For those of you that weren’t aware, I spent the whole two weeks of this years Australian Open in Melbourne working as a part of the Australian Open digital team.
Basically, I was working as a part of the official Australian Open digital team, which involved a number of roles including moderating, communication with fans and taking pictures for social media sites.
But enough of the boring stuff, I want to give my take on the Australian Open, and also share with you guys some photos I took over the two weeks of the top players training.
One of my favourite photos: Sabine Lisicki firing down a serve
The obvious place to start is the men’s final, which in my opinion was probably in the top three best tennis matches of all-time. Novak Djokovic faced off against Rafael Nadal in the longest Major final in history. going for 5 hours and 53 minutes. Not bad, eh? To me, this was match was really made impressive because of the semi-finals both players had to come through. Novak dispatched a vastly improved and ferocious Andy Murray, under the new guidance of Ivan Lendel. That match was so good, it nearly beat the final, which is a testament to both Murray and Novak, who backed up that performance two days later with an even more physically-exhausting battle in the final.
Rafa warming up. Notice I am on the media side, so much easier to get photos competing with one camera guy!
And Nadal didn’t have it all his way in the semi-final either, he had to face this guy – you may have heard of him before – Roger Federer, and battled his way through in four tough sets.
Federer heading out for one of his last training sessions
All in all, the phyiscall strength shown by both Rafa and Novak in the final was a sight to behold. From memory, 1.7 million viewers were STILL tuned in at 1:30am in the morning when the match finished Australian time, which is a huge statement for the sport of tennis.
The final didn’t have one defining rally (although the one towards the end of the fifth set where Novak was so physically tired that he basically collapsed when the rally finished was pretty special) which in my opinion is another testament to the match itself. The scrambling, monumental defense played, even at the dying stages in the match was some of the best athleticism you will see in any sport EVER.
Sure, I’m bias, but I believe tennis players are the best athletes in the world. What other sport to players compete at a high level intensity for SIX hours?!
Anyway, apart from the amazing final, I think it was an amazing two weeks of tennis in general. Some of my fondest memories are Baggy smashing four racquets in the change over, the controversy surrounding the Nalbandian-Isner match, the amazing fighting ability of Aussie legend Lleyton taking a set of eventual champion Djokovic, or Tomic coming back from two sets to love down to beat Spains Fernando Verdasco.
Aussie Bernard Tomic warming up. I caught him warm-up almost every time he hit the practice court.
This was my view of Baggy before he smashed his racquets. For the record, the crowd was mental.
On the womens side of things, the best match I believe was the Clijsters – Li Na match, where Clijsters had a remarkable “Kimback”, down 6-2 in the second set breaker, facing four match points, she stood tall and produced some amazing tennis before claiming the match.
Obviously the final between Azarenka and Sharapova was disappointing in it’s scoreline, but the main thing that came out of that match was the emergence of Azarenka as a power player in the women’s game. I can see her and Kvitova sharing a lot of majors over the coming years.
Women’s winner Victoria Azarenka
Serbian beauty Ana Ivanovic hitting up
Andy Murray spanks a forehand while the crowd watches on
One of the coolest things I saw apart from the tennis was the ball-kid flash mob. Talking with some of the PR girls while I was waiting for a Peter Luczak, I found out that a group of the ball-kids had decided they would attempt their own flash-mob at ground square during the middle of the day. For those who don’t know, flash mobs are the in-thing at the moment, all they are is just a coordinated group of people who meet at a certain location and dance or do something cool, then disperse like nothing had happened. So all of a sudden, I would guess around 100 ball-kids in their blue outfits jumped onto centre stage at Garden Square and busted into their own rendition of “Party Rockers.” Turns out, it was a fairly planned flash-mob, with TV cameras strategically placed to capture the madness.It was pretty amazing none the less, they had a pre-planned routine and most managed to stay in time with the music. Here is a photo I captured of it, doesn’t really give it justice though, check it out on YouTube, I would say there would be a few clips on there by now, its worth the watch!
That’s probably enough rambling for one day, keep an eye on this blog over the coming weeks/months for more tennis talk, and a friendly reminder, I am looking for full-time work, preferably within the tennis industry, so keep that in mind!
Thanks for reading.