If there is one photo that captures Joaquin’s overall experience at the Australian Open, it would be this. That’s him gripping the rail, gaze fixed on the court, after squeezing himself past the front row to have a better view of his tennis idol, Rafael Nadal.
Just before the Covid outbreak in 2020, we were in Melbourne for 8 days, 5 of which we spent watching tennis. Our family are tennis fanatics and although this was my and my hubby’s 4th time at a grand slam (
2 in Wimbledon and 2 in Australian Open), this was Joaquin’s first.
Oh that boy was so lucky! He not only saw so many of his tennis heroes play, he even managed to get the autograph of some of them.
Here’s his (and me and his dad’s) photo journal, plus some tips as well…
From our accommodation at the Docklands, we’d take the free Tram 70 to Melbourne Park and stop at Wattle Park stop which was closest to the Rod Laver Arena.
This was the entrance near the Rod Laver Arena and on the right (not in the photo) was the counter for ground tickets and tickets for the 3 main courts – Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and John Cain Arena (previously Melbourne Arena). Often, the good seats for quarter finals to finals would be gone weeks or months ahead, so purchase them online ( Ticketmaster) early.
It could get crowded in the park but it’s a good, like-minded crowd, so we had no problem with that!
Big screens are provided in several areas like here at the Garden Square. Looking at this photo, I realised that you could do some sunbathing as well! 🙂
This one’s at the Grand Slam Oval where giant screens and several dining options are located. There’s Joaquin in a green shirt walking past the big screen.
This was where we had our first meal, yup burger and fries, just outside Margaret Court Arena and Court 3. Food, even fast food and fruits, inside the park could be expensive, so don’t hesitate to bring your own.
One of the first matches that Joaquin watched was Novak Djokovic vs Diego Schwarztman. This was a day match at Rod Laver Arena. Joaquin was quite amazed at how fast Novak’s balls were and how he’s always have that tendency to do leg splits.
Here’s a closer shot of World no. 1, Novak Djokovic.
Joaquin was soooo thrilled the first time he saw Roger Federer walked into the court. He knew it was a privilege to see the GOAT (greatest of all time) do his magic in person!
This was Roger’s match against Marton Fucsovic, where Roger beat the top Hungarian seed 4-6,6-1,6-2,6-2
Joaquin saw Roger again in another thriller match where he saved 7 match points (it was unbelievable, OMG!) against American Tennys Sandgren, to win 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6(10-8), 6-3
It was impossible to catch Roger during his practice this time around, there were just too many people. But back in 2012, we were lucky to see him practice (2012 photo). And do you wanna know how I got this shot? I had to sit on my hubby’s shoulders! I am short and there were so many tall people in front hahah:)
Back to AO 2020, when Rafael Nadal entered the court, Joaquin squeezed himself past the front row. Our seats were a just few rows away from the front, but Joaquin just had to go even closer. Oh before any match begins, during warm up, anyone could walk down nearer to the court to take a closer look of the players.
Rafa and Nick Kyrgios met during the 4th round. Nick was wearing Kobe Bryant’s No 24 Lakers jersey in honour of Kobe who perished the day before.
Check out this clip. Amazing performance by both players, and yes that’s Joaquin screaming at the top of his lungs in the video hahaha!
Rafa paid tribute to Kobe as well. He wore a Nike Lakers cap during his interview with John McEnroe and while signing autographs.
Speaking of autograph, Joaquin got two of his caps signed by Rafa, his biggest idol. For those aiming to get autographs right after the match, you have to tie your cap or ball or magazine in a piece of string/rope (rubber bands in Joaquin’s case) that you could dangle to the court. Plan ahead, don’t be shy and move fast!
A couple of days after his match against Rafa, we saw Nick walking on the grounds. We followed him and watched him hit some balls in the practice court. Boy, he’s really quite unconventional, he was listening to music and Face-timing during his practice.
But Nick was generous that morning and signed several autographs. I wonder if he noticed that the cap he was signing was also the cap that Rafa signed after their match the day before. 🙂
One morning we watched Spanish Garbiñe Muguruza train with her coach, Conchita Martinez. They were rushing to leave the practice court and it became impossible to get Garbiñe’s autograph. Her security blocked me and Joaquin and told us that she’s done signing. She walked past us already but I thought of calling out to her, trying my luck, “Por favor, Garbiñe.” She heard me, turned around and walked back a couple of meters in my and Joaquin’s direction. I still couldn’t believe it! “Gracias,” I sincerely thanked her, and Joaquin handed to her his white cap and a pen… This was probably my most favourite Australian Open 2020 moment. 🙂
Joaquin saw several of his tennis idols during those 5 days and we were amazed that he managed to sit through the long matches. The day matches start at 11am and we’d watch all the way to the night events which sometimes would end at midnight.
Since we were flying all the way from Singapore, we wanted to make sure that rain would not interrupt our entertainment, so we’d book the courts with retractable roof. We like the Rod Laver Arena the most because it’s where the top seeded player play.
Oh we also watched a few of the matches of Alex Eala, this sensational Filipino player in the juniors. She’s simply amazing! Bless her and may her career continue to flourish. Mabuhay!
This was at Nobu inside the park during our last day at the Australian Open. There are other proper restaurants like this around the venue, but of course, there are also just burgers and fast food.
Here are some other shots around Melbourne Park:
Yes shopping, too!
Here are some of the blogs on our previous tennis trips:
Wimbledon, Debenture Tickets and Strawberries and Cream
Australian Open 2012 and St Kilda
Road Trip on the Great Ocean Road