We were pretty excited about the fact that we’d pre-booked some ground passes for the mighty Aussie Open Tennis Championship and on the 27th we were there to support our very own Andy Murray and on the finals night who knows what would happen. Its always the case when you get to a big event trying to find your bearings and suss out whats going on and where and so we feel that we didn’t really get the best from our ground passes. However we did some an impressive female wheelchair doubles tennis final which was really good and definitely an interesting display to watch and support. We also got a few games from some of the junior girls and boys semi-finals along with having a good old nosey around the stalls and took advantage of their free giveaways.
It was a really hot day to be out in the sun and so when we found out where Andy Murray would be warming up for the semi-final that night against Djokovic we decided to fight the un and got a really good spot to watch the practice. We waited….and waited…and more fans were gathering around, but after an hour and 15 we realised it wasn’t happening, Andy Murray had let us down, well not quite but it was a little annoying to be told this is where he would be and then only find out after so long that he was training elsewhere. It was too late by this point to find out where he was as we needed to find ourselves a spot to watch the match from. Fortunately for Helen we’d spotted Nadal practicing earlier on in one of the bigger courts, although he was a little far away she got very excited about seeing the star play.
We opted for the Garden City seating area which is behind the Rod Lever Arena, all the seats were taken by this point and so we found a little spot on the grass. The support for Murray was huge, we were really surprised to see lot’s of Scottish flags, face painted supporters and crazy wig wearing Scots. It meant there was a good atmosphere though and dotted around were a few Serbian supporters too. The main problem for us being where we were is that the atmosphere just didn’t quite get on board with the game as much as we thought it would, although the support was there it just wasn’t quite exciting enough and after a slow start from Murray it was pretty quiet. We have to admit we didn’t stay to watch the end of the match we we later learned was more intense and it was very close between the pair, but after Helen snoozed her way through a few games we decided to catch a train home before missing the transport links back to Glen Waverley. Murray just lost out in the end so we now knew that it was Djokovic and Nadal through to the final, it was going to be a good one!
For the finals night on the 29th it was a very different story for us indeed. We once again had ourselves a pair of ground passes which for $19 was really good value, the only thing that kept nagging us was that we knew how good it would be if we could be in the main arena. It was also easier as we were familiar with the set up and so we found ourselves taking advantage of the Dove stand which was giving away loads of goodies, so after stocking up we went for a mooch around the smaller courts. The same one where Nadal had been practising a few days before we spotted Djokovic getting ready for the big game, this was very cool indeed and so we stayed a while watching him play.
We started thinking about the big match and decided to ask if we would be able to upgrade our tickets to arena tickets, but only if there were 2 available for us so that we could be together. We were sent away at one point but the second time round they conveniently managed to find 2 tickets together and so we decided to bite the bullet and go for it, we would only be in this situation once. The cost was a sting to the wallets but we have been really budget conscious since arriving in Australia and this was our big activity. So into the arena we were and it suddenly we were watching live Doubles Finals tennis, a bit of a step up from where we were the other day.
It was a while before the Men’s Singles Final but the anticipation was immense with awards ceremonies, and music to get everyone in the mood. At 7.30pm the final was announced and before long Nadal and Djokovic were making their entrances. This was built up to be a fantastic match and it really didn’t let us down, it felt like the support was on Nadal’s side for much of the match but there was definitely enough admiration and support for Djokovic to keep him going. Nadal started out on fire and won the first set but then lost it for the next 2. We were getting worried as we knew that if we were to stay until the end of the match we wouldn’t make our train connections back that night and so we hoped for a 5 setter. It didn’t look like this was going to happen but halfway through the 4th set Nadal came back amazingly and took the 4th with a tie breaker. Yes!! We would be here for a little while yet.
The 5th set was equally entertaining and enthralling, we couldn’t believer the sheer power, strength and determination on display. Both men were fighting till the very end and their athleticism is one to be remembered for a very long time, not to mention the amount of pressure on them from the audience and millions of viewers world wide. Well we all know the ending, Djokovic won and came-back to take the 5th set and the title, we felt for Nadal but at the end of the day the best man won and we felt really happy with the fact that we’d witnessed 6 hours of tennis history. One for the records!!
The ceremonies and speeches mean’t that we didn’t leave the arena until after 2.30am which was good news for us as the first train back to our suburb was at 5.15am so we didn’t have too long to wait. Melbourne CBD felt pretty safe for us, a McDonalds was open 24 hours which helped for a while before we rested at the entrance to the train station. There were enough people around who were in a similar position to us so we didn’t feel too alone. Back in the comforts of our bed we slept for most of the next morning until lunch time and heading out to meet up with friends.
(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0, 18mm f4, 90mm Tele-Elmarit f2.8 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)
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