Harry Everett took in the Tie Break Tens while in Australia over the festive period – and gives us his Top 5 memories for tennis then cricket.
5. Dustin Brown and Wu Di’s phenomenal third set battle on the second day of qualifying
These two men do not know how to play sensible, conservative tennis, every shot seemed to be an attempted winner, making incredible viewing for the hundreds jammed into the limited seating around court eight late Thursday night after the Finals draw.
Unfortunately for all attacking tennis lovers, eventual qualifier Brown lost to fellow qualifier Jao Sousa in five sets in the first round of the Australian Open on Monday.
4. Seeing the reaction Maria Sharapova received on Draw night
Returning to the site of her fateful 2016 failed drug test for the first time since, one might have expected the Russian to receive some criticism and question marks as to why a convicted drug cheat was chosen to bring the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup into the Margaret Court Arena.
But it seems that her excuse of the substance being taken ‘based on a doctor’s recommendation’ was accepted in good faith and she has been forgiven by most of the tennis world.
3. Novak Djokovic in the umpire’s electric chair
Electric as in motorised before anyone panics!
In between matches the Serb decided he fancied a go, so proceeded to provide great entertainment for the adoring crowd. Very slowly going up and down whilst the poor, seatless umpire stood awkwardly waiting for one of the game’s great, but mischievous, Grand Slam champions to give him his chair of power back! This wait was made even longer when Djokovic made out he had broken the mechanism and was thus stuck at the top of its range!
2. The exhibition doubles
Kyrgios and Thiem v Pouille and Djokovic provided another very entertaining Tie Break match to 10 points. The score was irrelevant, the match purely being an extra showcase to buy Nadal and Berdych extra recovery time before the final, but Kyrgios was a little too keen to be the centre of attention, smashing a few from point-blank range so compounding the latter pair to another loss.
The other three men provided many comical moments by refraining from smashing and continuing rallies as long as Kyrgios let be possible.
1. Lleyton Hewitt defying age in the Tie Break Tens
Hewitt delighted his home crowd, showing how good he still is at 36, dominating Djokovic 10-6 to knock one of the favourites out in the first round.
Arguably receiving the hardest draw out of the eight players, he then forced a determined Rafael Nadal to go two points clear to take the semi-final 13-11.
Hewitt looked just as fit as both his opponents-a great sign going into his Grand Slam comeback, nearly two years after retirement, in the Open doubles a few days later.