The Australian Open is one of my favourite times of the year. Held in my hometown of Melbourne every January, the tennis means summer days and long, lazy nights. I first went to the tennis with my girlfriends at the ripe old age of 16. It was school holidays. Back then, a Ground Pass of 15 bucks (AUD) would get us into all courts except the big one: Centre Court (now called Rod Laver Arena). This means we could go into Vodafone Arena (now called Hisense) and all the outside courts. Even though we could go to Vodafone, we would plant ourselves at Show Court 1 (now called Margaret Court Arena) because it was largely uncovered and had better atmosphere. We were more interested in sunbathing and doing the Mexican wave than watching actual tennis.
When we were bored with not-really-watching the tennis, we would go to the Garnier tent. Back in the day, the tennis was sponsored by the cosmetic brand, Garnier and we would line up for hours for a show bag of full-sized shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, moisturiser and other smelly good stuff. As students, we considered lining up twice – hey shampoo wasn’t cheap.
Over the years, I got a job (so I can afford nice shampoo) but it means I have to go to work. My girlfriends and I would go on the first Saturday of the tournament but as the years went by, it became offensively busy so we discovered the “After Five Ground Pass” which for around 25 bucks, got us an after five ground pass. Access to Hisense was no longer permitted with this pass but we didn’t care. We would go after work. It was a good time of the day (sunset) and there would be plenty of tennis to watch, especially in the first week.
This year, however, going to the tennis was SUCH AN EFFORT. We didn’t go in the first week due to the heat wave so we waited for the weekend. There was a new price of $54 for a ground pass on either Saturday or Sunday which of course, doesn’t include the booking fee or the debit/credit card-processing fee. Regardless, ground passes for last Saturday SOLD OUT so we looked for Sunday tickets.
We decided to splash out an extra tenner for Hisense Arena so for around $70, we managed to squeeze in some tennis in the shade (I’m really showing my age now). But it just wasn’t the same. There was no Garnier tent or equivalent (last year, they had a Dove tent giving away Dove products). The matches weren’t that competitive and it was all a bit “same same, but same” especially when it came to men’s tennis – Rafa, Djoker, Fedstar, Murray etc.
But as I write this, none of them won the tournament; the other Swiss who beat Djokovic did. The final was an unconventional NAIL BITER (my back hurts from just watching Rafa). Today, I turn on the TV and there is no tennis! What am I supposed to do now for the rest of the summer?!
Bring on the Australian Open 2015.