USTA League Tennis teammates and friends Nancy Plum, Sue Guttmann, Patti Pizzo, Linda Mlacak, Linda Mudditt, Leslie Lebofsky, and Sue Prager decided it was time to tuck another Grand Slam tournament under their belts over the winter, and headed to Australia for a bit of sun and tennis during the Australian Open. Below is a first-hand account of the group’s trip during the tournament:
Melbourne is a delightfully welcoming city, full of charming accents, quaint laneways, and excellent transportation – free, one might add, to the Australian Open Grounds. When we weren’t watching live play in Rod Laver Arena, catching everyone from Wozniacki to Djokovic, we were hanging in Federation Square, a stunning public space in the heart of Melbourne. We caught the tennis action on the enormous high definition screen, surfed the internet, dined al fresco, and entered contests for free Open tickets. Aussies take their tennis seriously. The intimate atmosphere in Laver is more subdued than at the U.S. Open; members of our group were criticized for talking during points. We loved Margaret Court Arena, where we watched some dark horse mixed doubles players make their bid to become the next up and coming teams. The crowd in this arena is looser and we joined them in the standard chant:
In the Stands,
Let me hear you
Clap your hands
OY OY OY!
The diehard Andy Murray fans headed for Hisense Arena, the “Louis Armstrong” of the Aussie Open (but which costs an additional fee to enter), determined not to miss a groundstroke from their favorite. Others hit the Oval, a special interactive area featuring live entertainment and activities for kids and adults.
After touring Melbourne and scenic Phillip Island (where we witnessed a “Penguin Parade”), we headed via overnight train to Sydney, and took part in Australia Day celebrations, joining hundreds of local fans watching the Open finals from a large screen erected in the heart of downtown. There was lots of partying and cheering for the home players.
All in all, the trip was a perfect ace.