Ever since the sneaker collaboration between tennis icon Roger Federer and Michael Jordan on the Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 and the Air Jordan 3 in 2014, styling your footwear has never been more popular these days. Back in 2020 when Nike had made a statement regarding a new performance tennis shoe in the works, the anticipation had built as a new silhouette would hit the courts in 2021. During the second week of this year’s Australian Open, Nike released the new NikeCourt React Vapor NXT.
The newest iteration of the ever popular Vapor line of tennis shoes provides tough plastic and rubber compounds in high wear areas such as the medial and lateral sides of the shoe. The outsole features a new “data informed design” to help players slide on the hardcourts according to the Nike website. The traction is a modified herringbone traction pattern to help keep you stable but not hindering your ability to slide into shots.
Nike’s newest cushioning technology has also made it’s way into the NikeCourt React Vapor NXT. As it states in the name itself, the Nike React technology is placed into the midsole to offer a low to the ground feeling without losing that the responsiveness that most tennis shoes possess. Although weighing in a lot heavier than past Nike Vapor models at 15.8 Oz according to the tennis warehouse website, the Vapor NXT is still a solid shoe for players of all different skill level.
The NikeCourt React Vapor NXT is available on the Nike website and other tennis specific retailor website in a full size run for both men and women.
As the sun set on what was a very well organized tournament at this year’s Australian Open, one man and one woman walked away with the trophies. Leaving the competition in the dust was young phenom Naomi Osaka and the now 18 time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic.
Naomi Osaka took to Rod Laver Arena on Saturday night to take on Jennifer Brady. The two had just clashed at the 2020 U.S Open semi-finals in a three set thriller where Osaka prevailed and would eventually win the tournament. Despite their thrilling match at Flushing Meadows, this encounter was all Naomi Osaka. The 23 year old woman from Japan plowed her way through Brady as she finished the match with 6 aces, 40 points won on her serve, and converting 4/5 of the break point opportunities she had. Osaka took the match [6-4, 6-3] and won her fourth Grand Slam and second title at the Australian Open.
This win at the Australian Open is the second time where Osaka has won the last Grand Slam of the year, the U.S Open, and has followed it up with an Australian Open crown the next season. She first won the U.S Open in 2018 defeating Serena Williams and won the Australian Open in 2019 that next January.
Taking the stage on Championship Sunday for the men’s bracket was world number 1 and reigning champion Novak Djokovic. He would be taking on world number 4 Daniil Medvedev who hadn’t loss a match since November. The two have met on four different occasions with Medvedev winning three of the last four encounters. Despite being the 8 time Australian Open champion, Novak was only a slight favorite by the odds makers with a 58% – 42% advantage.
However, Novak let his game play do the talking and pummeled Medvedev in dramatic fashion. After an entertaining first set which saw Djokovic win it at 7-5, it was all downhill from there. Medvedev had broken the Djokovic serve early before eventually getting broken back and losing 6 out of the next 7 games to lose the set 2-6. The Russian phenom had started to lose his mojo late in the second set as he began talking to himself more and yelling at his coach’s box as well as himself. The second set ended with a broken racquet from Medvedev while Novak cruised to a two sets to none lead.
The third set was much of the same as the typically mentally strong Medvedev had a melt down on Rod Laver Arena. Missing the easy shots and losing point after point, Medvedev couldn’t find his rhythm that he possessed early in the match. With several unforced errors and the world number four’s first serve percentage dropping, Novak Djokovic pounced on the opportunities presented to him and easily dispatched of Medvedev in three sets [7-5, 6-2, 6-2].
With his win at this year’s Australian Open, Novak Djokovic has become on the second man in history with at least 9 titles at a single Grand Slam event with the first man being Rafael Nadal who has 13 French Open titles. Djokovic had also completed a second successful three-peat after winning the Australian Open from 2011-2013 and yet again from 2019-2021. With yet another Norman Brookes Trophy to add to the collection, there’s no telling when someone will end the legend’s reign in Melbourne.
With the Australian Open over, several key takeaways presented themselves following this year’s open. Australia was able to flatten the COVID-19 curve and allowed a nearly a full house of fans for both the men’s and women’s finals as well as fans for most of the two week tournament. By doing their part to stop the spread of the virus, Australia has seemingly returned to normal with very few cases popping up around their country. With an event that is televised worldwide, other countries could learn a thing or two from Australia and hopefully turn the tide against COVID in their neck of the woods.
After a very successful two weeks at the Australian Open, the winners of both the men’s and women’s draws will be decided this week. With the women taking to Rod Laver Arena on Saturday and the men on Sunday, it will be an action packed weekend of tennis.
Title favorite and world number 3 Naomi Osaka, will be taking on number 22 seed American Jennifer Brady. After defeating tennis legend Serena Williams in the semi-finals, Osaka is looking to win her fourth Grand Slam title and second Australian Open. With her sights on another crown down under, Osaka is hoping to cap off her two weeks in Melbourne with the trophy in hand.
Facing Osaka on Saturday evening, is Jennifer Brady. The 25 year old American had a breakout tournament at the 2020 U.S Open where she reached the semi-finals and loss to eventual champion and her opponent for Saturday’s final, Naomi Osaka. After proving that she has what it takes to get to the highest level, Jennifer Brady’s dream run at this year’s Australian Open proves that consistency is key is to becoming one of the best on the women’s tour. Seeking her maiden Grand Slam title, Brady is hoping for a slightly better result than her U.S Open clash with Naomi Osaka.
On the men’s side of things, Novak Djokovic is seeking his 9th Australian Open which would push the record of most Australian Opens up just one more notch. The Serbian legend ended Russian Aslan Karatsev’s Cinderella story in the semi-finals in three close sets. Djokovic, who has never loss in the semi-final or final of an Australian Open, is hoping to win Grand Slam number 18 and put himself just two Grand Slams shy of rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Facing Djokovic on Sunday will be world number 4 Daniil Medvedev. After his breakout season in 2019 where he made the final of the U.S Open, Medvedev has yet to make another final at a Grand Slam event. After losing in the fourth round of last year’s Australian Open and losing in the semi-finals to eventual champion Dominic Thiem in the 2020 U.S Open, Medvedev has returned to championship Sunday to fight for his maiden Grand Slam title. After defeating rival Stefanos Tsitsipas for a fifth time, the Russian is looking in good form heading into Sunday’s final.
Saturday’s Women’s Final begins in the U.S around 2:30am CST. The Men’s Final will begin early Sunday morning in the U.S around 2:30am CST.