Commentary

Seven Aussie Open revelations

Updated: February 1, 2011, 8:51 PM ET
By Ravi Ubha | ESPN.com

MELBOURNE, Australia -- The next few months will tell us whether Novak Djokovic, who cruised to the Australian Open title, can maintain his dominant level.

Kim Clijsters was pretty impressive, too, dropping only one set en route to her first major outside New York.

If the French Open is as exciting as the fortnight in Melbourne, we're in for a treat.

What did we learn from the tournament? Here are seven things from the seven rounds.

First round: Veterans don't flinch

The first round was quite eventful. We had Clijsters handing a double bagel to the unfortunate Dinara Safina, while Ana Ivanovic was edged in a thriller by Ekaterina Makarova.

But two guys who've been on the circuit for a while, David Nalbandian and Aussie Lleyton Hewitt, not the best of buddies, stole the show.

The battle of hip-afflicted baseliners produced a roughly five-hour classic that Nalbandian won after saving two match points.

It took its toll on Nalbandian, who retired in Round 2.

Second round: Roger isn't the same

Up two sets, Roger Federer usually cruises.

Federer was punishing Gilles Simon, who had beaten him in their previous two meetings, almost breaking at will.

Suddenly, Federer was pushed to five, and in the end, fortunate to survive.

Federer played down the dip afterward, saying Simon's level was great, but the way his groundstrokes went astray was worrying.

The Swiss escaped a wobble versus Tommy Robredo in the fourth round, though there was no way out against Djokovic in the semis.

Third round: Venus isn't healthy enough

Even the best have to be healthy to compete.

Venus Williams wasn't in good shape and had to quit against German upstart Andrea Petkovic in the third round because of a groin injury. The fans who jeered her weren't too clever.

In the latter stages of her career, Williams deserves plenty of credit for simply showing up in Melbourne. She wasn't in game shape, yet somehow overcame the pain to down Sandra Zahlavova in the second round.

Fourth round: A-Rod needs to step it up

Will Andy Roddick ever win another Grand Slam? The odds are against him.

But he certainly can do better than losing in the round of 16.

Roddick said after falling to an on-fire Stanislas Wawrinka that he'd discuss a few things with coach Larry Stefanki.

Roddick allowed Wawrinka to dictate, which didn't work. Maybe he'll finally adopt a more aggressive approach from the baseline.

He'll lose a few more matches but have a better chance of defeating the better players.

Quarterfinals: Winning four straight isn't easy

The signs weren't good for Rafael Nadal, who was trying to complete the "Rafa Slam," when he got sick in Doha.

The illness ultimately led to his downfall. Unable to train properly, he tweaked his hamstring in cold summertime weather and was no match for bulldog David Ferrer.

Not helping, either, was Nadal's decision to not take a proper break following a grueling 2010 campaign. That didn't make sense.

And the players who moan about a short offseason then play an exhibition in Abu Dhabi in late December to pad their wallets should zip it.

Semifinals: It wasn't Wozniacki's time

Players need focus to win Grand Slams, and Caroline Wozniacki stuttered a little.

By pulling a fast one on the media -- fibbing about an encounter with a kangaroo -- and delivering a monologue to begin another news conference, she showed her mind was on other things.

Why not go with the flow and save the drama for a non-Slam?

Hand it to Wozniacki for showing composure against Francesca Schiavone in the quarterfinals, when she trailed by a set and break. But when Li Na's game clicked in the semifinals, she couldn't do much about it.

Final: Murray can't win on defense alone

Andy Murray is similar to Wozniacki in that, essentially, they're counterpunchers.

Murray probably wasn't at 100 percent against Djokovic in the final, but he had his chance. Tied at 4-4 in the first, it was anyone's guess as to how the match would unfold.

Murray's collapse in the second and third sets was alarming, especially since he'd lost seven straight sets in Grand Slam finals. It's at nine now.

Murray always has been a little different, dumping coaches at will and relying on his mom, Judy, to help him make the tough decisions. Perhaps he needs a traveling coach rather than just a consultant in Alex Corretja.

Most important, he must realize he's not going to win a major by patrolling the baseline, pushing balls back and remaining passive. His serve continues to be a problem.

Imagine the scrutiny he'll be under at Wimbledon.

Ravi Ubha is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com.

London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com.