All set for the matches

Melbourne Travel Blog

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inside the Vodaphone arena

As we have been twice to the tennis in Melbourne we are well prepared for the events. A good sized packed lunch with plenty of fruit and cold drinks mean that we don't have to rely on the pricey food in the grounds. The car ride to the MCG for parking nearby takes us about 30 minutes through the morning city traffic and this year a days parking is $6. Walk on down to the tennis centre where three of us join the gate queue of about 500 people while one of us buys the ground passes. This year they are $29 and that allow one access to all courts except the biggest one - the Rod Laver Arena.

The waiting crowds are kept entertained by some fancy dressed musicians and the gate staff check the bags of the waiting fans.

Queuing to enter the grounds
  Fans in colours of their homelands group and chant to gain attention of the TV crews and the atmosphere is friendly and fun.  Gates open at 10 am and employees from the main companies sponsoring the event are waiting to receive the fans with promotions from their companies. We have checked the list of players for the day and decide to head to the second biggest arena - Vodaphone - where we can get good seats and there are some great players scheduled. Weather is warm so sunscreen, hats, cover up clothing and sunglasses are essential. We have brought along some flat cushions to help a day of sitting in plastic seats and a huge bottle of water which we refill twice from the portable drinking fountains provided.

After some amazing and entertaining matches we decide to go walking so that the girls can see what happens on the outside courts.

Showing their patriotism
They eventually choose a lively crowd watching a match with the most vocal of the support teams being Swedish. Land right in amongst the colourful cheer squad wearing plenty of yellow and blue. Their chants are in full swing and while we don't understand the words we know the tunes. Think the Swede eventually lost but it was an entertaining match from the perspective of crowd watching.

Find our car easily as we have put an Australian flag on it. We made plans to meet up with my daughter and her friend of 7 years and flatmate, Freya as it is Freya's 25th birthday. The place chosen for dinner is on Brighton beach on the middle pier and called The Bath. My son is also there with about 6 others and it is great to see him as we missed catching up with him over Christmas.

Celebrating the 2nd of 4 Capricorn birthdays at Brighton by the sea
The menu is varied and great fish is the feature with Italian pastas and pizza figuring. The meals range from about $17-$28 for mains which are very generous serves. The view over the bay with the Melbourne CBD as a backdrop is spectacular and a great way to finish a great day. As we travel home we have learned from media reports that there has been a nasty incident in the grounds between young thugs from Serbian and Croat ancestry who appear not to have come for the tennis but to want to have an excuse for fighting. Stupid idiots. Not wanted in this country.

Day Two at the tennis and we are aware that we are are in for a scorcher predicted to be 39 Celsius. We repeat the preparation as the day before and on driving into the parking ground one of the attendants acknowledges us as having been there the day before. He recognised us by the flag on our car! We again choose the Vodaphone stadium noting that we will have about 1 1/2 hours of direct sun on us until we are in the shade for the rest of the day. The roof is capable of being closed but the MC tells us that the policy is to leave it open until the first match is over then review the temperature. Absolute madness and we nearly expire in the heat having to make several trips out into the foyer to gain relief from the heat. The roof is closed, the air conditioner comes on, ground staff spray the audience with mists of water, outside matches are abandoned and the searing heat goes over 40 degrees. At the end of the programme we get a bonus match with the young player, Andy Murray from Scotland coming on.

We have seen Hingis, Guccione, Rochus, Carlos Moya and many more. Get text messages from my daughter in the evening telling me that much of Melbourne is without power as bushfires have burnt a shunt system that supplies electricity from NSW to Victoria and that chaos reigned at traffic lights and the rail network during the peak hour home trip.

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inside the Vodaphone arena
inside the Vodaphone arena
Queuing to enter the grounds
Queuing to enter the grounds
Showing their patriotism
Showing their patriotism
Celebrating the 2nd of 4 Capricorn…
Celebrating the 2nd of 4 Capricor…
Melbourne
photo by: jendara