x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Contrasting fortunes for Serena Williams and Roger Federer

One legend powered her way to the title in Brisbane while the other struggled in defeat to start the 2014 season.

Serena Williams showed Victoria Azarenka who is boss in women's tennis. Bradley Kanaris / Getty Images
Serena Williams showed Victoria Azarenka who is boss in women's tennis. Bradley Kanaris / Getty Images

The opening weekend of 2014 was a tale of two 32-year-old players.

The first, Serena Williams, started from where she had left off. The American breezed through the field at the Brisbane International without dropping a set and her victims included two of her closest challengers – Maria Sharapova in the semis and Victoria Azarenka in the final.

“It showed me where my level was,” she said, “and I feel like I definitely have some room for improvement.”

That might not be such great news for her opponents, who probably are hoping for a greater share of the spotlight this year after Serena hogged it in 2013, winning 78 of her 82 matches and piling up a career-best winning streak of 34.

At the same Queensland Tennis Centre, another 32-year-old great, Roger Federer, looked a shadow of his former self as he lost the final to Lleyton Hewitt, also 32.

According to reports coming in from down under, the Swiss played some of his worst tennis in the opening set of the 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 loss.

Looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2013, when he won just one title, Federer must have been hoping to start 2014 on a winning note. Having celebrated Christmas with his family in Dubai, the world No 6 had avoided opening his season at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship or Qatar, and opted for Australia.

Unfortunately for Federer, the ploy did not worked and he still has plenty of work ahead.

arizvi@thenational.ae