Got to Melbourne Park at around 6:10pm with my father & decided to go straight to Show Court 2 to watch Nadia Petrova play against Tamarine (Tanasugarn). Good crowd there with a few fans cheering for Tammy amongst them which was good to see. When I took my seat amongst the spectators, Nadia was leading by a set & 5-2 in the 2nd set. As soon as the 1st ball was struck from Nadia’s serve to begin the game I was just amazed at how players hit the ball when you’re seeing it up close compared to watching it on the TV. Both Nadia & Tammy were hitting the ball pretty well in a series of fierce contested rallies which in the end Nadia came out the victor & just had a little too much firepower for Tammy. Throughout that match I yelled out once “Go Nadia” which took some guts to do it
After seeing Nadia play I had a look at the match update center to see which matches were in progress & which ones had been completed. Then I went for a wonder around the grounds passing many of the outside courts with several matches in progress. As I wondered around the grounds I spotted Janette Husarova on Court 8 practicing with her coach & hitting partner. After she had finished her practice session there was a match to take on that court next which was Michaella Krajicek against Anne Kremer. Lots of Misa fans in the stands & wondered if Sarah (a.k.a. Dutchie Girl) would be amongst them
Wonder if Sarah will be reading this
Watched Misa & Anne contesting the 1st game of the match along with the warm up & to me from the onset it looked like Anne would be the one who would prove to be a thorn in Misa & how right I was since she prevailed in the end. I didn’t see the whole match though since I wanted to get to Rod Laver Arena early to see the night session matches that were due to take place.
Rod Laver Arena is one of the best sporting arenas in the world, FACT! Anywhere you sit you’ll be guaranteed a great view of the matches. First up on the night session was Serena Williams against Mara Santangelo. The 1st 4 games of the match were pretty even before Serena took absolute control from there & just left Mara helpless to win the match. Serena hitting her groundstrokes & serves clocking at 180-190 kph was just great to watch as well as hitting some nice volleys. Then it was Marat Safin up against Benjamin Becker on Rod Laver Arena & it turned to be a long five setter that didn’t finish until about 1am which I didn’t get to sleep until about 2am. Heaps & heaps of spectators were cheering for Safin & Becker which was just great to see. The speed of the ball of the male players is just spellbinding especially their serves clocking at 200kph & over. And yes I did see Safin get angry & slamming his racquet to the ground at one point of the match with several oooohhh’s & arrrrrrrrh’s from the spectators. He got a warning for racquet violation from the umpire but however he still won the match which didn’t really matter at all & when he was interviewed on the court his personality shone which was great to see. Such a character he is Safin
Got to the venue at 10:50am & went straight to Rod Laver Arena for the Day Session Matches that were due to take place. First up was Maria Sharapova against Camille Pin & boy was it hot, but luckily I was under the shade though so that didn’t cause too many problems. The match had a lot of ups & downs for both players but I felt that Maria was making way too many unforced errors which kind of let Camille back into the match at times, but Camille did well to get the ball back in play & hit some great shots to keep Maria on the back foot. Then when Maria was down 7-6 after she led 5-0 in the final set & with Camille serving for the match I knew it wasn’t gonna be over & I was absolutely right Maria came back with her fighting spirit that she possesses & won the final set 9-7. Plus her grunting is much louder when you’re in the arena than what you can see & hear on the TV, FACT. Once that match was finished the roof on the arena had to be closed due to extreme heat & it took about half an hour for it to close which is incredibly slow. Then Nadal’s match began & he won as usual. Then the next match was the one that I had been waiting for; Kim Clijsters (my fav) against Vasilisa Bardina. Kim absolutely crushed Vasilisa with her heavy groundstrokes along with some deft drop shots. Watching Kim play live up close was the highlight of my 4 days at the Australian Open. She is truly a friendly bubbly person with a good sense of humor when she was interviewed on court after her match. Kim is a great person, FACT!
Got to the venue really early at around 10:10am & since I had a ground pass I decided to go to Vodafone Arena for the Day Session Matches that were due to take place. I quickly got front seats since I had the chance to get some autographs off several big names that would walk out in front of you when they were being introduced to the crowd (didn’t get any autographs in Rod Laver Arena since you have to be at the front & unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any off Kim. Ah well but I did get plenty). Since I got to Vodafone so early I was lucky enough to watch Nadia practice with her coach. Alongside her was Anne Kremer practicing with her hitting partner as well too. Once she had finished her practice session she signed autographs & she signed my mini jumbo Australian Open tennis ball! My 1st autograph!
