It’s been an interesting week at the Australian Open. The Wheelchair divisions have had their fair share of upsets, just like the able bodied divisions. Olympic gold medalist Gordon Reid went out in the first round to a very strong Joachim Gerard, and the combination of Alfie Hewitt and Gustavo Fernandez successfully defeated the number one seeded team of Stephane Houdet and Nicholas Peifer.
The matches have been streaming on ESPN, so you will be able to watch replays. Entertainment value aside, I highly recommend wheelchair players to watch the matches just in terms of strategy. Yes, most of us will not be playing at the level of these competitors, but the techniques that they employ, in terms of mobility and shot selection are the same techniques we should all be using. In fact, I gave a homework assignment to one of my students to watch the Gerard/Peifer match. This student has a tendency to take a shot in the court then move to the net regardless of the circumstances. I wanted him to study the match and let me know what the conditions were when Gerard approached the net.
The only complaint I have about the tournament is that they don’t have commentary for most (all? I haven’t watched the singles finals yet) of the matches. I look forward to the day when that happens. Already the camera work has improved dramatically since days past, so there is much to hope for.
Finally, a quick congratulations to David Wagner and his partner Andy Lapthorne for their victory in the quad doubles division.