Friday, January 18, 2008

Australian Open

Monday and Tuesday, we went to the tennis, as per our usual family tradition of Day 1 and 2. Awesome! Leilah came along for Day 1, and was so excited to be going for the first time.

Blue courts this year, but still the action packed days. Back to back big matches, the Open is such a treat! Centre Court tickets, Mum had managed to get us seats in the shade, 7 and 6 rows from the front, quite close to the player’s box. Very impressive.

Day 1 we watched ‘newly-naturalised’ Aussie Gajdosova take on S Williams (our one and only women’s match!), before heading our to watch the last 3 sets of a 5 set match between Robredo and Zverev – which was some great tennis! Heading back into Centre Court, we watched Tsonga beat British hopeful Andy Murray, again in some great tennis. And topped our day with some Carlos no-so-Destroyer Moya bow out too easily.

Backing up for Day 2, Melissa Mum and I met in our seats in Centre Court, and watched impressive Djokovic take on B Becker. Melissa and I then watched two sets of the man verses giant match of Nalbandian and little Aussie Smeets, before working out way in to watch a disappointing Guccione. Oh! After seeing the A-Rod on a practice court – wow! The Aussie fans were out in force on Day 2, with their colours, fully dressed up, and their chants.

A shade break inside Centre Court to watch Lleyton Hewitt, before returning to Margeret Court Arena for some patient waiting for a seat to watch Luczak play Zabaleta. Luczak did very well, and advanced to the next round, keeping the Aussie hope alive.

Another patient wait to gain a seat in Court 2 to watch Marat Safin, as the sun was going down. Marat was a little underdone, and out of match fitness, but managed to win, much to the delight of the packed stadium. Melissa and I then worked our way in to seats at the twilight match between Greek Economidis and last year’s Open runner up, Chilean Gonzalez.

Sitting down, the atmosphere was awesome. Melissa and I talked about how lucky we are to live in such a multi-cultural city, where a match like this can attract clusters of Chilean fans, dressed in their colours and waving their flags. Chanting, singing and dancing, cheering their compatriot on. And then to also have a bay of blue and white dressed Greek fans, also flag waving, standing, clapping, cheering, supporting their player. This is what tennis is all about.

But this then turned ugly, with no antecedent that we could see. There developed a strong presence of security, and then police officer around the Greek group, which soon developed into a shoving match between police and the Greek fans. Pepper spray was used, of which we could see from the other end of the court, and the police proceeded to cart of most of the Greek fans. The ugliness and the injustice of it swept an angry feeling across the court, where play had stopped because of the commotion. A blatant racial over reaction, that spoilt a great atmosphere, and a great match between two passionate nationalities.

2 comments:

  1. Caitlin (http://www.niltiac.net)1/21/2008 8:58 AM

    Have you seen this?
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article3216821.ece

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ahhhh, Pat Cash needs to disappear back into the hole in which he belongs!! I notice that his story has got no airplay at home....the British might like to try and get some tennis talent, instead of stiring up trouble!!
    Melbournians would roll over and die before we lost the Open!!!

    ReplyDelete

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