On the day of my birthday this year, a lot of my wishes came true:
- to spend the day with the love of my life
- to be greeted by the people I love
- to be in one of my favourite cities in the world
- to experience the Australian Open once again
- to watch a game at the Rod Laver Arena
- to watch Roger Federer play
After three years, we came back to Melbourne to experience the Australian Open once again. In 2009, we just followed the yellow brick road to Melbourne Park because the excitement of tennis fans at Federation Square allured us. I've always liked the sport but after watching games the whole day at the ground courts of the Australian Open, I fell in love with it. See my first Australian Open adventure here and some photos of the games and players we watched here.
Compared to 2009's adventure, we were prepared to watch this year. We planned to watch in 2010 but because of our indecisiveness, we were too late and couldn't book ourselves a room in Melbourne. Late last year, after Sunday coffee and pancakes, we made up our minds and finally sat ourselves in front of the computer and did a turbo search for our travel. Booked the cheapest fares and decent accommodation we could find in Melbourne and in a few minutes, I was exchanging squeals with our dear Melbournian friend Lui telling her, "We will see you soon!!!". Yes, simple pleasures.
The nice thing about having a birth date like mine is that there will always be an Australian Open game happening on this side of the world. I think that is very very cool and convenient. It was my wish to be somewhere nice on my birthday. I was hoping for Seoul, Korea but we didn't want to spend that much money at the start of the year. So we opted for our second favourite city in Australia--Melbourne!
When we've finalized our itinerary (restaurant bookings, friends we will see, etc) and found that we definitely have time to watch on my birthday, we then bought our tickets to the 4th Round Game, Sunday, 7:00PM at the Rod Laver Arena.
Since the game will be at night, we had a relaxing day on Sunday. We attended mass and had brunch at my favourite brunch restaurant, The European. It was a hot day so I decided to have a nap back at the hotel while the Husband had his "Me"time hanging out at the shops. He picked me up in time for us to have a meal at Il Pomodoro at Federation Square where we had pizza and cake.
As much as we wanted to sashay along the sides of Yarra River, we were kind of running late so we weren't able to walk leisurely towards the entrance of Melbourne Park.
Other than security people checking the length of our camera lenses and what we have inside our bags, we had no drama when we breezed thru the entrance of Melbourne Park.
The Rod Laver Arena Forecourt & Entrance were full of people waiting for the 7:00PM game to start. For those on a budget or weren't able to get a ticket to any of the courts, you can buy Ground Pass tickets and still watch the games at Melbourne Park at Rod Laver Arena Forecourt & Entrance. Games are televised via a giant TV. You can bring mats or blankets and lie down while watching the games. For ticket prices, click AusOpen Ticket Prices.
It was nearly 7:00pm when we arrived at Rod Laver Arena. By this time, I was beaming with excitement. In 2009, we only got to watch at the ground courts so my dream was to watch a game at Rod Laver Arena.
As soon as we got in, we made a trip to the toilet and then bought two bottles of water. Evian was one of the sponsors of AusOpen so the only brand available inside Melbourne Park was Evian. If I remember correctly, a small bottle costs AUD$3.50. Hot food was also available like hotdogs, chips, etc but since we've just eaten, we didn't bother buying food anymore.
It took awhile to get to our seats. The afternoon game just finished and people coming in and out got stuck in the halls of RLA. No need to worry though because tickets to RLA are reserved seating. Also, the AusOpen ushers tried their best to gain smooth traffic in the halls to avoid delays.
And then at last we got in and saw the marvel that is the Rod Laver Arena. For a tennis fan like me, it is a big deal.
As fate would have it, Roger Federer played that night against Bernard Tomic. It was a memorable game as tennis fans said it's like Dumblerdore vs. Harry Potter of the tennis world, which was so true.
To watch a legend like Roger Federer is a gift. For someone like me who's far away from any Grand Slam or Masters venue, it is a once in a lifetime blessing. The minute Federer walked inside the court, the crowd was in awe. One will feel the air of royalty alluded to him by many but he didn't look intimidating at all. He looked relaxed and down-to-earth. He has this certain grace that only a Master exudes.
Federer was that he doesn't look breathless even if he ran around the court. His composure and grace is really admirable. I told my Husband, "Grabe si Federer, kahit ang paghingal niya graceful pa rin!"
We noticed that most of the time, the photographers are dead set on capturing every move Roger Federer makes inside the court. It's amazing.
A big support was given to Bernard Tomic that night. Australia loves Tomic and Federer but being an Australian weighed more so the cheer for Tomic was louder. The fans would cheer Tomic to give him more encouragement but the crowd cheered when Federer makes an impressive shot too. Federer was gentleman enough not to play his tricks on Tomic, careful not to offend Australians. Over-all, it was a great game and entertaining show because both players played well. I hope Bernard Tomic continues to be great in tennis because the boy has talent.
|Group of Aussies who cheered for Tomic and provided entertainment to the crowd|
The second game at the Rod Laver Arena that night was the Women's where we got to watch Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic. We only watched the 1st set because it was not an exciting game.
The Australian Open Shop was still open when we went out (thank God!) so we went inside to buy a few items. The shop offers a lot of Australian Open souvenir such as shirts, caps, towel, bags, fridge magnets, iPhone 4s cases, jackets, etc. They also sell a few shirts worn by the players. We saw Roger Federer's shirt and I offered to buy it for the Husband but he didn't want one. (Tip: The Australian Open merchandise in Rebel Sport are cheaper!)
We didn't come home empty-handed as I bought a few AusOpen items: the Australian Open Official Program, fridge magnets and an iPhone 4s case.
Trams to and from Flinders Station are available to all AusOpen ticket holders for free so we got on and bought my favourite Churros from the Spanish Doughnuts outlet before going home.
When we got back to the hotel, the Wozniacki vs. Jankovic game was still on so we watched it on TV while we packed our stuff.