After having some fun at a tennis tourney in Japan, it was time to make my wife’s dream come true: To see the Australian Open! We flew into Melbourne for a few days to catch a few week two games, and here’s our experience.
First Day: Grounds Pass
On our first day, the Monday of Week Two, we had grounds passes. This means that we could enter the grounds for the tournament and take any non-reserved seats in a few select venues for the day games. We got these on preorder, so they were very cheap – less than 20 AUS dollars each! My wife checked online and we managed to find an upgrade for Margaret Court Arena. This meant that we would have reserved seats in Margaret Court Arena, but we were still free to roam about, skip matches at Margaret Court, and come back as we pleased. Maybe it was discounted due to lack of sales, but we got the upgrades for around 80 AUS dollars each.
So, what did this all get us? Well, it got us four tennis matches, watched almost to their entirety.
First, we saw an exhibition match that pitted the Bryan brothers against one another in a mixed doubles exhibition match. Fun fact: They are the winningest doubles team in tennis history. Since it was an exhibition match for shits and giggles, they and their partners were having fun with it. I’m really glad we started with that one; it wasn’t tense, the players were clearly having a good time, and it helped ease me into a long day of spectating.
The second match was women’s singles with Donna Vekic versus Linda Fruhvirtova. A very high-energy match and a joy to watch! I think I prefer women’s singles compared to men’s, as women only need the best of three instead of the best of five like men do. I enjoy tennis, but I don’t want to be there for three hours waiting for a winner.
Later we jumped over to John Cain Arena and watch the USAmericans JJ Wolf and Ben Shelton play. We kind of had some trouble securing seats that weren’t in the direct sunlight, and it took us about four moves to eventually find some seats that offered us shade. We had to leave early, as the end of their game was overlapping with the match with Roberto Bautista Augut versus Tommy Paul at Margaret Court Arena.
Both men’s games went well. We even got to see some rowdiness from the crowd! In our reserved seat section, one guy was shouting encouragement to Paul during the last match of the game. Not to be outdone, an Aussie couple started shouting support for Bautista Agut. The Paul cheerer ended up leaving, but the Bautista Augut fans got very quiet after they saw the writing on the wall. They left very quickly and quietly as the match concluded.
Day Two: Night Game
This day, the day after our Grounds Pass, we only had tickets for the night game, a quarterfinals matchup with Jessica Pegula v Victoria Azarenka and Stefanos Tsitsipas v Jiri Lechecka. There was a nice light show to get things going, followed quickly by the women’s match. Our seats were a bit higher and in the corner but we were still able to see the game pretty clearly. Only a small patch on one end was blocked by the chair umpire, but otherwise, nice view!
We bought a nice hat and water bottle while there as our souvenirs. There were some pretty neat apparel options, but everything was pretty pricey. The food on offer was… so-so in the arenas, slightly better on the grounds, but still not outstanding based on the pricing. We had beautiful, sunny weather for our grounds pass day and light rain that cleared up by the night matches.
Overall, I don’t think I could have asked for a better experience for our Australian Open time!