Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Melbourne Park Experience

Almost two months after the Australian Open saw its last action, I still can't get over it! The experience of watching a Grand Slam in flesh and blood was a memorable experience, especially in the first week when I had to walk for barely ten minutes from my hotel to get to the venue. As it turns out, that was not quite my last 'Melbourne Park' experience. This evening, I had an opportunity to actually play a game on court 9, one of the outside courts. Admittedly, the tennis was of a significantly inferior quality than that dished out in the last two weeks of January, but it felt somewhat surreal to be playing in the backdrop of the Rod Laver Arena. I once felt pretty good about playing on the CCFC ground in a corporate six-a-side tournament! I couldn't agree with more with my customer/colleague Steve Wallis, who (co)incidentally beat me handily, when he said this was the advantage of being in a city like Melbourne with such facilities. For a rank amateur like me, the surface itself didn't seem to be much different from the hard courts I've played on in some apartment complexes in the US! But I suspect Lleyton Hewitt would have an entirely different view of the matter! It was also nice to watch youngsters hone their groundstrokes and volleys, which actually looked pretty solid to me, considering their age. But then, catchin' 'em young is often so vital to success. For interested parties, the charge for an outside court is $32 (Aus) per hour in the evenings and is only about $20 per hour during the day. It's definitely worth it for a one-time effort, if only for the bragging rights! For more information, look at the Melbourne and Olympic Parks website. - NK PS: I never made much effort to play tennis at the South Club in Calcutta (or anywhere else in the city for that matter). I'm not sure why.


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