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.
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 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.
|Up close and personal on Show Court 2|
|The redheaded rocket from Rockhampton - Rod Laver|
|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|