Get set for surprises at the Open
TENNIS: Fraser Coast tennis coach Bruce Rayner is spending this week soaking up the atmosphere of the Australian Open.
He reckons the excitement is palpable, the general feeling being that the draw is wide open and there could be a surprise winner at the Open this year.
Rayner was impressed with the performance of Aussie Bernard Tomic on day one but felt for Peter Luczak, who drew last year’s winner, Rafael Nadal, in the first round.
“He got a pretty bad draw,” Rayner said.
He believes Marcos Baghdatis could make his mark in this tournament but expects Lleyton Hewitt to make things difficult for him if he makes it to the third round.
“Baghdatis is in good form – it will be tough. But Lleyton is such a strong competitor – you can’t rule him out.”
Rayner expects Swiss master Roger Federer, winner of 15 grand slams, to compete strongly, while Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are also expected be top contenders.
Tomas Berdych was another player who could produce a surprise result.
“He can do anything on his day,” Rayner said.
“But the consistency probably isn’t there.”
Among the women competing, Rayner said he was thrilled to see Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin competing again, adding that he would be thrilled to see an all-Belgian final.
He also expected “perennial contenders” Venus and Serena Williams to do well.
He also felt Elena Dementieva could go far at the Open but was disappointed for Australia’s Jelena Dokic, who crashed out in the first round.