By Leela Uppaluri
“Playing in the Australian Open is like playing tennis in a hair dryer on full blast,” former world No. 1 tennis player Andy Roddick once said. The Australian Open is held annually in Melbourne, Australia, in the middle of January, where it can be 90–100 degrees Fahrenheit on the court. This event precedes all other Grand Slam tournaments that will be held later in the year, and, therefore, sets the stage for the rest of the tennis season. As someone with an avid tennis-watching family, I decided to cover the finals of the Men’s and Women’s Singles.
The Men’s Singles Final was preceded by a fiery quarterfinal match featuring three American men, an occurrence which has not happened since 2004. Unfortunately, none of these Americans made it to the finals, which featured the formidable Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Why is Djokovic scary? Well, he has won the Australian Open title nine times, including once against Tsitsipas. As I learned from my dad, “The big three (Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer) have dominated the Grand Slams for so long, these last two decades are often called the golden age of men’s tennis.” Unfortunately for Tsitsipas, this match was not in his favor. Djokovic was a “terrifying opponent” according to Hamna Chowdhry ’26, winning the first set in just 36 minutes. Though Tsitsipas began to gain momentum in the last two sets, he never managed to obtain the consistency of Djokovic’s tennis. Djokovic ended up winning 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5). This match placed Djokovic securely back into the No. 1 spot and, with his 22nd Grand Slam victory, tied him with Nadal as the all-time grand slam leader in men’s tennis.
On the women’s side, both finalists, Elena Rybakina, the surprise Wimbledon champion last year, and Aryna Sabalenka shared one thing in common—power tennis. And, no surprises, this match was incredibly intense with dynamic serving and hard hitting rallies. The average rally only lasted 3.83 strokes and usually finished with a tremendous winner from one of the women. In fact, Tenney Bluman ’26 said that while watching the women’s final, “[she] was on the edge of [her] seat the whole time”. Even though Sabalenka was seeded fifth and Rybakina 22nd, there was no clear underdog in this match. Sabalenka, who double-faulted on the opening point in the match, lost the first set fairly quickly. However, after an error from Rybakina, Sabalenka broke for a 3-1 lead in the second set, capturing her opportunity. The match ended with Sabalenka as a first-time Grand Slam winner, with a score of 4-6 6-3 6-4. Sabalenka now holds the world No. 2 spot.
This Australian Open featured both familiar tennis stars and newcomers playing some incredibly exciting matches. I can’t wait to see how these players progress for the rest of the season and over their own individual careers.