1. Forget the Zhou Enlais of the sports punditry world. Yes, Sampras won more Slams. Yes, Connors won more tournaments. Bugger the stats and trust your eyes: Roger Federer is the best tennis player the planet has seen.

2. Federer v Roddick was the beautiful game at its most beautiful, unless you’re Roddick. (He fared better against Pong.) The stretch where Federer won 35 of 42 points and 11 straight games was something for the ages.

3. Thomas Enqvist, Arnaud Clement, Rainer Schuttler, Marcos Baghdatis, now Fernando Gonzalez. There is a recent tradition of accomplished but underrated male players rampaging through the fortnight at Melbourne Park and making the final – and a tradition of them getting beaten. For enjoyment’s sake, here’s hoping Gonza the Bonzer maintains his slashing form for a while to come.

4. Serena Williams playing (apparently) above her ideal playing weight still raises several questions. Firstly, is her physical condition a valid issue while she wins a string of matches? Secondly, should any subeditor who failed to write a “Serena silences the knockers” headline after the gift quote re her breast size be automatically sacked? Thirdly, does her winning streak indicate that she is brilliant or that her opponents are bad or both?

5. The challenge system works. It reduces unfairness and provides drama. If, however, you are drawn in a match off Broadway, you’re at the mercy of good old fashioned linespeople and their dodgy eyesight. This anomaly favours the seeded players who are more likely to find themselves on the main stage.

And it might also kill off the art of the uber-tantrum that only a wrong line call can conjure. Surely, they cannot be serious about denying us all the joy of a prime time dummy-spit?

6. What is it with coaches telling male players when they should and should not challenge? Either coaching from the stands is illegal or it isn’t. Indicating the right time to challenge is coaching.

7. The courts may be quicker, but unfortunately for Lleyton Hewitt, his exit was, too. The little Aussie whinger can blame the courts, his coach or the drinking water in Adelaide, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that his best tennis is behind him.

8. It became harder and harder through the wet and cold second week to remain interested in the extreme heat discussions of the tournament’s first two days.

9. The Open still hasn’t resolved its scheduling headache. January remains too early for many players who come off their break with minimal tennis going into the event.

10. In terms of TV commentary, Jim Courier remains an insightful and engaged anchor, and the contributions of tour insiders Roger Rasheed, Todd Woodbridge and Darren Cahill on men’s matches were valuable. Pity Channel Seven doesn’t provide an equally strong team for the women’s matches, however.

Peter Fray

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