Australian Open: From Novak Djokovic to Ash Barty, the top six moments of this year’s incredible grand slam

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
There were plenty of memorable moments in this year's Australian Open.
Camera IconThere were plenty of memorable moments in this year's Australian Open. Credit: The West Sport

This year’s Australian Open has been jam-packed with drama and excitement. Here are the moments that will live long in the memory.

Djokovic drama

Before a ball was served in the Australian Open, the tournament was making headlines around the world - for all the wrong reasons.

The drama surrounding Novak Djokovic and his eventual deportation for not meeting the Australian Government’s vaccine requirements took a lot of attention away from the sport and thrust the spotlight on the world No.1.

Novak Djokovic’s pre-tournament drama caught the headlines everywhere.
Camera IconNovak Djokovic’s pre-tournament drama caught the headlines everywhere. Credit: Darko Bandic/AP

Court cases were held, protests took place, and there was no shortage of accusations of lies.

In the end, just days before the tournament started, Djokovic was sensationally sent home, denying him a chance to win his 21st grand slam title - and making Rafael Nadal’s path to a similar goal slightly easier.

All-day Alcott

Australian champion Dylan Alcott finished his career at the Australian Open, but more important than his tennis is the legacy he leaves behind.

Alcott lost the wheelchair men’s final to Sam Schröder in a tough end to his career, but his honour of being named Australian of the Year will have an impact for generations to come.

Dylan Alcott has retired with an incredible legacy.
Camera IconDylan Alcott has retired with an incredible legacy. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

The 31-year-old put wheelchair tennis on the map in Australia and has inspired a generation of people with disabilities to reach for the stars.

Alcott will not soon be forgotten.

Magnificent Maddi

Perth’s Maddison Inglis was a relatively unknown wildcard heading into this year’s Australian Open. She finished as one of the great stories of the tournament.

Maddison Inglis stunned the world with her Australian Open run.
Camera IconMaddison Inglis stunned the world with her Australian Open run. Credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Inglis’ two-win run in the tournament shocked many, especially considering it began with a big win over 23rd seed Leylah Fernandez and ended in a three-set fighting loss to Kaia Kanepi in the third round.

The 24-year-old took home a vital paycheck, but most importantly discovered the confidence to launch her career as she looks to break into the top 100 for the first time and some regular grand slam berths.

Inglis is now a player to watch.

Special Ks a treat

Love them or hate them, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios made a splash at this year’s Open.

Heading into the grand slam there was a lot of talk about the duo’s singles efforts. Kokkinakis had just won in Adelaide and Kyrgios was on a crash course to take on world No.2 Medvedev.

In the end they were both knocked out well before they would have liked, but on the doubles court they starred.

Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios lit up the doubles court this month.
Camera IconThanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios lit up the doubles court this month. Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Winning the grand slam was an effort. But it was the rollercoaster ride on the way there which had everyone around the world tuning in.

The pair was entertaining, controversial and emotional. They played fantastic tennis though and drew a crowd which could help shape the tournament going forward.

Medvedev’s Meltdown

When Djokovic was officially out of the tournament, a lot of attention and pressure went on Medvedev.

After winning the US Open, he became the favourite to win the grand slam, so his inclusion in the final was little surprise.

What was noteworthy, however, was his meltdown in the semifinal win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, which saw the Russian lose his cool at the chair umpire.

Daniil Medvedev lost his cool with the chair umpire during the semifinal win.
Camera IconDaniil Medvedev lost his cool with the chair umpire during the semifinal win. Credit: Hamish Blair/AP

Medvedev lost his cool at umpire Jaume Campistol, wanting ramifications for what he believed was illegal coaching to Tsitsipas.

“Are you mad? Are you mad? For what? His father can talk every point? Are you stupid? His father can talk every point? His father can talk every point? His father can talk every point?” Medvedev could be heard yelling.

“Will you answer my question? Can you answer my question? Can you answer my question, please? Can his father talk every point?

“Oh my god. Oh my god, you are so bad, man. How can you be so bad in semi-final of a grand slam? Look at me. I’m talking to you!”

Medvedev kept his cool enough to win the semifinal, but it cost him $17,000 as part of the drama.

Barty’s Brilliance

For all the controversy, drama and gold of the Australian Open, nothing will come close to Ash Barty’s breakthrough victory.

The Australian superstar did not drop a set on her way to the title, becoming the first Australian in 44 years to win the home slam.

Just as important as the win was the way Barty went about it, with her graciousness in victory showing she is truly a role model for all.

Ash Barty captured the imagination of Australia with her Australian Open victory.
Camera IconAsh Barty captured the imagination of Australia with her Australian Open victory. Credit: Andy Brownbill/AP

Barty cruised into the final before battling hard against Danielle Collins in the final, coming from 5-1 down in the second set to claim a famous victory that left no one with a dry eye in Rod Laver Arena. And undoubtedly many watching at home.

Now the world is at her feet.

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