Sunday, January 22, 2012

Aussie Open 2012

Finally made it for some tennis action at the Australian Open yesterday after watching Tomic vs Dolgopolov on the telly the night before.

At the gates

A late start due to a forgotten credit card meant that I arrived at Flinders Street only at 1pm. Unsure which direction to take, I ended up having a quiet walk down the riverbank to the entrance of Rod Laver Arena.

 Who knew Berdych would later be known as the man who refused to shake hands?

As usual, the place was packed, perhaps even more so than at Wimbledon with a great deal more foodstalls as well as long, long queues to get into each of the show courts.

 The grounds

The top two courts at the Aussie Open are the Rod Laver and the Hisense Arena - these get top billing and the top matches are usually played at night here. Tickets to each of these are exclusive to each, as in a Hisense ticket holder would not be able to access Rod Laver and vice versa. The next show court down is the Margaret Court Arena - access to this court as well as all the other ground courts is covered by a ground pass.

Watching the scores and envying the spectators while waiting to get in

Clutching my mobile ticket in hand, I made my way to the end of a queue waiting to get into Show Court 2 (the next one down from Margaret Court Arena) and began my waiting game. What happens is that new seats only became available when people already sitting get up to leave. And if you have a seat, you are allowed up to 3 exits to get food, use the toilet etc before your seat is given up to newcomers. All this meant that those arriving in the 2nd or 3rd wave of visitors had to wait ages to get into the seated courts.

 Wimbledon was green, down under it's blue!

Still having no idea whom I was going to be watching, I finally found myself in the middle of a match between David Ferrer and Juan Ignacio Chela - exciting until Ferrer took the second set and his opponent started giving up in the 3rd, even applauding some of David's shots at the end.

Above where we were sitting were a group of Aussies who cheered boisterously after almost every point and when the points were not so exciting, would break out into fragments of song, often using the player's names.

After the match, we were pleasantly surprised when we found we were about to watch a mixed doubles between Bernard Tomic, the Aussie thats getting all the news at the moment with Jelena Jankovic against a couple of young Aussie players. The cheering section above us were in their element now, and started cheering in between points, asking Tomic to wear his headband and enquiring as to the whereabouts of his girlfriend.

The match itself was pretty straightforward with Tomic and Jankovic winning pretty easily.

The final match we watched was a mixed doubles between Max Myrnic and Leander Paes, both of whose partner's names escape me. Compared to the first two matches, this was a pretty relaxed affair, with Leander showing why he was, and still is a doubles player ot repute - with a killer backhand volley/smash and masterful touches into open court areas.

So ended a sunburnt day at the Australian Open. 2 down, 2 more to go!

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