MELBOURNE, Jan 21 — Brief stories from the Australian Open today:
Stomach for a fight
Britain’s Dan Evans insists he’s in good nick after coming through a five-set epic at the Australian Open, patting his stomach in celebration in a nod to the doubters.
Ahead of the tournament his ATP Cup captain Tim Henman suggested Evans lose weight and “miss a few meals” if he wants to go far at the Grand Slam.
“It was just a bit of a joke to the guys in the corner,” Evans told reporters of the tummy pat, after beating American Mackenzie McDonald 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.
“I’m in good shape — there’s no question about that. I’ve got strong legs and a good set of lungs.”
Grigor Dimitrov has never been afraid of making a fashion statement, and his outlandish tracksuit at the Australian Open certainly turned a few heads.
The Bulgarian strutted on court in a dark purple number with random yellow shapes, an outfit that sent social media into overdrive with one punter calling it “visual pollution” and another suggesting he forgot to take off his pyjamas.
Dimitrov said he likes being different. “I love colours... I love experimenting as well and when I’m out there, I don’t really think that much of the outfit. But it’s so good to feel comfortable.”
Cheers from the crowd
Australia’s John Millman is all for rowdy spectators getting in the mood with a drink — or three or four.
The 30-year-old defeated France’s Ugo Humbert in four sets and said afterwards that the backing of the vocal home crowd was something he “loved” and “needs”.
One of the sponsors in Melbourne is a Chinese liquor, and that’s just fine with Millman.
“I know that the Chinese one’s a really strong alcohol so let’s feed the crowd,” he said, before adding quickly: “I don’t encourage binge-drinking, guys, so please don’t quote me on that.
“Look, the Australian Open — it’s not just a tennis event now, it should be an entertainment event.”
Generous to a fault
Most players aren’t happy about serving double faults but they’re no problem for Belinda Bencic, who has pledged to donate to Australia’s bushfire relief each time.
The Swiss world number seven sent down four doubles in her win over Anna Schmeidlova, clocking up US$800 (RM3,258) for the cause after deadly wildfires torched thousands of homes.
“It’s great. I could have done more, but I didn’t,” she said. When reminded that other players are giving money for each ace, Bencic said: “Yes, so I can maybe donate both.” — AFP