Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Melbourne Diary - Tennis

Courtside action

There are lots to blog about our visit to Melbourne. The first post is about the main purpose of our visit - the Australian Open.

Mr Curious and I attended the Sunday day session at Rod Laver Arena. There were two matches: Andy Murray vs John Isner, and Rafael Nadal vs Ivo Karlovic. The seats are courtesy of Mr Curious' employer. They are fantastic, Row E, on the side just behind the umpire. This is a video I recorded from the seat.

The Murray-Isner match was OK. I have never seen Murray played before, and I was surprised that his serve was fairly slow by current standards (around 160km/h for a first serve). But when he was down break point he hit a 210km/h ace. I realised then that the slow serve, and fairly passive groundstrokes were part of his tactics.

Isner didn't play too badly but he didn't have any weapon (besides the serve) to hurt Murray. Murray won in straight sets.

As our seats were just behind the umpire's chair we had a pretty good view of the players when they returned to their seats. Here's a photo of Murray.

Murray returning to his seat

The next match was a lot more interesting. Rafa gave 100% to every shot he made. Karlovic served and volleyed a bit which mixed up the play nicely (Stefan Edberg is my all time favourite player so I like some action at the net). Again Karlovic wasn't powerful or consistent enough to trouble Rafa so the result was never in doubt.

Here's Rafa serving.

Nadal serving

As an aside, I don't know why Nike designed those shorts for Rafa. They look like pyjama pants!

Last night's match between Murray and Nadal was at the highest level. I enjoyed seeing Murray playing an attacking game. It was a shame that Nadal had to retire because of injury. I hope he gets better soon.

Between the matches we wandered around the grounds and I managed to catch Federer practicing. I saw him twice when we came to the AO in 2008 and he was a joy to watch.

Federer at the practice court

The only downside to the day - for some strange reason I was sleepy the whole day and had a few catnaps during the matches. It was so frustrating but I couldn't fight my body!

All and all Mr Curious and I had lots of fun. I'm looking forward to the rest of the tournament, even if it is only on TV.


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