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The beautiful unpredictability of women's tennis TIME ONLINE

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As Cori Gauff two days ago, the media center of Melbourne the largest room in the building was overflowing. The American colleagues had long held up their hands to answer questions. The interest in her fifteen-year-old compatriot after the surprising third round win against the Japanese winner Naomi Ōsaka last year was enormous, not all of them spoke.

Two days later: Now the attention of another American, the six years older, still 21 years young Sofia Kenin. She defeated the new child prodigy, winning the decisive set 6-0. Kenin is now in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Professional sport doesn't have to be a fast-paced business. Think of the gentlemen. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Đoković have been leading the ATP tour with some exceptions for around fifteen years. Women's tennis is unpredictable. The Australian Open this year it is very special.

since Federer First Wimbledon title in 2003, he, Nadal and Đoković won outrageous 54 of 64 Grand Slam titles. In total there were only seven other winners at the four most important tournaments in the world during this time. Behind it, the third generation is already fighting for connection.

The situation for women is now completely different. At the same time, twenty-five different players won a Grand Slam tournament. Only Serena Williams (23 Grand Slam titles) is one of the title aspirants, then as now. But since her last title at the 2017 Australian Open, her pregnancy break and her return, the 38-year-old has lost four major finals.

Here in Melbourne, to the surprise of many, the Grande Dame already eliminated Chinese Wang Qiang in round three. The big dream of the Grand Slam record (24) seems to be more and more a burden. Experts are certain that you are running out of time.

No longer just one or two exceptional players

Instead, women's tennis is undergoing an ever faster change. Ten different winners have been counted since 2017, including the long-standing number one Angelique Kerber, Germany's figurehead, set at 17 in Melbourne, said after their knockout stage on Saturday: "Compared to the time ten years ago, our tennis has become much, much faster and more athletic. The teams around the players, coaches, physiotherapists, psychologists, Managers are much more professional. "

Similar to men, this development has led to a higher average age at the top. In the top 10, this is currently a good 26 years, five years more than ten years ago. In addition, just one or two exceptional players no longer dominate the scene.

Here in Melbourne, too, the field was quickly mixed up. Before the round of 16, ten of the sixteen top seeded players said goodbye. The Danish Caroline Wozniacki, former number one, retired in the third round and now ends her career at the age of 29.

. (tagsToTranslate) Sport (t) Australian Open (t) Australian Open (t) Serena Williams (t) Roger Federer (t) Melbourne (t) Angelique Kerber (t) Rafael Nadal (t) Tennis (t) Barbara Rittner (t ) Grand Slam tournament (t) Novak Djokovic



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