Originally Published Feb. 18
Tom and I love tennis so much that we were willing to get up at 3:30 in the morning to watch this year’s Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. There’s a sixteen-hour time difference between Melbourne and Connecticut. The afternoon matches started at 9 pm our time, while the evening matches started at 3:30 a.m. It was a two-week tournament, and let me tell you, getting up at 3:30 am was a challenge. I'm no spring chicken anymore. But it was worth it. The caliber of play was amazing. The dedication and commitment that these athletes have to raise the bar each and every time, was inspiring. I'm no stranger to the game of tennis, I played for many years, and I coached. It was one of my true passions. Tom was an excellent player as well, and we loved playing together. Tennis is a great way to communicate with your spouse or partner whether through a gentle lob or a fierce serve.
The women’s final was played at 3:30 a.m. last Saturday. Simona Halep and Caroline Woznicaki played the best women’s final I've ever seen. And I've watched many. The rallies were long, the balls were struck with force, and the timing was impeccable.
Each point was a challenge. The three sets went on for almost three hours. Both women were magnificent and either could have won. In the final set, Simona found herself one point away from losing the match at 4-5, 15-40, but she won the next 2 points to even the game at deuce; the rallies were long and magnificent for each point. Both players were running from side-to-side chasing outstanding well-placed balls.
Caroline won the next point set up by an awesome backhand crosscourt shot, giving her another match point. The next point was another extended, long rally, ending when Simona hit a short backhand into the net, giving Caroline her first Grand Slam victory.
The Men’s final on Sunday morning between Roger Federer, a 19-time Grand Slam winner, and Marin Čilić, a one-time winner, was also exciting and entertaining. Roger could have won in 3 straight sets AND he could have lost in 5 sets. He won 2 of the first 3 sets and was leading in the fourth, 3-1, when Marin won 5 straight games to even the match at 2 sets apiece.
The momentum was clearly favoring Marin, starting in the fifth set, but he lost his serve in the first game of the 5th set and never really recovered. The next few games were very close, but in the end, Roger prevailed 6-1 for his 20th Grand Slam victory.
So we send our congratulations to two great champions, one winning her first Grand Slam and the other continuing to set the all-time mark for Grand Slam wins by a man. Besides being champions, both are great people and wonderful ambassadors for the sport of tennis. May they continue to be both for years to come. We love watching them play and look forward to watching them at the other Grand Slam events this year. Tennis is considered an "individual" sport but it brings us together - lovers of the game - who admire the amazing talent of these fine athletes. With the Olympics around the corner, we look forward to rooting for our own country's athletes while still cheering on the extraordinary achievements by athletes from around the world. Watching and learning and being inspired. And isn't that what matters?
Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.