Australia flagged off a new event for the decade. The maiden edition of the ATP Cup, with the banner: “for the love of country” was staged in Brisbane, Perth, and Sydney where the finals were played in Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena.
The heavy serving of tennis across the great land offered a palliative to the worldwide anxiety about the ravaging bushfires in the same period.
Spain defeated Canada in the 2019 Davis Cup Finals staged at the Caja Magica Madrid where Rafael Nadal was the Most Valuable Player for winning all his eight matches.
The ATP Cup for the top 24 nations by players’ rankings commenced six weeks after event in Madrid. Serbia won the maiden edition when Djokovic defeated Nadal in singles and partnered Vicktor Troicki to dismiss Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Carreno Busta in the deciding doubles from which Nadal withdrew because of what he called “low energy.” Djokovic was the most valuable player for winning all his six matches. The stage was set for the Grand Slam in Melbourne.
The men’s warm-up events in Doha, Adelaide, Auckland, and Brisbane were devoid of top-ranked players because of the closeness of the Davis Cup and the ATP Tour. Alex de Minaur, the great Australian hope, withdrew from the Grand Slam. Rafael Nadal and other players openly suggested the merger of the two events.
Mother Nature was benevolent and poured down rain showers on the second day of the Australian Open.
Two weeks later, a new champion was crowned in the women’s game. A worthy challenger got close to dethroning a player from the older generation. Dominic Thiem lamented that to win a Grand Slam, a player has to beat one or two of the top three. Djokovic praised and assured Thiem that the Austrian was very close to the title but “it was just not meant to be today.”
The players praised the event for once again setting the standard for other Grand Slam. The developers of the tennis complex in Melbourne Park had the benefit of learning from others. The Wimbledon venue is limited in land area and the Centre Court considered a hallowed ground where not much can be changed. However, the 1977 Millennium Court was constructed and well-liked by players, the spectators, and the media. Pierre Chatrier Court at Roland Garros is rectangular and constructed with the famed French expertise in cement structures. Arthur Ashe Stadium’s conical shape presented a daunting challenge to installers of the roof.
However, the developers of Melbourne Park drew from the experiences of the other three to create the best two main bowls for Grand Slams and named after Rod Laver and Margaret Smith Court.
The host country made use of a successful first tennis event of the decade to inform the world that: “Australia is ready for business.”