First up for the day session matches was Novak Djokovic against Feliciano Lopez & sitting up the front watching both of them hit the ball fiercely was incredible. Novak won in the end & I got his autograph. Then it was Nadia against Gisela Dulko & Nadia just flattened her. Then it was Serena against Anne & it was the 2nd time I seen her play up close which is even better. I could see her mother & entourage in the stands giving her words of encouragement since they weren’t that far away from me. Serena won of course & I also got her autograph
Then I went for a wonder around the grounds & decided to go to Court 13 to see Elena Bovina & Alla Kudryavtseva against Corina Morariu & Rennae Stubbs contesting their Doubles Match. After a point in the match which was lost by Corina & Rennae, Rennae went straight up to the Chair umpire & got extremely angry with her saying that the 1st serve of Bovina’s was a let & just argued with the umpire for about 5 minutes. But Rennae was given no joy & when she and Corina sat down in the changeover I could Rennae muttering swear words under breath saying “Fuckin chair umpire saying that it wasn’t a let etc” since I was sitting right behind her!
Plus she wanted bananas & when the ball kid give them to her she did not even say thanks!
But Elena & Alla won in the end which was good. I decided to walk up to Elena & ask for her autograph but just when she was about to walk pass me I just froze
because I thought “what is she gonna think when I come up to ask for her autograph” & it was too late. I was kicking myself after for not getting her autograph
Then I walked past Court 9 & who should I see on that court practicing but none other than Amelie Mauresmo with her coach, fitness trainer & some other guy who was collecting balls. It was just wonderful to watch Amelie practice up close & see her hit her repertoire of shots from groundstrokes to serves to volleys. I missed getting her autograph though since their was so many people wanting one off her as well too pushing me out of the way
Ah well, at least I got plenty in the end.
Then I went to watch a match on Showcourt 2 for a bit & then went to Rod Laver Arena for the night session matches. First up was Amelie against Olga Poutchkova & Amelie won of course. Then it was Gael Monfils & Marcos Baghdatis which was 4 setter but finished at half past midnight which meant I had another late night AGAIN! The atmosphere in the arena for that match was pretty loud & many of those Greek-Cypriot Melbourne Fans cheering for Marcos were cheering on every single point he won which was actually extremely rude & annoying plus they were not respecting the tennis etiquette
(the match was like the Kim-Jelena Sydney Final). Many of them just wanted to make noise & get attention but Gael won in the end & that shut em up (a lot of people were cheering for Gael as well too just to stop those stupid Marcos fans from cheering & catcalling).
I got to the venue at around 10:20 am & I went for a wonder around the grounds to see if any players were practicing. First up I watched Li Na practicing with her coach & with Tian Tian Sun, and then I watched Dinara Safina practicing with her coach. Then I watched Sam Stosur practicing with her coach Nicole Bradtke & I could hear her talking to her & a bunch of other Aussie players about stuff etc. Then she signed autographs for her fans waiting for her including me & I did have to push & shove (had no choice). I said thanks to her & she said to me very heartedly “No probs”
Last but not least I watched Nicole Vaidisova practicing with Emma Laine with Nicole’s stepfather/coach collecting balls. Then she signed autographs, including mine after her practice session & I said to her good luck for the rest of the tournament & she replied back sweetly “Thank you”
I went to Rod Laver Arena after to see Kim play her 2nd Round match & she won of course. That would be the last time I have seen Kim play a match live up close & I cheered for her & I yelled out “Go Kim” which took some courage to do
(did it in her 1st Round match also). Then I watched a bit of James Blake’s match & then decided to leave to go to Showcourt 2 to watch Daniela Hantuchova play against Emilie Loit. I was sitting behind Dani’s coach & could hear him whispering words of encouragement to her. Of course she struggled & a lot of the games that went to deuce & I couldn’t believe that I was watching this match in searing heat. In the end Dani won & she looked towards her coach and her fans (including me
) in my direction pumping her fist after she won.
Then I went to watch Ana Ivanovic play against Agnieszka Radwanska on Margaret Court Arena. Both of them displayed some great tennis on the court & in the end Ana was just too strong for Aga winning in 3 sets, plus I got Ana’s autograph which was just fantastic
Then I went for another wonder around the grounds & watched a doubles match which was Mauresmo & Bremond against Benesova & Zahlalova Strycova. I only watched a bit of it since I had to get on the bus to the airport for my flight home on time.
Click on this link to access photos I took at the open: