OPINION: 'No-name' Australian Open can be good for tennis

DOES it really matter if the men and women at the Australian Open are not known to casual observers?

The lack of "star power” has popped up in online commentary since the start of the summer of tennis, but it is hard to understand just how people form the opinion.

Andy Murray and Serena Williams are two of the biggest names in men's and women's tennis, while Kei Nishikori and Victoria Azarenka, while not as universally known, are huge omissions from the draw.

But how can anyone regard a draw that includes the likes of Roger Federer, Grigor Dimitrov, Novak Djokavic, Rafael Nadal lacking star power?

Similarly, the women.

Maria Sharapova, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki and Australian sensation Ash Barty are all well-known, top quality players who impress with every match.

Sure, some shock opening round losses to Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens depleted the women's draw, but it gave the players who advanced a huge opportunity to become bigger stars, and earn valuable tour points (for the record, they both lost in the second round).

While the lack of big names can hurt ticket sales and lose a casual fan's interest, the benefits - the discovery of new stars and a shake-up of seedings at future events - far outweighs the negativity.



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