Can Bernard Tomic make it a hat-trick of Sydney finals in 2015? After defeating Kevin Anderson in the final for the trophy in 2013 and losing to Juan Martin del Potro in 2014 at the Apia Sydney International, the young Australian player hopes to return and go one better in 2015.
Preparations are already underway, under the management of tournament director Craig Watson, for the 2015 iteration of the tournament, which has been played in Sydney since 1892 and continues to attract top players looking to tune up for the Australian Open as well as record numbers of fans.
More than 80,000 people were in attendance at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre and packed the Ken Rosewall Arena to watch 2013 champion Bernard Tomic take on world no. 5 and top seed Juan Martin del Potro. The big Argentine won in a stunning display of dominant power tennis, winning his eighteenth career title 6-3, 6-1 and received his trophy from the hands of Ken Rosewall himself.
Juan Martin Del Potro is congratulated by Ken Rosewall (GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
‘The finals never are easy, but I was surprised of my level tonight,’ said del Potro. ‘I think I played great. My forehand worked perfectly; I made a lot winners; many aces; I played good slices.’
The Argentine added, ‘I think Bernard was a little frustrated after seeing me very focused on the match and hitting the ball so well. He is still young in some moments of the match, but he has everything to win titles, and he will reach finals very, very soon.’
An understandably disappointed Tomic praised del Potro’s play. The Argentine lost just six points on serve in the 53-minute match, hitting eight aces.
‘Juan played too good,’ said Tomic. ‘There was nothing I could do. I knew it was going to be like that where either he plays very good or gives me more chances.
‘Tonight showed why he's that quality of a player. So there was nothing I could have done. I tried to keep up, but he kept playing the way he was playing. I haven't seen a guy play a second set like that. It was too good.’
Tomic joins Lleyton Hewitt, Tim Henman, Pete Sampras, Guy Forget and James Blake as players who have reached consecutive finals at Sydney. Lleyton Hewitt won the title in 2000-1 and 2004-5.
Ken Rosewall has some encouraging words for Bernard Tomic (GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
Del Potro received $82,040 and 250 Emirates ATP Ranking points, while runner-up Tomic earned $43,210 and 150 Emirates ATP Ranking points. Sergiy Stakhovsky and Dimitry Tursunov reached the semi-finals, while del Potro and Tomic were joined in the draw by the likes of Andreas Seppi, Julien Benneteau, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Marin Cilic.
As the top young Australian, Bernard Tomic is sure to be back in 2015 and del Potro signaled his intention to return too.
‘The Australian fans respect me a lot even playing against Bernie. It’s so nice to me playing in front of this atmosphere with this crowd. It was a really nice, nice week for me … I really enjoying all days here in Sydney, and hopefully I can be here next year.’
As the last opportunity for the men to tune up on Australian hard courts ahead of the Australian Open, Sydney is sure to have another packed field in 2015 as the tournament builds upon its long history to reach new heights of tennis excellence and fan experience.