I would say this win typifies what Sofia Kenin is all about. Once again she showed plenty of fight and mental strength. What is interesting is that she was quoted after as saying mental toughness is something that “I’ve worked on it, since I was a kid… That’s something you can’t really train. You’ve just got to believe in that, have that in you, and I left all my heart out in each match, and it got me here, so this is so exciting.” It just goes to show important this side of the game is. How many players can we say over the years have been good enough to win a slam but have been let down by their ‘bottle’ or ‘mentality’? Kenin has got here through hard work and grit.
Things didn’t really work out for her at the start of this. She found herself a set down and probably getting a little bit bullied by Muguruza. The Spaniard’s power looking like it might be the decisive factor on the day. Kenin just doesn’t panic though. Instead, she rained in her margins and hit consistently with decent length and pounded Muguruza into the ground. The Spaniard had no real answers as she started throwing in errors and crucial double faults, one on championship point to seal her fate. She did apparently take some medication early in the decider for a back problem but in truth, by the end, she was well beaten here.
Since Naomi Osaka won the US Open in 2018, there has only been one winner of a slam over the age of 23 in the women’s games, that was when Simona Halep won Wimbledon last year. Naomi Osaka was 21 when she won the US and the Aussie, Ash Barty was 23 when she won the French, Bianca Andreescu was 19 in New York and now Sofia Kenin at 21 years of age in Melbourne. Is this a huge concern for Serena etc? Has the game moved onto the younger generation? I think that depends on which side of the coin you are. Some will say judging by those results there is proof that there is a changing of the guard. Others will say that for one reason or another, whether it be dealing with the pressure or injuries that nobody is consistently looking like they will dominate right now. For me, Osaka and Andreescu are the two players that could take over Serena’s mantle in the future. The rest still look to have their chances for the time being. It is generally, still wide open.
Andy Del Potro