January 28th, 2011
02:59 PM ET

Who will prevail at the Australian Open finals?

Open Court's Pat Cash believed Novak Djokovic was a contender to win the Australian Open from the start of the tournament.
Open Court's Pat Cash believed Novak Djokovic was a contender to win the Australian Open from the start of the tournament.

It was a difficult time heading into the tournament. Everyone was in shock with the floods up in Queensland, we couldn’t believe what we were seeing. It’s happened before, many years ago, but it’s been all over the news non-stop, so the Australian Open has certainly been a distraction. With the floods and losing the Ashes cricket, we were very happy to get the tennis under way!

Before play started, I had the belief that Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were closing the gap on the top two, there’s no doubt about that. They were improving and they were working on their game.

Roger Federer, who was defending his title, was also working on his game, but Rafael Nadal traditionally doesn’t do that well at the beginning of the year, and he’d had a big year.

So for me it wasn’t surprising at all to see Djokovic and Murray going through to Sunday's final, and Nadal and Federer not. It’s very close now at the top, and unfortunately Rafa got injured, but these things happen and he couldn’t play his best.

It’s going to be tough to say who'll win, but Djokovic and Murray are two in-form players, there’s no doubt. I’m not going to be very popular back in Britain, but Djokovic has got a bit more to his game at the moment, a bit more power. It’s very much going to be down to who plays well at the right times, who grabs those opportunities.

It could be a long, tough match. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Murray came away with the title, but I'm going to have to say Djokovic should win. After beating Federer and having a couple of days’ rest, he’s looking in pretty good shape.

As far as the women's final goes, Li Na has definitely got a chance. But I don’t think she’s as powerful, and she doesn’t have the all-round game of Kim Clijsters.  She didn’t do her best last year losing to Serena Williams in the semifinals, but she has that experience to draw on.

It really is down to playing best on the day. It’s going to be warm, and Clijsters can tend to hit a lot of unforced errors, so I give Li Na a bit of a chance. I'm not sure if she will win, but she’s got a chance.

On a sadder note, it’s disappointing to see Justin Henin retire for the second time. Injuries are unfortunate, but that’s what happens in sport. It’s a pity that she couldn’t give it 100% her second time around, but she’s played a lot of tennis in her career and sometimes the body breaks down.

She’s one of the superstars – she’s little "Mighty Mouse," I like to call her. She’s brilliant to watch, I’ll miss her. I’ll be disappointed not to see her on the circuit.

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Filed under:  Tennis
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Sachiko

    Hi Pat :) nice to see you on this blog. I'm very sorry for Australian suffering such a devastating flood, hope that they will rejuvenate as soon as possible. Rally for Relief was wonderful, great event by great tennis players and staff.

    At men's final, I pick Murray to win. As you say situation seems favor Djokovic. The way he dispatched Federer is incredible, on the other hand Murray so struggled (as to miscount score!) today, showed in the beginning under-par performance partly because of Ferrer brilliance. Murray though finally found a way to collect himself, guess that gives him a lot of confidence that even if when things aren't doing well he can get over. Djokovic will attack Murray aggressively from baseline, but Murray's defense is the best offense for him. Killing counter-shot may take jabs at the Serb, seal off forcible groundstroke he showed against Federer,... but I'm not sure...anyway it will be a great match, can't wait.

    As for women's final, I'm rooting for Li because I'm an Asian! we're very proud of her, making a history in Asian tennis. Clijsters seems favorite but hope Li will take a chance to win.

    January 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Reply
  2. Elizabeth

    I, too, am sad that Justine Henin has had to retire again. The body can only take so much punishment, and maintaining the level of performance demanded by the top athletes on the pro tour takes a toll. I wish her well and say thanks for so many years of great play. She truly was one of tennis' great women players

    The men's finals don't hold much excitement for me anymore. The game seems to have devolved into this: rocket serve, maybe a return into the tape or wide/long. If the return happens to be "in" we get a few baseline to baseline groundstrokes (hit as hard as possible with much grunting) ended by an error. SNORE...

    What happened to great tennis in the men's game? Doesn't anyone have a net game? A drop shot? Can anyone serve and volley anymore? Half-volley? Do ANYTHING but stand at the baseline and hit (grunt)?

    The 125+ mph serve has made men's tennis a total bore for me. Give me back the Borg, Lendl, Becker, Connors, McEnroe etc. type players who played great GAMES. Then I will care about actually watching the men's game again.

    January 29, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Reply

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