Before we went on our world journey the only sure thing was that we will be in Australia around New Year’s. What takes place every January in Melbourne? The Australian open. One of the 4 Grand Slams with the best tennis players of the world. It was one of our biggest wishes (actually Jure’s) and it came true.
You can buy the tickets in advance online, for day sessions, ground passes (no access to big arenas), but doing so you don’t know who you are going to see. They post the schedule of play only one day in advance. If you know me well you would know that there is only one player to see, the great Roger Federer. We arrived in Melbourne on a Thursday and checked the schedule of play for Friday. I knew Roger was playing against Dimitrow I just didn’t know when and where. Realizing that he was going to play in the day session after Maria Sharapova (Simona’s favourite) we immediately bought the tickets (120 $ each). I have to admit that I was excited like a small child. 😀
The next morning we headed to the venue on foot. The whole city lives with the tournament. Big screens, free shuttles, merchandise shops, tennis balls in display cases in shops and so on. We got there before the first match, went through security (incredibly loose) and walked around the park and just feeling the atmosphere. It was unbelievable. We slowly headed for the Rod Laver Arena (first highlight). The seats were far up, but the view was really good. In the beginning we just enjoyed the first match and the arena was filling up fast after every break. The second match was the match of Maria Sharapova. In case you’re wondering, yes she really does scream that loud. 😉
As the match was coming to an end you could just feel people getting a little restless and just waiting for something special. So was I.
The match ended and people usually went out to get food, coffee or whatever, but not this time. Everyone stayed and waited. I have been to some concerts, football, basketball games, electronic festivals, but when they introduced Roger the crowd (including me) went crazy. Everyone was cheering, standing, trying to get the best picture of that cute backhand and forehand 🙂 The match started and Roger was comfortably cruising through it. During the points it was complete silence, nobody said a word. The level of respect for this man is incredible and this is probably why he is still playing (I know I would). When he had his first match point the whole stadium was cheering and afterwards celebrated his victory. Everyone waited for the interview and admired his calmness.
We also tried getting the tickets for the next round, but unfortunately everything was sold out, you could still buy tickets for Nole’s match, but I wasn’t interested.:)
So the next match we watched on Federation square (The biggest screen in Melbourne). We also watched two sets of Djokovic’s match and immediately saw that the level of his popularity is incredibly low. People were cheering for Giles Simon. Following tennis this didn’t come as a big surprise.
With visiting the Australian open one of our biggest wishes came true. Now I know why they call it the Happy slam. Melbourne is the best setting for this tournament, relaxed and incredibly inviting.