For as long as we’ve lived in Australia, we’ve never been to the Australian Open tennis except for Charity Matches or Kids’ Tennis Days. Luckily last Sunday we decided it was about time to experience the real atmosphere of a highly popular and entertaining tournament that brings visitors to Melbourne from all around the world. As a tennis fan and lover of the great game, getting a Ground Pass for the day made me really excited.
It was a rainy start to the day that made the practice courts outside wet and dangerous. Other fans and us waited for Novak Djokovic to begin practicing on one of the exterior courts, but after a while we saw Spanish tennis player, David Ferrer arrive for training. With his athletic looks and on-court charisma, it made the long one-hour wait by Court 17 really worth it. He graciously signed autographs for fans and posed for selfies afterwards.
It’s one thing to see the matches on TV and a completely different experience to actually be at the Australian Open. We’d catch celebrities everywhere we looked, even finding tennis champion turned commentator, Jim Courier, near the entrance to one of the major courts. My sister and I split up in order to see more and find our favourite players. I managed to come across my childhood idol, Martina Hingis posing with trophies, while my sister found her idol Mark Philippoussis.
Luckily by the afternoon many of the practice courts were being used and we could also catch Australian Bernard Tomic practicing, as well as second seed Andy Murray hitting shots with his coach Amélie Mauresmo. We were once again made to wait over an hour in the hopes of seeing the legend Roger Federer, but a last minute court change made us all run to a much larger practice court where the atmosphere was much less personal and made getting an autograph from the champion a lot more difficult!
Other matches we got to see were men’s doubles between Cuevas/Granollers and Dodig/Melo on Hisense Arena and Australian Stosur/Peers playing against Rodionova/Reid in the mixed doubles on Showcourt 2 as the sun started to set across the Melbourne skyline.
All in all, I highly recommend a visit to this tournament as it’s one-of-a-kind and really shows off the true Australian sporting culture we’ve all grown to know and love.
Congratulations to Angelique Kerber for beating Serena Williams last night in the Women’s finals and good luck to Djokovic and Murray in the Men’s finals tonight. I know that we’re in for a great night of tennis, even if this time I’ll be watching it on the television with a cool strawberry smoothie I always prepare for finals of the Australian Open.