Hopman Cup Piece I Wrote Today
Knocked up this piece today to express the way I felt about attending the tournament... if you can read all the way through it, feedback will be appreciated. Enjoy!
THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT HOPMAN
There’s something about the Hopman Cup… and there is many possibilities as to what it could be. Is it the walk from the car park to the Dome, looking across the Burswood Resort at the thousands of cars there for the day’s tennis, before reaching the undercover entry to the arena, looking at the Hyundai display cars as you wait for your chance to go through the turnstile? Is it that sudden feeling as you walk into the arena, realizing you are there, the big signs telling you to go left or right to find your seat. Yours says right, you turn to that direction. You walk into the main complex of the Dome, you see the practice court, a list of names that roll off the tongue are written on the whiteboard, along with a time. This time is when the player mentioned will be having a training hit on the court. The list reads a who’s who of current international tennis – and they are all going to be practicing on this court, and once you are in the Dome, you are free to watch them. It is easy to be swept away by this list, knowing you can rub shoulders with the world’s greats. But don’t be too swept away, you haven’t yet reached the main court yet, the one where the battle will take place – where the greats strut their stuff, and slug it out for $250,000 cash, and an amazing diamond encrusted tennis ball. Maybe that’s what that ‘something’ is, the fact that many awe-struck minutes have already passed, and you haven’t even seen what the crowds come to see, high-quality tennis, in a high-quality arena.
You continue towards the court, it is only peeking slightly to the right, is it really all it’s cracked up to be. You arrive at the court, just a right turn and you can find your seat. But there’s another distraction – a large sign displaying a list of teams competing at the Cup, after all, this isn’t an individual event, there is the top male and female player for 9 leading tennis nations competing for national pride here. You check the Session Number on your ticket stub, scan your eyes around for that listed on the board and success, it is listed. You look at the players you can watch in action today, these aren’t just anybody here to make up the numbers, no way; this is one of the most anticipated matches of the summer. Finally, you decide to turn, and there it is, the green rebound-ace of the Burswood Dome. You look up, on the other side of the court is a two-tier stand, and on your side is one massive tier. The stadium is already probably two-thirds full, and it’s still half an hour until the magic starts for everybody, but not for you, this was a work of art before you even got inside.
These front few rows look pretty damn good, you think to yourself. You reach into your pocket, pull you ticket, and look at the information it contains. Block 29, Row B, Seat 1. Is that right, you question as you pinch yourself to make sure this is real. Second row, edge of the row, and middle of the court. Yes, a helpful ticket attendant tells you, that is indeed your seat. You turn away; grinning, a ticket that good, and it hardly cost anything. Surely those tickets must be more expensive for a view that good? The question pops into your head again “What is that ‘something’”? - maybe it isn’t just the endless facilities that this venue has to offer. The question soon disappears once you have found your seat, and you look just how close you are to the edge of the court. You make a rough guess, probably no more than 5 metres. Excited, you realise that when the players walk out, you will be that close to them, without even leaving your seat.
This stadium is enormous, you think to yourself as you look around. The person next to you has a book, which almost instantly, they close. You get a quick look at the title “Hyundai Hopman Cup Official Souvenir Programme”. After making the tough decision to leave your seat, you quickly pop back over to the merchandise store. Within about two minutes, you are back in your seat. The programme proves to be enthralling reading, heaps of features about the tournament and the like, but what really captivates you is that each player competing at the tournament has a large colour picture in there. You cast your mind back to that list on the whiteboard; it had each player’s training time on there. An idea pops into your head and again, you are out of your seat, as the person next to you looks bewildered at the level of excitement on your face.
You race to the practice court; there is a player just finishing now. Your idea has proven to be a popular one; there are about 15 supporters with the same one. The player is carrying a marker pen, you race over to the group, and politely ask them to sign their page in the program. They are obliging; you love a champion player who is a champion off the court as well. With a smile, they pick up their tennis bag, bid farewell to their supporters, and walk off back to their hotel room. You speak to the rest of the group; they too seem in awe of what has just happened. The page the player has signed remains open as you make your way back to your seat. You look at it, stunned, as you sit in your seat. You remember the list said that a player leaves the practice court every hour, maybe you can get up during a break in play then, and continue to get autographs from some tennis superstars; you will definitely go at 1 o’clock, your all-time idol is finishing up then.
You carefully put the book back in your bag, as the crowd releases a huge roar. You look up, the players are walking on to the court, and the stadium is now full. The next five minutes appear a blur, as the players warm up, but you distinctly remember the umpire in his soft French accent, letting out a simple “Play”, as the day’s tennis begin. The first point is simple, an unforced error into the net as the crowd perform a soft, polite clap. Maybe that’s the mysterious ‘something’ about the Hopman Cup. It’s more than a tournament; you have memories you will keep for a lifetime, so much already experienced, and as you look up at the scoreboard, it reads 15-0, first game, first set in the day’s opening match. Yes, that’s it, the day’s tennis is still to come, and you are already certain that in the months to come, when you are lying in your bed every night, you will replay the experience you had there, and you will have memories that will last a lifetime, but will still be as vivid as if they happened yesterday.
The clap of the crowd interrupts your thought pattern, but you realise that you were right – you will never forget your Hopman experience. You glance up at the scoreboard, its 15-15 now. You shake your head to stop the flood of thoughts, re-position yourself comfortably in your seat, and settle in for a top-class day of tennis.
arvidsson clijsters dulko ivanovic
kuznetsova sharapova stosur