If ever you were wondering just how tough it is to gain entry into a Grand Slam Championship then maybe you should look up a young fellow who shares my surname. A man by the name of Jordan. Now this young Aussie tennis player can play the game, he just lacks that big shot to take him to the next level but he has the heart of a lion.
Last year in the Australian Open Wild Card play off he won in 5 sets against Ben Mitchell, an epic match to decide who would play in the Australian Open.
The Wild Card play off is ridiculously tough, it's over 5 sets and it's usually in hot conditions this time of year in Melbourne. If a young kid or his coach is under any illusions regarding just what is required for the opportunity to play in a Grand Slam then perhaps this tournament is worth a tune in.
Now all of these players are bloody good tennis players, their rankings suggest just that but for Jordan Thompson to prevail in this year's event was nothing short of sensational. Thompson is ranked 274 and the range of rankings in this event were from 164 to 1426.
Now what happens when a player ranked 164 comes up against another ranked 485 ? You would expect a whitewash but a 7-6, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 win to top seeded Luke Saville over Chris O'Connell was anything but one sided. Rather than bore you with a smorgasbord of scores I will simply pick out a few that are worth noting.
A player ranked 1046 Mark Polmans had a win over Alex Bolt who is ranked 202 in a match only worth describing as 'tight', 7-6, 7-6, 2-6, 7-6. That win defies logic. How does a player of that ranking defeat someone who is knocking on the door of Grand Slam entry ? A guy ranked 574, Blake Mott had a win over Maverick Banes who is ranked 348 in 4 sets, another tough win. The number 2 seed John Patrick- Smith, ranked 200 had a tough first round win over Jacob Grills ranked 773, 6-4, 7-6, 6-1. The first two sets defied the difference in rankings.
So to the final. Jordan Thompson knew how to tough out a match as he did in last year's play off final and he almost did it in the first round at the Aussie Open against top 20 player Jerzy Janowicz, narrowly losing in 5.
Thompson took the first two easily before Smith came back to force it to a decider where Thompson some how clawed his way back from 1-3, 15-40 to win 9-7. The win came at a cost, a physical and mental one where Thompson at one stage couldn't remember the score due to the physical nature of the match. He just knew he was in front and had to stay there.
So Jordan Thompson gains immediate entry to the Australian Open where he will be hoping for a 'kind' draw but let's face it, even if he takes on a guy ranked 110 he will be in for a battle. There is not much in the game of tennis that separates guys ranked 100 to 1000, it may just be a slight flaw in technique or a stronger will to win.
I wish 'Thommo' luck, it would be nice to see that name through to the second round at least of the first Slam of the year in 2015. The young fellow from New South Wales has some ability and he definitely has a big heart.
He epitomizes what is required to win in the sport of tennis especially in his home country where pressure can at times seem overwhelming. Look at Sam Stosur, a serve like that and no show in the second week regularly of a major ? That's not her game, that's her head.
Good luck 'Thommo', with you all the way Champ........