10 things I learnt at the Australian Open

So by now, you should know that I enjoy learning, and experiencing activities that I haven’t tried before. I haven’t been intensely huge into sport, however, sport has played a part in my life. I have played basketball, hockey, and danced when I was younger. Unfortunately I’m not playing any sport at the moment (hopefully changing that this year), but I do enjoy the atmosphere that sporting competitions bring. As I am now an official Melburnian, I couldn’t help but get a ticket to the Australian Open. The Australian Open is a tennis tournament held annually in Melbourne every January that sees the top players in the world come over to play.

Anyway, being a tennis newbie, I got my ground pass, and set off on my first ever Australian Open experience. I decided to share with you 10 things I learnt.

Tennis can be f*cking expensive. I was very fortunate that my university had a trip to the tennis organised which offered subsidised ground pass tickets for students. I recommend that if you’re a RMIT student, however, if not you’ll have to suffice with full price tickets. Tickets are cheap for the kids, but full fee tickets get expensive! Ground passes range from $30-$60,  Margaret Court Arena passes from $41-$62, and Rod Laver Arena (not including any finals) range from $82-$133. However, when finals hit, for Rod Laver tickets, you’re looking at a minimum of $123. For the huge tennis fanatics, a ticket to the men’s final will set you back $413. Yes, $413. Oh, and it’s sold out. If you want to buy tickets for the remainder of the days, pick them up here. It runs until January 29th.

The way they score tennis is really confusing. I will admit, I have never really been to a proper tennis match, and never spent any time watching it on television, so it was fair to say I wasn’t particularly familiar with this whole deuce, love thing. By the end of the day, I had a pretty good understanding – men generally play five sets, women generally play three sets, whoever gets to six winning games wins the set, unless they are both on five, and then they need to be two in front, and so on.

Orange is in, especially neon. It’s clear to see that neon orange is the new white of tennis wear, if you don’t have any neon orange yet, you’re behind. See photos for reference.

Bring 5 bottles of sunscreen. It was hot, there’s not a lot of shade, and despite my effort of reapplying, my face looks like a tomato. Learn from my mistakes.

Tennis players have the most amazing legs. If you want toned, and sexy legs, take up tennis.

Tennis is so quiet. This was quite different from a lot of other sports I’ve been too. You were only allowed to enter the stadium after each of the games were complete or the set was over. You had to sit down, and shut up, pretty much. Obviously cheering, and clapping is involved, however only when a player has won, or made a good move. Generally a pretty silent sport. So silent that I could hear that one lonesome clapper from across the other side of Hisense Arena.

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Nadal is the Justin Bieber of Tennis. Unless you had tickets to Rod Laver Arena, there was a very good chance you were not going to see tennis king, Nadal. However, he did a practice session towards the end of the day on one of the outdoor courts, which I just happened to see pop up on the screen. We arrived about 20 minutes beforehand, as we were looking for the next thing to see. Security had stopped people accessing the court 10 minutes prior to him coming on because too many people were trying to squeeze in. When he arrived everyone cheered, and when he came up to the few in the front row, people went mad! The biebs of the tennis world; just a bit older, Spanish, and more handsome.

Being the logistical manager of the Australian Open must be hell. A tennis game could go for an hour, or it could go for five. Who knows? Organising schedules, and arrival times for players must be pure hell. I will warn you now, usually there aren’t any set times for the games after the first, and the next day’s schedule is only released a day ahead.

Doubles partners are not necessarily representing the same country. I’m not sure if this is common knowledge, and somehow I didn’t know. I was surprised to find that just because you’re partnered up for doubles doesn’t automatically mean you’re both playing/from the same country. Although some were, most duos were mixed.

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You don’t have to be a tennis super fan to enjoy a day at the Australian Open. I had very limited knowledge of tennis, but was looking for a great experience, and an opportunity to see just why people love the Australian Open so much. Even if you’re not a huge tennis fanatic, you can still have a great day out at the tennis. There are so many tennis courts, food stands, entertainment stands, bars, chairs with big screens, sitting areas, music, live entertainment, kids sections – literally everything you can think of. It would be pretty difficult to get bored, unless you literally hate tennis, and then you should probably give this one a miss.

Have you been to the Australian Open this year, or last year, what did you learn?

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