Australian Open 2018, Day 2 highlights: Roger Federer's weird Will Ferrell interview; Karolina Pliskova aces charity
Roger Federer and Karolina Pliskova were among the winners on Day 2. But they also made news for other contrasting reasons. Take a look at some interesting stories from the Australian Open.
Defending champion Roger Federer picked up where he left off, beating Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in a night match, his first on Rod Laver Arena since clinching a career-reviving title in Melbourne last year. He was joined in the second round by six-time champion Novak Djokovic, who tweaked his service motion while recovering from an injured right elbow. The Serb won 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 over Donald Young in his first match of 2018.
Maria Sharapova, also making her return to Melbourne Park, said she relished every moment of it in Tuesday's 6-1, 6-4 victory over Tatjana Maria. World No 1 Simona Halep overcame an ankle injury to move on to the next round after a 7-6(5), 6-1 victory over Australian teenager Destanee Aiava.
US Open finalist Madison Keys kept American hopes up as she was one of the only four female players from USA to make the second round (Nicole Gibbs, Lauren Davis and lucky loser Bernarda Pera are the others). When the 128-player main draw was made, there were 18 American women in it.
Take a look at some interesting stories from Day 2 of the Australian Open:
Federer's bizarre interview
In his 20-year professional career, Federer has mastered the art of giving interviews. On Tuesday night, however, Federer was in for a bizarre experience. After his first-round win, comedian Will Ferrell stepped out of the crowd and, slipping into character as Ron Burgundy, conducted the post-match interview.
Here's how the awkward exchange panned out:
WF: Roger, tonight you seemed like a gazelle out there on the court. Would you describe your game as a silky gazelle?
RF: Maybe, maybe not. Don’t they get eaten at the end?
WF: Not if they’re fast enough. Quick question Roger, you’re 36-years-old, you seem ageless, are you a witch or a vampire?
RF: Ahh I don’t like those.
WF: There’s a rumour in the men’s locker room that you love coming to play in Melbourne and your secret to fitness is you only eat wombat meat. Is that true?
RF: That is untrue. I have not (eaten it). Should I?
WF: It is delicious — the national food of Australia. I know how much this crowd means to you, they are an amazing crowd, but does it get annoying when they just scream, “C’mon Roger” over and over again?
RF: “They remind me of my name, it’s good. At an older age it’s easy to forget sometimes, it’s great.
"Roger, would you describe your game as a silky gazelle?"
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 16, 2018
As usual, the 36-year-old Federer stayed classy, and tried and make the conversation funny. But for those watching, it was a cringeworthy affair. In a press conference later, Federer admitted that he had no idea about it beforehand. “I was a bit scared,” Federer joked. “I‘m happy I dodged some questions there.”
Pliskova's ace gesture
Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova served more aces on tour then any woman last season and if she continues the trend in Melbourne it will be great news for charity. The Czech rose to number one last year on the back of her blistering serve, powering down 452 service winners in 68 matches. And Pliskova said on Tuesday before her opening match, she would donate $100 of her prize money to benefit sick children for every ace she serves at the year's first Grand Slam.
"I've decided to contribute to a good cause. During the Australian Open I will donate through my endowment fund $100 for each ace to help children with oncological diseases. Keep your fingers crossed for me!" the sixth seed tweeted.
I've decided to contribute to a good cause. During the Australian Open I will donate through my endowment fund 100 USD for each ace to help children with oncological diseases. Keep your fingers crossed for me!✊ I'm really looking forward to this season's first Grand Slam pic.twitter.com/MiLF3hHGET
— Karolina Pliskova (@KaPliskova) January 15, 2018
Her 6-3, 6-4 first-round victory over Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Royg on Tuesday will see her writing a cheque for $700 already — she served seven aces.
Ostapenko stamps her mark
Jelena Ostapenko has become such a big name in her Latvian homeland since winning the French Open last year that she has a stamp with her image on it — and 55,000 were shifted in a single day.
"It was very, very impressive because not many athletes in Latvia get a stamp," said the Riga-born 20-year-old.
"When they told me, I was very, very happy, because I think it's a big thing if they make a stamp. Especially they made 55,000 stamps and they were sold out on the first day."
Ostapenko is now hoping to stamp her mark on this year's Australian Open, where she is safely into the second round.
Dasha has a wee tantrum
Australia's 23rd seed Daria Gavrilova got a bit flustered during her first round win late on Monday when she saw her dad and other members of her backroom entourage deserting her player's box.
Turned out they were just answering a call of nature, but their inconvenient dash didn't impress the woman nicknamed Dasha herself.
"They had to go to the toilet. It distracted me," said Gavrilova, whose head suddenly filled with conspiracy-like theories.
"I was like, Is someone sick? Did someone have to get out of the stadium because of something? I just create really weird stories in my head.
"If they had to go, they had to go. I just think of the worst things."
With inputs from agencies
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