Florida's tennis stars have a strong showing at the Australian Open
Jan 28, 2024
The 2024 Australian Open wrapped up this weekend and the first Grand Slam of the year was well-represented at all levels by Florida talent. From nine pros and a handful of juniors making their mark, the Sunshine State has plenty to be proud of from the first major of the year.
Above: Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka currently resides in Miami. Photo: Hamaltion / Wikipedia Commons (CC BY SA-4.0).
Headlining the state was none other than 2023 US Open Champion, Coco Gauff. The 19-year-old was destined to go back-to-back at the Grand Slams, and she gave it her all. Gauff rolled through her first four matches and made history by winning her fifth (quarterfinals) matchup. She became the youngest American women to reach the final four in Melbourne since Florida’s own, Mary Joe Fernandez, did in 1991. Gauff was stopped on her way to the title in the semifinals by Aryna Sabalenka, who was looking to avenge her loss at the US Open finals.
Sabalenka caused some trouble for Florida players as she also took down Amanda Anisimova, who was making her return to pro tennis at the Australian Open, in the fourth round. Anisimova took an indefinite break last year and the tennis world was thrilled to welcome her back on the biggest stage in Australia. While she wasn’t able to win the whole thing, this was an impressive showing and could be foreshadowing a successful season for her.
Following her loss, Collins dropped a bombshell announcement on the tennis world, revealing that this will be her final season competing on the pro tour. This will wrap up a pro career that started back in 2016. With three Grand Slams left this year, Collins will be eagerly pushing to capture her first one.
The veteran on the Florida group, Sloane Stephens, won her first two matches, including a win over the No. 14 seeded Daria Kasatkina. However, her run ended in a third-round loss to Anna Kalinskaya.
Above: Sarasota's Seb Korda. Photo: ATP Tour.
Representing the Doubles side of the draw was No. 1 Ranked Austin Krajicek and his partner from Croatia, Ivan Dodig and Women’s player Nicole Melichar-Martinez with partner Ellen Perez (Australia). Much like Shelton and Korda, both the pairs were upset early on, with Krajicek losing his second-round match and Melichar-Martinez losing her first.
USTA Florida junior players did well at the Grand Slam, with three players making impressive runs. Jagger Leach (Sarasota), played in the Junior Doubles Draw, and made it all the way to the semifinals in her first appearance at a major.
Former USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Winner, Roy Horovitz (Key Biscayne), put on a great performance, reaching the third round of the Boys Single’s Draw. On the Girl’s side, Mia Slama (Boca Raton) also reached the third round in her first Grand Slam of 2024.
All in all, Florida tennis is reaching levels it hasn’t seen in recent years and 2024 is definitely going to be an exciting year for all tennis players representing our state! Make sure to follow the USTA Florida on social media to keep up with the latest updates.
Written by: Jaret Kappelman, Marketing & Communications Coordinator for USTA Florida. Written by: Jaret Kappelman, Marketing & Communications Coordinator for USTA Florida. Be sure to check out USTA Florida, the governing body of amateur tennis in Florida, offering tennis programs for all ages and ability levels. Top photo: Tennis Australia.