Well this event was the reason why we visited Australia in the first place in January 2013. It’s the Australian Open!
Australian Open is the first grand slam series of each year, which happens in January.
It’s interesting that they do the Australian Open in January, as it’s still summer time where the weather can hit 40 degrees Celsius! Nevertheless, it’s Melbourne, where you can experience ‘4 seasons in one day’ even though it’s summer. That happened to us (Yudhi and I) on 18 January 2013, well okay … It’s not literally 4 seasons, but more to 4 weathers, but still … haha!
We started quite early in the morning as we needed to upgrade our ticket to Rod Laver. After a discussion a day earlier, we decided that we must watch in Rod Laver, no matter who played in that court. We wanted to have a full experience of Australian Open. And even though we bought the Rod Laver ticket, we were still able to watch games held in Margaret Court (it’s free).
We also chose the day session, where the game started at 11AM, instead of evening session. There were 3 matches during the day session, while the evening session, which started at 7PM only had 2 matches.
We thought the queue would be quite long, well it was quite long, but it didn’t take us too long to enter the Melbourne Park.
Yudhi has entered Melbourne Park before, but not during the Australian Open event. He went there just to have the tour, so this was his second time visiting the Melbourne Park, but for me, this was the first time.
So when entering the venue, I was just thinking ‘Whoaaaa …, so this is Melbourne Park. All this time, I just watched it on television, and now I’m here!’
Melbourne Park has 3 main venues, the first one would be the Rod Laver, the second one is the Hisense Arena, and the last one is Margaret Court. Other than those 3 courts, they also have other small venues, usually are being used for qualifying rounds. Some of them have the audience seats, and some don’t. These small courts were also used for players to practice, and as these small courts located outdoor, meaning that we could watch the players very close haha. Well, not very close though, they have fences around the court … Haha.
The ticket for Rod Laver already has seat number in it, so we didn’t need to rush in to secure a seat, but if you want to watch in Rod Laver (and I guess in Hisense too), you need to be there at least 15 minutes before the match, as they will close the entrances to the court during the game. They would also not allow people to exit the venue during the game, but it is okay to exit in-between the games.
They also have rule for camera, especially for the DSLR lens. If I’m not mistaken they forbid the lens above 200mm. My lens was definitely okay, and I’m a bit disappointed that I don’t bring the lens with higher focal length. I guess you will see the result of my photos haha.
We seat on the center section facing the vertical-side of the court, so with that, we could see both players (left and right). I think this view is better rather than facing the horizontal-side of the court (facing the back of one of the player). Oh by the way, I could see the Eureka Tower from where I sit
I am not a fan of both players, but we kinda supported Kerber in this haha, and yes she won 6-2 7-5 over Keys. Kerber then lost in 4th round to Ekaterina Makarova in the 4th round.
… But let’s talk about the weather … Haha.
I did tell you that it was okay during the morning, it’s a cool weather, but then the sky was getting darker and suddenly the rain fell. It was a light rain at first, and they still continue playing, but then the referee stopped the game because the court could be slippery. So what they did, they decided to close the roof! Cool isn’t it! How they close the enormous roof, which took quite a while haha. While they close the roof, the ball boys cleaning the court.
The rain was not that long, and they decided to open the roof again, and here came another weather … HOT!
Yes, it suddenly became hot, and our seat section was in the opening area of the roof, thus the sun was coming inside the stadium directly to us! Haha …
I actually planning to wear a quick-dry sleeveless shirt plus a long-sleeve shirt just in case the weather going wild, but I changed my mind, and I just wore a quick-dry T-shirt. Wrong decision! Lol!
Although I’m not from China, but I’m Asian, so I rooted to support Na Li haha. And I’m proud of her, as she is the highest Asian player in the WTA rank (currently is at number #5).
She defeated Cirstea 6-4 6-1. She went to the final of the Australian Open, but then lost to Victoria Azarenka. Great job Na Li!
Well watching the #1 tennis player was interesting, and more over, Djokovic nickname is The Joker. That’s another interesting point to watch the game.
Although the game finished in three set where Djokovic won over Stepanek 6-4 6-3 7-5, but it’s Stepanek who stole the game! What I meant here was how he entertained the crowd, while Djokovic was a bit too serious (I guess). Unfortunately I didn’t get any picturec of Stepanek funny act on the court. Anyway, it was a good match, and we and the other audience gave a standing ovation after the game!
As I mentioned earlier that there’re some small courts that were used by the players to practice, including this day. There’s the schedule to for which players playing at this hour and in which courts, and lucky us, we could watch Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams practicing during the day (they played each other on the evening match). Sharapova is indeed beautiful! It’s quite hard to come closer to the court, as there’re already many fans and some lucky fans that got her signature!!!
Actually, according to the schedule, Roger Federer was going to practice in one of the courts, but not sure why he cancelled it
I still didn’t want to move to other places yet, because I want to see some other famous tennis player, and took the photos. So we looked at the schedule again, and there’s Bernard Tomic. At first, I didn’t really recognize who he is, but as I watched the Australian Open, I could see that Tomic is a rising star from Australia. He’s still young, and people love him. That’s why he got the small court with the audience seat haha … Plenty of people watching him practicing!
Once we got the Rod Laver ticket for the day, it meant that we could stay in Melbourne Park for the whole day, so we didn’t want to waste any single things from this ticket! Haha …
Yudhi suggested that we moved to Margaret Court and see another match. It’s a free one, so no need tickets.
Luckily the next game hasn’t started yet.
I know both players but even though both are not my favourite players, but I gravitated more to Stani rather than Sam.
The seats in Margaret Court were not as many as in Rod Laver, so we’re lucky to get (at first) seats quite near to the front, but later we could move to the very front seats as some people were leaving. Great!
What I love when watching in Margaret Court compares to Rod Laver was the crowd. People was cheering their favourite player, waiving the flag, banging something to lift the spirit of the player (lol!), and even singing some funny songs! Love when some crowds from the US sang some songs to support Sam!
It was a fun ambiance during the game, even the weather was very cool, and Stani won against Sam 7-6(6) 7-5 6-4.
The game ended after 7PM, that meant the Rod Laver evening match has begun. Well … Actually from around half hour before Stani Vs Sam game ended, I already could hear Sharapova’s scream coming from Rod Laver to where I sit in Margaret Court (Rod Laver is located next to Margaret Court). So I can’t imagine, how loud was her scream inside the Rod Laver! Lol!
Anyway … There were some big screens in Melbourne Park complex, so we watched the match of Maria Sharapova Vs Venus Williams on the big screen outside Margaret Court with a very very cold wind! Even a beer couldn’t heat me up! Lol. Luckily, it was a very short match. Williams lost to Sharapova 6-1 6-3 (I thought it was going to be a tough match!!).
It was indeed a very wonderful day! I never thought that I would watch tennis live in Australian Open, or even in Rod Laver arena! It was one experience that I would not forget! Thanks to Yudhi who pushed the idea to buy the Rod Laver ticket no matter who would play in that session
To read my previous posts about my Australia trip:
Melbourne trip series:
My previous post about my Sydney >> Sydney trip
Accommodation: Sydney Harbour YHA