Australian Open 1999

It was one of the most open majors in the 90s: deprived of two best players in the world at the time (Pete Sampras, Marcelo Rios) with a defending champion completely out of form and accused of taking forbidden substances (Petr Korda). The second best player of the 90s (Andre Agassi) was still trying to rediscover his form after a terrible 1997 season. Under these circumstances the first Australian champion since 1987 was almost guaranteed: after all the best local players Patrick Rafter and Mark Philippoussis met in the US Open final a few months earlier. Unfortunately for the Aussie fans, they were on a collision course in the last 16. In the end it didn’t matter, neither of them advanced to quarterfinals because both had been outlasted by Thomas Enqvist, who was in the form of his life in January 1999 – the Swede seemed unstoppable, but Yevgeny Kafelnikov along with his coach Larry Stefanki found a cure for Enqvist’s devastating ground-strokes. It was a breakthrough tournament for young players: Tommy Haas and Nicolas Lapentti. Read more
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