So after nearly a year of COVID restrictions, one way or the other, a second big sporting event was being held in Melbourne, the slightly delayed Australian Tennis Open.
While the Australia vs India Test Match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground was the first major sporting event since the Australian Football League (AFL) moved all matches out of Victoria back in April, having banned attendance for the few matches played before all matches were moved out of the state, cricket only involved a relatively small number of players.
The AusOpen 2021 involved bringing just over 1,000 players and coaches into the State which was a massive logistic challenge with quarantine arrangements￼.
Luckily there was no COVID spread caused by the influx of players into the mostly COVID free Australia.
Crowds were restricted to the three main areas and then only at 50% of seats with distancing enforced. The three attendance zones are also unable to interact.
I’ve attended all but three Australian Opens since they moved to Melbourne Park (then named Flinders Park) in 1988, and this was a very different experience.
Normally the AusOpen is a celebration with people from all over the world in attendance, most escaping the Northern winter. Last year the AusOpen also doubled as a bachelor party for my nephew Andrew.
This year the AusOpen was far more subdued and this became more so when it was announced during the day the State will be going into a 5 day lockdown from midnight.
I attended the tennis with my brother Reagan at the Margaret Court Arena on Day 5 for the following matches:
- Women’s Third Round: M. Vondrousova (19th seed) beat S. Cirstea 6-4, 6-4
- Women’s Third Round: G. Muguruza (14) beat Z. Diyas 6-1, 6-1
- Men’s Third Round: G. Dimitrov (18) beat P. Carreno Busta 6-1, 1-0 (retired)
The early finish allowed us to visit some of the outdoor courts which is usually one of the highlights of the day but with outside court movement restricted we only had a limited selection of matches.
The day did give me a chance to try out my new iPhone 12 Pro Max especially the video function and I was very impressed, I can’t wait to use the iPhone on a future trip (Videos – first match and second match).
After a difficult year it was good to watch some first class tennis again with the hope life might return to something like normal.
Now for a five day lockdown and unfortunately cancelled local tennis matches.