Bananas for Tennis

Australian Open is always a wonder and an experience.Every now and again it’s a heatwave. Which is why I have rightly named this post “bananas for tennis”.

Earlier this year my sister and I decided to make the trip down to the Australian Open, with two of our friends. It was planned a couple of months in advance and I was jumping in my boots with every month that had passed.

It was hot!! My god we sweated it out. If it wasn’t for our passion for this great sport we wouldn’t have lasted as long as we did. It was over the 35 degree mark every day that we had attended. I felt like I was melting under my hat, which I was so pleased that I had brought with me. If it wasn’t for the overpriced icy poles and frozen drinks (which,at one point my friend Fen had to wait in line 30mins for) it would have been tough going.

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The gang
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a souvenir, caught by my friend, but she let me keep it in the end.

If you haven’t been to the Australian open, or been to a tennis competition, hand on my heart, I swear it is probably the best sport to watch live. With the opens, you have so many matches to go to and see, and usually they are free – once you have paid the entry ticket. An entry ticket also includes access to the players practice courts, where you can squeeze in and get a good look at the players and (if you’re lucky!) you could get a signed autograph or picture.

But instead of showing you my happy snaps of us all sweaty and needing a good fan down, here are some panoramas of the courts we went to!

SHOW COURT 3

This was the first court we went to on our first day. My sister had her eyes on this court the day before, because one of her favourite players had the first morning match.

Tomas Berdych vs Jurgen Melzer      7 – 6 – 6   //   6 – 2 – 2  (my sister was going for Berdych)

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SHOW COURT 2

Fen and I left the Berdych match early to attempt to get into Show Court 2. The women single match was still going as we lined up, and we waited close to an hour in line before we gave up. I wanted to watch Richard Gasquest play, however since he was playing against an Aussie it would have been difficult to find a seat.

James Duckworth vs Richard Gasquest    2 – 3 – 5  //  6 – 6 – 7

But the next day we manage to get in and watch an amazing match between David Ferrer vs Sergiy Stakhovsky. It was pretty awesome the intensity between these two players and the crowd watching the match itself really top off our day.

David Ferrer vs Sergiy Stakhovsky    5 – 6 – 6 – 6   //  7 – 3 –  4 – 2

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Margaret Court Arena 

Named after the highly successful and well honoured Australian player Margaret Court herself. The arena went under a redevelopment in 2010 and now can host up to 7,500 people in its stand. We watched some pretty amazing games under this roof. Watching Eugenie Bouchard play against Kiki Bertens just stunned me, this girl can play. As well as the Donald Young and Milos Raonic match, I felt sorry for the American, but he just couldn’t handle the Canadians serve.

But by far the best matches that we saw were against Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki. As well as the Philipp Kohlschreiber vs Bernard Tomic.

Azarenka and Wozniacki rally’s were intense and went on for so long, there were times where I had to take a deep breathe after each rally. Kohlschreiber and Tomic match went on for a while, and Tomic strength in coming back into the match just made the crowd go wild in the end.

Victoria Azarenka vs Caroline Wozniacki    6 – 6  //  4 – 2

Philipp Kohlschreiber vs Bernard Tomic    7 – 4 – 6 – 6  //  6 – 6 – 7 – 7

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Hisense Arena

Rightly named the peoples court. Maragret Court and Rod Laver Arena are extra to get in, however since Hisense was changed to free entrance, it was the paradise when escaping the heat. It is a multipurpose arena, not only hosting tennis matches, but basketball, netball and cycling as well.

This arena is huge and luckily for us cooling while in the shade. We watched Lukas Lacko vs Grigor Dimitrov, this was the match my sisters friend Maria and her sister wanted to see the most. After that match was the great Australian battle against Sam Groth and Thanasi Kokkinakis. This was a highly anticipated and we sort after game, we had to leave early to get to Margret Court, and when we sat up from our seats they were taken by the bunch of guys behind us like hot cakes.

Another match that we saw here was the Ivan Dodig vs Kei Nishikori. I have to say the Japanese crowd ruled this arena, and most likely the most polite audience I have ever come across at a sporting match.

Lukas Lacko vs Grigor Dimitrov    3 – 7 – 3 – 3  //  6 – 6 – 6 – 6

Sam Groth vs Thanasi Kokkinakis    3 – 6 – 7 – 3 – 6  //  6 – 3 – 5 – 6 – 1

Ivan Dodig vs Kei Nishikori   6 – 5 – 2 – 6  //  4 – 7 – 6 – 7

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PRACTICE COURT 16

Practice courts is where you can see your favourite players do their warm ups and training with their coaches. Not all players do come out every day, but majority of the time you they do over during the course of the tournament itself. Fen and I got our bums down and watch Novak Djokovic hit some rounds, not before we caught a glimpse of Serena Williams and her crew.

But my friend did get highly star struck when we wondered over to the other open practice court, and Kei Nishikori came strutting out of his training session. We were so close to him we could reach out and grab him.

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COURT 6

It was in the afternoon when we came to this court, and we ended up watching Mercel Granollers vs Gilles Simon. I was pretty happy I manage to watch one of my favourite French players play a game. As I told you early about my friend waiting in line for 30mins for a frozen coke, it was during this match that she went. She was gone for so long, that my sister and I joked that by the time she got back the match would be over. Luckily for her it wasn’t.

Mercel Granollers vs Gilles Simon   6 – 2 – 4  //  7 – 6 – 6

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Rod Laver Arena 

This is center stage. This is where all the finals are held, even for the doubles and they don’t disappoint.

Because where we were sitting on that day, the matches that we saw inside here were tough. The sun was directly in front of us. Plus it was not as cooling as the Hisense Arena. We only manage to watch two matches in this court, Serena Williams vs Vera Zvonareva, and Novak Djokovic vs Andrey Kuznestsov. Though on paper these were very easy matches for these two highly talented and top of the ranking players ( Williams and Djokovic) they live and felt every point they got. Though they always have a presence on the court, you could tell by their quiet fist pumps and at times a very vocal celebration that they don’t take any point lightly.

Novak Djokovic vs Andrey Kuznestsov   6 – 6 – 6  //  0 – 1 – 4

Serena Williams vs Vera Zvonareva   7 – 6  //  5 – 0

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In the end our Australian Open experience was worth it through the heat. As my friend put it “I have never watched so much tennis in my life”, and I can concur. It can be at times very crowded especially in Rod Laver, during the break and everyone is out catching a quick bite or a cooling drink. But its amazing how much people love their sport, well in Australia at lease.

If your going to come down to watch the tennis next year, all I can say is bring a hat, bottle of water, a pack lunch and lively spirit and enjoy the atmosphere. If it gets too much, grab a shade, any shade and bunker down with your frozen coke for a moment or two. Plus they have giant fans to cool you down.

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This was the tram ride back to our hotel… a cheery crowd
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