42 degrees - love

Trip Start Nov 20, 2013
Trip End Nov 24, 2014

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Friday, January 17, 2014

Tennis anyone? How about in 42 degree heat? We did it ... twice! Okay we didn't actually play tennis, but we did spend many, many hours watching the Australian Open here in Melbourne, our first stop in Australia.

We originally had tickets for Thursday evening for centre court, but on Wednesday morning we decided to get ground passes for the day. After a day of getting information about what to do in Melbourne and walking around the downtown core of the city on Tuesday, we also learned that there weren't many matches scheduled to happen Thursday evening. It was a great decision we made. The ground passes allowed us access to every court except Rod Laver (the main centre court) and the second largest court, Hisense. We started our morning watching some big name tennis pros practicing. Starting at 11:30am we saw Maria Sharapova, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, and Rafael Nadal. No big deal that we were two feet away from some of them!

After watching all these practices, we decided it was time for some matches. We saw Richard Gasquet, the ninth seed, beat his opponent. We watched a women's match that went on for a very long time and became very exciting towards the end. The winner of that played Serena Williams in the third round and lost, but she played hard to get there. We were able to see some Canadians play as well. First we saw Daniel Nestor, a well known Canadian doubles player. Next, we watched Sharon Fichman, a young player from Forest Hill, practicing on a small court. We chatted with her very briefly after she complained about how hot it is because she's from Canada. Even though she was extremely hot and probably couldn't wait to go cool off, she still gave us her time for a quick picture. We watched her doubles match later in the day. Unfortunately, her and her partner lost the match. The next Canadian we saw was Eugenie Bouchard, Canada's top female tennis player and ranked 30 in the world. Her match was interesting as there were many loud and fun locals cheering for her through songs and chants.

By the time we were ready to leave, it was already after 8:30pm. Although we had bought groceries, we realized by the time we got back to the house we are staying at and cooked dinner, we wouldn't eat until around 10pm. So we wandered into one of the "arcades" we walked through the day before. The arcades are small lane ways with many cafés and shops. We know that Australia is expensive, so we were carefully looking at menu prices.  Very luckily, one of the first restaurant menus we saw was very reasonably priced, and on top of that, they were giving 10% off purchases for people with Australian Open tickets from that day. We shared a great meal of sushi rolls, grilled fish, fries, and salad all for less than $20. We decided to treat ourselves to McDonald's ice cream cones for dessert.

Yesterday was another day of tennis. We were planning on going around 5pm, which is when our tickets allowed us access, but matches were being postponed because of the extreme heat. We went back to the central business district to the Australian Centre for Moving Images, which we've heard great things about. Since we got there only about an hour before it closed, we just spent a bit of time in one of their viewing booths, instead of starting to visit the galleries. These booths have comfortable seats, a flat screen TV, and sets of headphones. The TVs are touch screen and offer all different genres to view or listen to, mostly Australian content. We watched an episode of the old game show Blind Date and started another game show before we had to leave for closing time. The air conditioning in the building gave us a nice break from the constant perspiration we were experiencing. We figured it would be best to eat before heading to the Australian Open since everything is crazy overpriced in the park. Logically we headed back to the sushi restaurant we ate at on Wednesday. Again, it was delicious and very filling and again we were able to get 10% off.

Since the earlier matches were delayed because of the heat, we were in time to watch Milos Raonic's match. In fact, as we were heading to the court he was playing on, he walked right by us. Literally a foot away from us. That's when we realized how tall he is. We followed him to the small court he was playing on and sat down with many other Canadians to cheer him on.  Seeing his serve in person is insane! The power and speed are quite obvious and we weren't surprised when one of the ball girls who was hit with his serve after only one small bounce had to leave the match. Of course we don't know that this is why she left for sure, but we guessed it was. Milos' opponent was not able to return his first bunch of serves and he won the first game easily without giving up a point. It took a long time for either of them to break the other's serve. As we were watching this match, the weather was changing. The sun was disappearing and in its place came big grey clouds and lots of thunder and lightning. Once again, this match was delayed because of the weather.

At this point it was time to head to Rod Laver Arena anyway and we got there just in time to escape the pouring rain that came quickly. The first match was a really good one between two ladies, one was Victoria Azarenka, the second seed in the tournament. Her opponent gave her a tough run at it though with some really great shots. They had closed the roof of the building earlier in the day because the crazy heat, but later on it became extremely humid and much hotter in the building. We felt bad for the two women playing. I don't think the ice towels around their necks in between games was helping to cool them down. After this match, we headed back out to watch the end of Raonic's match, which had resumed. By this point, all the rain had already dried because of the heat and even the seats were dry. We watched the end of the match, again with some Canadians. Even though he is ranked 11th in the world, for some reason Raonic was playing on a court that was somewhat hidden and there weren't near as many seats or spectators as other courts.  This was fine for us as it we had front row seats!  It was great to see him win and walk off the court right next to us with a smile. Back in Rod Laver Arena, we were able to catch half a set of Andy Murray's match before we realized we had to leave and rush to catch the last train. We were pretty disappointed about having to leave so soon but we didn't want to miss the last train back to the house.

It was really fun to walk around the grounds and see so many great matches. We felt sorry for the players though, since just spectating was making us very hot and sweaty. We enjoyed the heat, but sitting wasn't the most comfortable thing to do. Jason and I refilled our water bottle at least a dozen times throughout our first day here and almost as many times the yesterday.
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mom on

Sounds like you guys had a great time! Jason, does it remind of the old days at the FAN covering the tennis at York! You even got some rain, like at the Rogers Cup....just not as much! xoxox

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