Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's Summer in Australia

It's that time of year once again, while I'm freezing my butt off in cold January weather, it's actually summer on the other side of the world and below the Equator. In the wonderful city of Melbourne, Australia is the site of the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year, the Australian Open. And it starts tonight! (Which is actually tomorrow in Australia).

I love tennis. I played it growing up. Played varsity all four years in high school, and even played collegiate tennis at the Division I level. I was one of the few players that played with a true one-handed backhand, since most of my peers went to two hands. I was a baseliner, grinding and pounding - I could kick a topspin serve right over my opponents' heads.

But that was twenty years ago. YIKES. Although I still play today, it's more for fun.

I enjoy the Australian Open, although the broadcast times make it tough to watch on TV here in the States. During the course of the tournament, it gets SO freaking hot, I remember seeing the players' shoes literally melting on the court one year. The main arena court at Melbourne Park, named after Australian great Rod Laver, has a state-of-the art retractable roof. And if the weather dictates, play can continue.

Recently, the Australian Open has been touting itself as the tennis Grand Slam of Asia. And I think that's awesome. With the other three Slams being played in the Western world (Wimbledon, French Open, and US Open), it's great that Asia/Pacific can tout its own main event.

Asian tennis has been getting better, particularly the Chinese women. Li Na, for example, lost in the finals of the Australian Open last year. She was the first Asian in a Grand Slam Final. (I don't count Michael Chang, because he is an American). And then she won the French Open last year, being the first Asian Grand Slam Champion.

My picks for the final 4 for this year's Australian Open:

Men: Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray.

Winner: Novak Djokovic

Women: Serena Williams, Li Na, Victoria Azarenka, and Petra Kvitova

Winner: Petra Kvitova


The Desert Rocks said...

I used to be a tennis machine in my college days. Too bad all my English classes ruined my eyes. After the hard contacts fell out during tennis and the glasses fogged up--well, I gave it up! Serena is still in huh? We have the Baribas Open or whatever they call it out here by my house. Are you coming--it's in the spring.

Jay Noel said...

Eve: Wow. That's a fantastic tournament - and it's by your house? Cool. If I go, can I crash on your sofa?

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

If you're looking for a partner to go and tour Australia with, I too am wanting some warm weather. I wouldn't have much interest in tennis though.

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