Shots of the Day: Lacko delights crowd with round-the-back genius


Slovakian tennis star Lukas Lacko probably had very mixed feelings when he drew Novak Djokovic in the opening round of the Australian Open.

On the one hand, of course, it was a bad thing since it effectively guaranteed that the world number 96 would go no further than the first match.

But at the same time, it did at least guarantee him a moment in the sun - or rather the floodlights of Rod Laver Arena - as he went up against the defending champion.

And he made the most of his chance to impress the huge crowd with a nifty behind-the-back shot early on in the second set.

Sadly for Lacko, his improvisation wasn't even enough to win him the point - despite his a neat, mid-air turn and landing that a gymnast would have been proud of - as he went on to lose 6-3 7-6(2) 6-1.

View photo


Lukas Lacko dazzles the crowd in Melbourne

Lacko's effort was the most eyecatching, but it wasn't one of the best two shots of the opening day. Both of those were hit by world number 42 Juan Monaco.

The Argentine was embroiled in a ding-dong opening round match against big-hitting Latvian Ernst Gulbis, with Gulbis consistently using his power to get himself to the net while driving Monaco back.

Not once, but twice in the match, Monaco found the answer: magnificent lobs from deep behind the baseline. One came from an on-the-run forehand in the opening set, while the other was a backhand, also hit under pressure and on the move, in the third set.

Like Lacko, his heroics weren't enough however: Gulbis ran out a 1-6 6-4 7-6 6-2 winner.

The same fate did not befall the day's other stand-out shotmaker, Jerzy Janowicz. The big-serving Polish star - a semi-finalist at Wimbledon last year - came out on top of the most exciting rally of the day with some absolutely astounding reaction volleys.

Janowicz's magic helped deny his opponent, local wildcard Jordan Thompson, a thrilling opening day upset. Thompson, the world number 319, won the first two sets against Janowicz but could not maintain his blistering start, and ended up losing 1-6 4-6 6-4 6-2 6-1.

View comments (3)