It was just a week ago we wondered if the first major of the year could capture some of its old weirdness, give us some upset or upstart that moves past the best players in the world and into tennis glory.
We have our first answer in the 117th-ranked player in the world, Denis Istomin from Uzbekistan, knocking out the world’s second-ranked player, and possibly the greatest champion in the history of this particular Grand Slam, Novak Djokovic. Istomin, beat his opponent 7-6 (8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the second round of the year’s first Grand Slam. He took a little under five hours to complete what stands as one of the biggest upsets in Australian Open history.
“So much emotion on my mind,” Istomin said, obviously still shocked. “I cannot hold it.”
It’s the first time since 2002 that a number two seed fell in the second round or earlier. For Djokovic, it sets up questions about where one of the most dominant players goes from here. Up until today, Melbourne Park was his, much like the top seed in the world used to be until Andy Murray unseated him last year. Djokovic was in search of his seventh Australian Open crown.
“Take my bags and I go home,” Djokovic said. “Lessons are always learned every single day, not just when you lose.”
Even after the upset, there’s still plenty of star power left in the Slam. Roger Federer has looked sharp, easily handling his competition on his way to the third round. The top-ranked player, Murray, is still the favorite to win the whole thing even after hurting his ankle.
Yet the Djokovic upset does leave people wondering if the Australian Open still has some other strange moments to give us this year.