04 March 2011

Aussie Open recap - Day 4

Day 4: 20 January 2011

One of the best parts of this year's Aussie Open for me was exposure to some new players - and I have to thank my Twitter friends for helping me broaden my horizons.

On Day 4 I met up with @rosie_emma45 and we hopped on the free tram that takes Aussie Open ticketholders from Flinders Station to Melbourne Park. I love Melbourne's tram system and it's great that you can save yourself a 10-15 minute walk on the way to the tennis. Believe me, you'll need to save your energy if you're like me and spent up to 14 hours a day at the tennis. I can't imagine the distance I covered some days going from the outer courts on Rod Laver side to the courts near Hisense Arena.

So @rosie_emma45 and I went to see 'Dolgo' - Alexandr Dolgopolov who I'd heard of but didn't know much about. In his second round match, the young Ukrainian was going up against German Benjamin Becker (forever remembered for being the person to end Andre Agassi's career at the 2006 US Open). Dolgo of course would go on to take out Robin Soderling to make the quarterfinals and tho he lost he really frustrated Andy Murray in a four-set battle.

Stubbs and Franny
There was so much awesomeness on one of the outer courts that I had to leave Dolgo's match. Italy's Francesca Schiavone was practicing with Aussie great Rennae Stubbs. The two played doubles together at the Aussie Open this year so it was fab to see them on court together. All smiles, laughing and you just know they'd be so fun to go drinking with. Just look at these two? Total stars.

Today I met @annie_121 and I'm certain the two of us could talk tennis for months without stopping! After wandering around to watch the Bryan Brothers practice we went to watch Dinara Safina's doubles match....to torture ourselves I think! Dinara lost in doubles (to be fair, to the #6 seeds).

I decided to buy a ticket to Rod Laver Arena for tonight's match which was Juan Martin Del Potro vs Marcos Bagdatis. I'd never seen Marcos play live, and I had to see JMDP back in action after he missed basically an entire year due to wrist injuries. I became a huge JMDP fan when he won the Auckland men's tourney in 2009 and his US Open win that year was just fantastic. I couldn't wait to see him play again and at a slam.

I had no idea what kind of seat would be available just hours before the night session, and had I known I'd be seated behind Marcos' Cypriot fan club I would have brought earplugs or bought a few beers to help me endure the incessant cheering that went on for the entire match. I'm all for fans getting behind their player and it's usually harmless and funny. However, these guys went beyond that. They chanted at length in between every point which was ridiculous. I can't imagine even Marcos enjoyed that; when the servers have to wait for the crowd to be quiet before nearly every serve it's just wrong. The guys in front of me would laugh and chant when JMDP double faulted, they cheered his every error, etc. The crowd was trying to shush the Cypriot fans and while the chair ump stared at the Marcos fans time and again but did nothing to get them to STFU. It was really frustrating. I have never left a match so quickly in my life - as soon as Marcos won I was out of there.

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