2012 Australian Open: Day 2

It’s that time again to get the racquet out of the wardrobe and dream about how good you were in your youth. The Australian Open is here again in all its glory, and after a  previous week of winter weather  a ferocious sun is out, ready to burn spectators and players to a crisp.  I was one of those spectators on Day 2 and followed all the advice of the Cancer Council, plenty of sun screen on the exposed skin and a “sensible” hat as I sat in the Margaret Court arena. And it was hot, bloody hot already, at about 10.30am.

First up was a battle between European neighbours Rui Machado from Portugal, with a ranking of 70, up against David Ferrer of Spain seeded 7 for the Open. They both came out full of energy and enthusiasm, but it soon became obvious that the Spaniard was too consistent. Machado had a magnificent forehand which he used to great effect but he was no match for Ferrer. Both players made the most of the breaks between games, Machado poured water over his head and used the “ice collar”, I’m sure Ferrer did the same but I couldn’t see him from my seat. A small contingent  of Portuguese did their best with a few chants but the game was all over in straight sets, Ferrer winning 6-1 6-4 6-2. I’m sure  both players were happy to leave Margaret Court Oven.

Jelena Dokic was next up. So much has been written about her family/sporting career that I won’t add to it, suffice to say the crowd was barracking for her with lots of Ozzy Ozzy etc etc . Jelena is now rated 64 in the world and her opponent Anna Chakvetadze from Russia, once a top 10 player is now 196. She didn’t appear too happy to be playing in the heat, and who can blame her, she is from Moscow where the temp. would be around -10c, hopefully she didn’t just arrive.  Jelena was full of business and wound up the two sets only losing three games. I like the way she plays, no long groans when she hits the ball, it’s more like gas escaping from a tyre. I well remember a time when groans and shrieks were unheard of, I think Monica Seles established the practice all those years ago and it continues to grow unfortunately.

I remember Marinko Matosevic playing in his first Australian Open three years ago when he was beaten by someone from Switzerland. He is back again this year, his ranking hasn’t improved much,he is ranked at 203, and this Aussie battler is taking on Gael Monfrils of France seeded at 15. Marinko came out in workmanlike tennis clothing, Monfrils with his designer afro and a strip like a first division French Football Club looked so cool. So cool I thought he should have been at a film premiere at Cannes. Marinko jumped around, Gael strolled,  Marinko chased, Gael strolled, Marinko changed his shirt, Gael strolled.  Marinko’s Cheer squad did a lot of chanting for their Dandenong mate without a lot of success although in the first set he came within a couple of points of taking it. The result was straight sets win for the Frenchman 7-6 6-3 6-3. I sure hope Marinko enjoys his money from the Open, he gave it his all.

Time for another application of sun screen before Chanelle Scheepers from South Africa 37 in the world, took on Svetlana Kuznetsova  of Russia ranked 19. The Russian won 6-3 3-6 6-0 and I wasn’t too impressed with her loud grunting and the petulance she displayed to the ball boys and girls. She would only take balls from the boy/girl from her service side continually holding up play. At the end of the second set she took herself off for an extended break leaving the South African without an opponent, when she was on a role. I guess that’s what you call gamesmanship or should I say Gameswomenship.

It was seven o’clock and still bloody hot when two giants came out to play. Denis Istomin 60 of Uzbeckistan  and JoWilfed Tsonga seeded 6 of France came out to do their thing The Frenchman in brilliant orange and lemon gear and matching shoes, Istomin in regulation white. JoWilfred had lots of fans chanting and cheering and he didn’t let them down although it did take him four sets to do it. They both hit the cover off the ball and most first serves were well up near the 200km mark. A couple of Tsonga’s serves were timed at 219.The colourful Frenchman won 6-4 3-6 6-2 7-5 ,a really great game in trying conditions.

I had been at Melbourne Park for just on 11 hours  when the last game at Margaret Court Arena was over. I sweltered all day but really enjoyed the  incredible skills shown by all the players. I felt I had had a great day as I got on the bike for the ride home. In the freshness of the morning I had a tail wind, tonight it was in my face all the way home and still as hot as hades. But I did make it home, and I’ll do it all again next year.



  1. I had to turn the grunter off last night. Not because she was polaxiing our girl. In fact I was engrossed in just how good she was but the constant unsports person like behaviour was unbareable.

    Perhaps the gallery should all grunt just before she plays a shot. There could be no arguement from Tennis authorities regarding it being a distraction to the person just about to return as that is exactly what the person at the other end must endure. They encourage it by not stopping it.

    Tomic is developing into a cool customer. His matter of fact celebration at the end of last night’s game was a sign of focus and maturity.

  2. Peter Flynn says

    Thanks Rod. I love my tennis. And I love the Ground Pass.

    I’m enjoying the Fox Sports coverage.

    The mute button is hit with Ch7. Bruce and Jim give me the brace and bits.

  3. Mark Doyle says

    Rod, I agree that it is great to have the Australian Tennis Open on again. However, there is no more dreaming of the past for me as a youthful tennis player. My best tennis memories are the social activities of tennis tournaments in places such as Albury, Wagga, Young, Goulburn, Griffith, Wangaratta, Benalla and Shepparton. The Australian Tennis Open in Melbourne is the best sports event in our country because all the best men and women professional players are competing. I am looking forward to going tomorrow – friday – and Saturday. I have attended most years since 1988 and have decided that these days are the best value because there are better matches – most of the dud players have been eliminated. I also believe that the ground pass is no longer good value in the first week because of the crowds. You need a reserved seat for both the Rod Laver and Hisense arenas to enjoy good tennis. The ground passes are good value in the second week when there are less people and there are good doubles, mixed doubles and junior events
    This year the women’s event appears more interesting with 7 or 8 realistic chances. The men’s event has only three realistic chances.
    It is also interesting to follow the media coverage of this event. Fox Sports TV and Eurosport TV provide the best coverage. The best commentator is Nicole Pratt. Most of the Australian media coverage is garbage and the worst is ABC radio, which specialises in trivial and celebrity nonsense. The Age sports writing is also garbage because most of their sports writers write about irrevalent and ill-informed opinion.

  4. This year, I have found Bruce even more irritating than usual.
    His faux mateship (i.e. calling everyone by their first name) is infuriating.

  5. The more they multi task to enable cost efficiencies the more times the ‘Peter Principle’ comes into play with respect to their understanding of the sports they have adopted expertise in.

    Proven expert commentry specific to the sport – Bring it back.

  6. Mark, If I was one twentieth as good of the players you describe as dud, I would have been rapt.

  7. Fair enough Rod, but the use of the word dud in this context is only relevant to the 130 odd men and women who are playing in the Australian Open and not tennis playing mugs like you and me. I particlarly dislike the crass barracking and celebrity nonsense by Australian broadcasters, commentators and morons such as the ‘fanatics’ for Australian players who have rankings in the 100’s and are in the event only because of a national bias in getting wild cards. Most of these Australian players are duds and the media people who are guilty of crass barracking and celebrity nonsense are Bruce McAvaney, Sandy Roberts, Todd Woodbridge, Adam Peacock and all the ABC radio people. Wild cards should only be given to players whose ranking has dropped because of injury, such as Lleyton Hewitt, or juniors from all countries who have performed well at the junior grand slams.

  8. Phantom , a couple of years ago I wrote a song parody -‘How do you stop the grunting of Maria ‘ and it was sung on the Coodabeens. I’ve been watching the tennis with the sound down- no commentary, no grunts.

    Mark, those country tennis tournaments were such great events and social fun – and it’s good to see them still being so in many country towns.

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