by Liam Flanagan
Every year the Australian Open rolls around and I allow my imagination to run rampant as I dream of one of our own proudly holding the trophy aloft at the end of the two weeks.
And yes, local Melbourne lad John Peers won the 2017 Men’s Doubles title but he did it with a partner from Finland so it was only half as enjoyable as when the Woodies use to win things.
But I’m talking about seeing an Aussie win the singles because it hasn’t happened in my lifetime. Born in 1984, I was six years too late to see Chris O’Neil take out the women’s title in 1978 and Mark Edmonson’s 1976 men’s title was almost forgotten by the time I arrived in the world.
So this year I’m prepared. I’m still hopeful that maybe pocket rocket Ash Barty can make the most of a Serena William’s-less women’s draw or maybe Nick Kyrgios can channel his energies and immense talent for a beautiful two weeks that delivers his first major. But just in case…
Here are the top five adoptable Aussies for the 2018 Australian Open:
#1 Jack Sock (USA) – The world number eight is an outside chance to win the men’s tournament but he also looks like he enjoys a good time. Have a look at the highlights from his recent appearance for the US at the Hopman Cup in Perth:
At the same tournament in 2016 Sock also correctly advised Lleyton Hewitt to challenge a line call which cost him a point but won him the hearts of the Aussie fans. And lastly, with a name like Sock he’s our best chance at seeing someone perform the now iconic “shoey” celebration if he wins the Open.
#2 Johanna Konta (UK) – A genuine contender for the women’s title, the world number nine IS AUSTRALIAN! Born and raised on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Konta first represented us when she began her tennis career before changing her allegiance to Britain in 2012. And since she still has an Aussie passport, if Konta wins the tournament, in the great tradition of claiming people that aren’t really ours (cough)… Russell Crowe (cough)… we will be marking it down as a win.
#3 Simona Halep (Romania) – The women’s world number one is coached by one of the greatest tennis coaches ever in Darren Cahill who just happens to be Australian. And if we know anything about Australian coaches it’s that they can deliver an inspiring pre-game rev up so let’s hope Darren’s providing Simona something along the lines of this speech ahead of her round one match up:
#4 Dominic Thiem (Austria) – If Dumb and Dumber taught us anything, and it did, it’s that Austrians and Australians are completely interchangeable … especially when Thiem represents a reasonable chance of going deep at the open.
Liam Flanagan will be joining The Rush Hour with MG, which kicks-off from Monday January 22.