Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sweltering Aussie Open

Smokey and overcast Melbourne met Mum and I as we drove down for the tennis on Monday, from Ballarat. We met Melissa, Clinton, and Jessie for the start of Day One of the Australian Open, a family tradition.

Jessie and I went across to little Court 7 for the start of the days play, and watched Juan Carlos Ferrero play three games before his opponent retired hurt. We then joined the others to watch Wayne Arthurs play some of his last tennis before retirement, before heading into Centre Court for Federer and Baghdatis put on class performances.

I then sat out a five set match of Bjorkman (who you can never give up on!!), before watching another Swede Johansson's last two of five sets to end the day.

Arriving at the tennis centre just after 10am the next day, Melissa and I thought we would join the line for the Garnier tent early, before any tennis was played. No such luck, as the line was aleady 3 hours long, and closed, at that early time - at the blazing temperature of around 34C. Madness. Instead, I went and watched new Aussie Robert Smeets in little outside Court 7.

As the temperature and humidity rose, Mum, Clinton and Melissa made their way to Centre Court for relief - but with the little Aussie at one set all, I couldn't leave it! Sweating it out, and seeing the other courts around us stop play after their first finished games in line with the Extreme Heat Policy, I was melting!!

Feeling the dehydration kicking in, the deminishing crowd were cheering louder for 'Smeetesy' - or were we just hoping for him to win faster so we could get out of the sun?! Luckily the lad won, beating the youngest player in the main draw, in four sets, and much needed shelter, cooler conditions, and more liquids was found inside Centre Court.

With no play on the outside courts, I watched the struggling Sharapova finally win her match, then ripped Nadal put on a show. Another women's match in Centre Court followed, although with conditions outside still suffocatingly hot, and no other play happening outside, I sat through Clijsters to the end.

A little cooler outside by then, we sat out on the grass waiting for word about the recommencement of play. Melissa and I finally joined the queue and got our free facials and goody bags from the Garnier tent, and after this, at about 8.15pm play resumed.

We watched Aussie Sam Stoser win as the sun went down, and the city lit up behind the court. We then watched as Aussie Davis Cup hero from last year, Luczuk lose the first set. This at 11pm, we were feeling sleepy, and tennis-ed out! The drive home to Ballarat beckoned, and we finally called it a day. After 12 hours of tennis! Love it!

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