Feb 17, 2012

Australian Open 2012: An unforgettable trip

The Australian Open is never my first choice among all the Grand Slam tournaments. I've dreamed about attending the French Open first but after visited the Australian Open recently, I think I'm more than lucky being able to visit one of the most tennis-loving cities in the world. The Australian Open is indeed the Happy Slam.

I was there at the tournament for only one day due to a packed itinerary. I bought the ground passes online way earlier to avoid queuing up and paying more. Made the right choice! I saw long queues at Flinders St. over the weekend before the tournament kicked off as well as the tournament site on event day.

The venue is easily accessible by train and tram. I stopped at Richmond station and walked towards a very familiar building - the Hisense Arena. It's a tennis fan's dream to attend a Grand Slam tournament and I'm glad I have achieved mine.

I've attended ATP 250 tournaments so to compare to the Australian Open, this is like 50 times bigger. I was amazed by the passionate fans from all walks of life walking down from the train and trams walking towards the entrance. Some were wearing their favourite flags and AO caps, and some would proudly carry their Australian Open tote bags.

Australian Open trademark true blue

Checking in with the barcode system was smooth despite thousands of people already queuing up earlier than me. The first thing that caught my eyes was the trademark Australian Open True Blue at the Grand Slam Oval, a multi-faceted entertainment precinct is located. I quickly queued up for body painting - I've got myself Vamos Rafa on both of my arms. I’m not sure if any of the body painters had MFA degrees, but they were doing a fantastic job!

An Australian fan got his body painted

As my trip here was restricted to only one day, I didn't intend to watch any matches. I've planned to court hop and find out what were the facilities offered.

I met up with a former colleague at the Malaysian Open last year. David Steed who worked on the IBM statistics and he gave me some tips on who were training on that day. Court 16 and 17 are top players usually training ground so if you’re at the Australian Open, you’ll probably hang out a lot here.

Stanislas Wawrinka vs Benoit Paire in the first round

There are plenty of food, beer and sun here! Surprisingly people don’t use umbrella here although it was so freaking hot. I was at Stanislas Wawrinka’s first round match and I only managed to sit through the first game!

Do check out some of the pictures I took at the tournament. The sponsors’ presence never fail to amaze me – that’s why I took many of their pictures.

At Garden Square

Heineken beer garden
Places where you can get your food and drinks
Lacoste Clubhouse and Kia

Nestle Drumstick Walk on Water 
Inside Lacoste Clubhouse 
Inside Hisense Arena
Janko Tipsarevic walks with style
 Marcos Baghdatis
Philipp Kohlschreiber during the first round match against Juan Monaco

Michael Llodra at the Autograph Island
Rafael Nadal 
Kim Clijsters
Juan Monaco
 Roger Federer
Maria Sharapova

Ivan Ljubicic
 Novak Djokovic the eventual champ
 Kei Nishikori

(All images belong to HCFoo's Tennis Blog)

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