So far this tennis year we have seen a multitude of tournaments, a bunch of injury scares, and, thankfully, no pickleball. Not yet anyway. That will happen soon with the involvement of Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, and others.
We also have the Australian Open starting in just a few days. The draw will happen this week. But the headers on the Aussie Open social media pages have some Novak Djokovic fans upset. More on that in just a minute.
This year the Australian Open will be played over 15 days. This is the first time in known history this has been the case. Maybe some early settlers of Australia played the tournament over three weeks? We will never know. But one former No. 1 is really upset about the length of the 2024 Australian Open.
John McEnroe calls out the Australian Open
Why is the Australian Open 15 days instead of 14 days for the first time in its 119-year history? The tournament will say to space out the early matches a bit so that there are not so many late matches and allow players more time to rest for the later rounds. The Aussie Open is not the first major to make the move to make the event one day longer.
But former ATP No. 1 John McEnroe says the move is simply a "money grab" for the Australian Open. McEnroe, never one to hold back from what he is thinking, told ESPN, "First of all, it’s a money grab as far as I’m concerned. They just found another way to make some money. I don’t agree with it." Tell us how you really feel, Johnny Mac.
Australian Open really really really wants Rafael Nadal at the event
You might recall that late in 2023, Australian Open Director Craig Tiley said that he had spoken with Rafael Nadal and Nadal confirmed to him that the Spaniard would be playing at the event in 2024. Nadal then had to make a statement and implied that the conversation between him and Tiley did not happen as Tiley remembered. Unfortunately, a hip flare-up while Nadal was participating last week at the Brisbane International has caused Nadal to withdraw from the 2024 Aussie Open.
But Tiley wants Nadal to return to the Grand Slam so much that he recently told The Australian that he thinks maybe 2025 will be the year Nadal comes back to Melbourne. Said Tiley, "Yes. I'm absolutely planning on seeing him next year. I'm planning on seeing him tonight for a private catch-up, which we always do, before he leaves town in the next few days..."
Maybe Tiley just needs to plan on Nadal not ever playing at the event again. That might be better luck than saying Nadal will definitely be participating.
Novak Djokovic fans are also upset at the Australian Open
One might think that the Australian Open would show Djokovic the most love. After all, the Serb has won the event a record 10 times on the men's side. But on the Aussie Open's social media accounts, Djokovic is not featured on the header photos. Instead, Coco Gauff, who has never won the Australian Open, is.
Djokovic fans are rightfully upset about this, but there seems to be something larger afoot than a diss of Djoko. And it gets back to McEnroe's "money grab" suggestion. It turns out that New Balance is the "Official Performance Apparel and Footwear provider of the Australian Open" and Gauff just happens to be sponsored by New Balance while Djokovic wears Asics and other clothing, but not New Balance. So one plus one equals...