed as I was hoping that Jordan Speith or Jason Day would get up and they both finished one shot out of the play off group. I have been pushing Jordan Speith’s barrow since he took out the Australian Open last year and had hoped that he would secure the third Major in a row to try and do the grand slam. It was a brave effort, but one bad hole cost him. I have also been pushing Jason Day as well, given that he continues to put himself in prominent positions in majors, but he cannot seem to get over the line. Marc Leishmann who featured in the play off is also starting to build up a list of prominent finishes in majors without saluting.
Have a great weekend!
Having languished in the doldrums for more than enough years (for that read since the mid 1970’s), Australian men’s tennis seems to be on the long road back. That recovery is evidenced not only in the better results during the recent Australian Open, but by the weekend’s 3-2 away win against the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup. Remember the Davis Cup? That trophy Australia has won on 28 prior occasions since it was first competed for in 1900. Recently we have not featured at the top level and even when we have, have usually come away empty handed. This is reflected in the fact that this was Australia’s first win in a Davis Cup tie in the Championship division since 2006.
We at Sportzfan Radio have been rather critical of Bernard Tomic’s seeming inability to keep his mind on the job and play at a level expected with a person of his talent. In Ostrava, Tomic certainly led by example and won both his matches giving him an impressive 14-2 win/loss singles record in Davis Cup play. The tie also saw the emergence of Thanasi Kokkinakis who won his first match and confirmed Australia can now call on a number of talented young players to champion the cause. Although Lleyton Hewitt was used in the doubles match with Sam Groth, Australia’s fortunes no longer solely rest on the ageing Hewitt’s shoulders.
Sure, it can be argued that the Czech Republic were weakened by injuries to Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek but Australia also was unable to select talented Nick Kyrgios due to a back injury.
A review of the men’s ATP rankings sees Australia with five men in the top 100 being Kyrgios at #36, Tomic at #38, Groth at #69, Marinko Matosevic at #72 and Hewitt at #98. Contrast this with the fact that several years ago, we did not have one player in the top 100 and it is easy to see why results have improved.
Australia now hosts Kazakhstan in a mouth watering quarter final and given the team’s form look set for a long run in the 2015 tournament.
Well Jordan Spieth proved that his Australian Open success was no fluke by returning to the US and taking out a quality restricted event and beating the world number two by 10 strokes! As I suggested last week this guy looks to be the next superstar of world golf and to put away a quality field the way he did was nothing short of spectacular. He will be a very big drawcard next year when he returns to defend his Aussie Open title.
I was amazed to see Sean Abbott return to the fray so quickly after the unfortunate events of a few weeks ago. As I stated in an earlier “musing”, if it was me I would have considered giving the game away or at least having some time off, but he has got right back on the horse. Good on him and it must be a testament to his mental toughness that he can get back to bowling so quickly. That sort of resilience should make him a good test player if his bowling makes the grade.
Have a great weekend!
Last weeks Musing was devoted to Phil Hughes and I must say the despite not knowing the guy, it continued to affect me through the week. Now that we have had the funeral we can move on.
In my opinion the big thing from last weekend was the performance of the 21yo American, Jordan Spieth in the Australian Open. Currently ranked at number 158 in the world, he shot a 63, which was poignant in itself, to win the open easily was an amazing performance. The course was probably at its most difficult when he played and I understand the best score from earlier in the day was 67. So he shot a score to win the tournament that no one else got close to during the day. And he is only 21! This is the guy that almost became the youngest US Masters winner, so he is no slouch and he could be the next world wide super star in golf now that Tiger Woods cannot seem to re-capture his former brilliance.
I know I have made this observation before, but Peter Donegan was one of the commentators doing the golf telecast and he is one of the best all round sports commentators in Australia. He does the golf, he does the horse racing, he does the VFL football, the Olympics, is there any sport he cannot do? I struggle to think of any one better. Tim Lane and Bruce McAvaney have a higher profile, but PD is the ultimate support act.
Have a great weekend!
Well the World Cup continues to dominate the world sporting landscape with the quarter finals coming up this weekend. It is interesting to note that former winners in Germany, Brazil, Argentina and France comprise four of the eight places available and the Dutch are three time finalists, so there is a familiarity about the remaining participants. The real interest may come from those outside the usual suspects with Colombia given a real chance of knocking off the hosts, Costa Rica not without a chance against the Netherlands and Belgium were considered a good outsiders chance coming into the tournament. My tips for the quarter finals are Colombia, Germany, Netherlands and Argentina.
Turning to Wimbledon, I have said in the past that I am not a great fan of watching tennis, but I had to watch the abbreviated replay of Nick Kyrgios knocking off Rafael Nadal. I must say it was pretty exciting to see a young Aussie do that on the world stage and it was a bit of a shame that the scheduling meant he had to front up the next day to play again. After taking the first set he tired and fell away, but it would appear we finally have a junior star translating to the adult stage. It reminded me of Mark Philippoussis knocking off Pete Sampras at the Australian Open, but then losing the next round match. Philippoussis went on to produce some pretty good tennis, but probably did not go as far as his talent suggested he should.
I was bemused during the week to hear Eddie Maguire call for compensation for Collingwood due to the poor drawing fixture against Carlton last Sunday night. He has often trumpeted that Collingwood fans would turn up any time any place to see their team play, but in the space of three weeks they have had two poor drawing matches. The other game against the Bulldogs at Etihad stadium three weeks ago failed to get 28,000 spectators and that was an afternoon fixture under cover! Given Collingwood gets a lot of scheduling favours due to their supporter base, I do not think Eddie would have gleaned much sympathy from any of the other clubs.
Have a great weekend!