How do I know Oz is coming each year? It starts with the voices. The Aussie commentators’ voices, to be specific. It happened again this weekend, when I listened to Todd Woodbridge and John Fitzgerald call the Brisbane final between Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov. More than their American colleagues, the Aussies in the booth teach the game to the viewers. The sport has a higher profile than it does here in the United States; it's in their blood. In my experience, only on Qantas will one of the flight attendants tell you, once he finds out where you're heading, “I think Wozniacki can win a major someday.”
I’m getting ready to head back again today, and I’ll be in Melbourne on Friday afternoon, in time to preview both of the singles draws. There’s plenty to look forward to, as always, and things to wonder about: Can Serena start a Slam? Will we go deeper into the Nole era? What will Bernie Tomic do next? Who will be the bigger distraction to the other, Grisha or Masha?
As you may have noticed, TENNIS.com also has a new design ready for the new year. Hopefully you'll find it easier to get to our articles; I like the new look myself. I’ll leave you with a classic clip from the 1971 edition of the tournament, when it was still held on the grass at Kooyong. In my mind, no one represents Aussie tennis, in its all-court artistry and unpretentious sportsmanship, like the winner of this match, Ken Rosewall.
I’ll see you next from the house of his great rival, Rod Laver.