NYT Columnist: Australian Open Is A Big Flashback

Roger Federer has advanced to the semifinals of the Australian Open, this after beating Mischa Zverev, and is now the oldest player to reach a Slam semifinal since Jimmy Connors, then 39, reached the U.S. Open in 1991.

Even more interesting, perhaps, is Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have already lost. That means that Federer, 35, could win his first major since 2012 and become to oldest man to win a Grand Slam since 1972.

“People feel like they’re caught in a time warp down in Australia right now,” New York Times global sports columnist Christopher Clarey said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “The whole thing is just crazy. You’ve got people in their mid-30s right and left in the semis between the Williams sister, between Federer and between Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who’s a fantastic story. She’s almost 35 and made her first Grand Slam semi in 18 years today. So the whole thing is just a big flashback and Federer is part of it. The court down here on center court is playing a bit quickly this year. I think it’s benefitting the players like Roger who love attacking tennis. It’s been a big revival, the whole thing.”

Federer will face Stan Wawrinka in the semis. 

On the women’s side, Serena Williams, 35, will face Lucic-Baroni, 34, while Venus Williams, 36, will face CoCo Vandeweghe, 25. Three U.S. women haven’t reached the semifinals of the same Grand Slam since 2002 at the U.S. Open. 

“CoCo Vandeweghe has got lots of personality and lots of power, so it’s been kind of fun,” Clarey said. “Obviously she’s from a big sports family with Kiki and Ernie and the Knicks and the NBA and all that, so it’s fun to have that connection. She’s trying to make her own way. She’s got a lot of potential. We’ve known that for a while. She’s had trouble controlling her power, been a bit erratic, and again, I think this quick court is playing to her advantage, and she’s just played some stunning tennis in the last couple of rounds.

Vandeweghe beat Angelique Kerber, who is ranked No. 1 in the world, and Garbine Muguruza, who won the French Open. 

In other news, Andy Roddick will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this summer in Newport, Rhode Island.

“He was really humble about it, which I believe is the right tone to take,” Clarey said. “As he said himself, he’s not Roger, he’s not Serena. He’s not an automatic person in the Hall of Fame. He only won one Grand Slam, but I think he got in based on his consistency over the years. He reached four other Slam finals. If he hadn’t been in the Federer era, he certainly would have won Wimbledon. He’s a real Davis Cup trooper at a time when our country doesn’t really follow the Davis Cup, the team competition, much anymore. And he was No. 1 in the world. So I think he deserved it, but I liked the way he talked about it. I think he has it in proper perspective. It’s something that he was hoping to get, and when he got it, he was pretty emotional about it.”

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