Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Game, Set and Match!

Melbourne is buzzing with visitors - from the suburbs, the country, interstate and overseas. After all the Australian Open Tennis is currently in progress. The crowds are at record levels - I wonder when they are finally going to start going down (they can't keep going up even with the extended facilities). Perhaps the crowd numbers won't be mentioned when that happens. 
Sit in the sun and watch the big screen - why queue for a seat at a court!
There is something about seeing a live match rather than from the couch potato position in the comfort of one's home! Getting up close (and not personal) to the players on the outside courts is exciting - even for an oldie like me! The outside courts give you a great sense of the pressures that the players are under. And it is fascinating to see how much taller they are - why even players like our 'Cum on' Lleyton are 6 feet in the old language (I always thought he was shortish!). The power in the shots have a greater impact when you are up close.
Up close and personal on Show Court 2
There's so much to do. Taking a walk along the players 'hall of fame' will take you along memory lane. Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Harry Hopman, Frank Sedgeman, Margaret Court and Yvonne Goolagong Cawley to name just a few. The list goes on.
The redheaded rocket from Rockhampton - Rod Laver
The crowds that come to the Australian Open and don't even see a match amaze me. There is so much other entertainment for them that it is just a 'great day out'. Face painting, beauty treatments, drinking, big ball hitting, live music. The list goes on and on. And that doesn't include the food outlets - all of which enjoy charging the highest prices imaginable. But I guess it all adds to the fabric of the day and the tennis is almost incidental. 
Play mini-tennis
Have your face painted (perhaps that's what I need!)
The logistics of running such an event over a 14 day period is extraordinary. Temporary buildings as well as permanent buildings all of the highest standard and uniformity (even their aqua blue Aussie Open colour), vendors of every type - selling sporting gear, food, drinks, insurance, financial services, personal hygiene - the list goes on and on. Just organising the staffing - whether it be for the venues, umpires, ball boys/girls, ticket sellers, crowd control and even cleaning - makes me feel tired and emotional. 
Watch the players practice, watch the passing parade or even watch a match!
What a wonderful financial input into our local economy. No wonder the politicians love it. Yes the current upgrade has cost hundreds of millions of dollars. But I think it's worth it. What a wonderful sporting precinct - it includes not only the Melbourne Park Tennis Stadiums, but also the mighty MCG (see earlier post) and the AAMI football stadium (see earlier post). All a hop step and a jump or an ace, or a drop punt, or even a dribble away from each other. And the city and of course Bowen Cottage in Richmond are also within walking distance!
It's blue, blue, blue - with the city (Eureka Tower) in the distance

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