Italy’s Matteo Berrettini stepped out of that section to reach the semi-finals. But the last four men were all stars or superstars and all made the top eight. Berrettini and Stefanos Tsitsipas have both reached Grand Slam finals. Daniil Medvedev won the US Open last year, and Rafael Nadal is one of the greatest players in the long history of the sport and is equal to Djokovic at 20 Grand Slam singles titles. So I think the men’s tournament has kept its legitimacy and interest, even if no one would say it was a powerful event without Djokovic.
I’m curious what you think about how the Peng Shuai case was handled by the tennis world. Do you think Australia’s response is in line with general consensus or divergent?
Like so many things in tennis, the response has been mixed. Power and governance are fragmented in the sport, with the WTA, ATP, International Tennis Federation and each of the four Grand Slam tournaments making their own moves and decisions. While all of those organizations expressed concern for Peng’s safety, the only one that committed to taking action was WTA, the women’s tour, which has suspend its tournaments in China and called for a full Chinese investigation into Peng’s sexual assault allegations and opened a line of communication with her.
Looking through that lens, Tennis Australia, which hosts the Australian Open, is no exception. But it has more ties to China than other Grand Slams. It has a major Chinese sponsor, featured on one of the display courts at the Australian Open. Tennis Australia also has an office in China and has promoted Chinese tourism to the tournament. It also wants TV coverage in China, as the time difference with Europe and North America isn’t ideal for those broadcast windows.
The Australian Open promotes itself as the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific, in part because it wants to prevent the emergence of any potential opponents for its Grand Slam status in the rapidly growing region. . But Tennis Australia, like the sport, is at a crossroads with China. Australia-China relations are deteriorating day by day. Peng’s predicament and the censorship of her accusations in China highlight the nature of the Chinese regime.
Currently, unlike the WTA, Tennis Australia is playing a wait and see game.
Let’s get back to the game. What is your favorite match so far?
There have been some that will stick with me. Matteo Berrettini held off the energetic Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz in the fifth game. France’s Alizé Cornet is feeling all sorts of emotions as she reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final on her 63rd attempt with a harrowing win over Simona Halep. Rafael Nadal held out at 35 in the heat to beat young Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who did not go quietly, accusing the referees of being “spoiled” for favoring Nadal and biggest stars.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/world/australia/tennis-djokovic-shuai.html Let’s Talk Tennis and Politics