You might want to set down your coffee because you might jump with excitement over the next two words: tennis and Melbourne. Of course, we are talking about the Australian Open. You do want to go, don’t you? The crisp summer air is calling to your wind chapped winter skin, your brain is literally craving sunshine (look it up, you’re deprived). If you’re nodding your head then yes, let’s go to Melbourne.
Australia is a beautiful country with white sand beaches, illustrious street art, buckets of hipster coffeehouses, and of course, tennis. With Maria Sharapova smashing her way just behind Kristyna Pliskova, who wouldn’t want to see the final showdown? Don’t worry; I have your itinerary fleshed out like a Tolstoy novel (except you’ll have a happy ending). Traveling “Down Under” to the Open can be more time consuming than the other three Grand Slams but it is also the most fun and travel friendly. The weather is warm, the atmosphere is exciting and the grounds are easily accessible. Join the pros for a tennis friendly vacation you won’t soon forget!
Become a Pro: There are many competitive opportunities for players to test themselves against the best, not only in Australia but worldwide, as they transition to the professional tour. Visit tennis.com.au for a list of available tournaments to join in on during your stay. They can also help you find a coach and show you ways to improve your game.
Upgrade Your Gear: For those tennis players who are ready to upgrade their game to the next level make way for the Head Graphene XT Radical S! Head has changed the game of tennis featuring GrapheneXT, the strongest and lightest material in the world. For all skill levels the new design provides more power and control, two things all players are looking for more of! The Head Graphene XT Radical S comes with a bigger head at 102 square inches and at a lighter weight compared to the rest of the Radical Graphene XT series. Re-engineered Graphene technology, Graphene XT racquets are 30% stronger providing an optimized weight distribution for a faster swing and more power. The Head Graphene XT Radical S now allows for outstanding maneuverability and easy playability. This is the perfect racquet for players seeking a lighter frame that will have an easy feel with great blend of forgiveness, control & power. Do yourself a favor, upgrade your tennis racquet and you will be the talk of the club when you return home!
Enjoy the Area: Located just a ten minute walk from Downtown Melbourne and the picturesque Yarra River, Melbourne Park (home to Rod Laver Arena and the rest of the Australian Open Grounds) is very conveniently located. In fact, many spectators will wander to a downtown restaurant or bar in between sessions to enjoy a light meal and drinks. You will not find this incredible combination of tennis and city accessibility anywhere else in the world. The Aussies will make you feel right at home, just don’t ask them if Fosters is their favorite beer!
Arrive a few days before the final singles match and watch how many aces your heroes can accumulate. You’ll want to stay in the Pullman Melbourne on the Park to be within easy walking distance to Melbourne Park or you can stay closer to the water on the Yarra River.
There is so much to do here besides watching the final match that you will find yourself quickly running out of time so we’ve compiled a list of the top five places you should visit.
- Eureka Skydeck: Starting out in a glass box hundreds of stories in the air: Yes, please! Get your bearings in this eclectic city from a bird’s eye view. Also bring your binoculars, because you can see Melbourne Park from here.
- The City Itself: Go walk around; immerse yourself in the busy streets, the smells of fresh flowers, bakeries, coffee shops. How else would you find a new favorite place that’s tucked away in a small corner? Not to mention the amazing street art that Melbourne is famous for.
- Melbourne Zoo: Stretch your eyes at the sights of koalas, kangaroos and wombats. They are so cute you’ll want to sneak them home in your suitcase.
- The Queen Victoria Market: Looking for fresh Australian fare? You can find some native foods and flowers here at the market while winding your way between shops and stalls. Perhaps you’ll stumble upon a quiet bookstore and pick up a new favorite Australian author.
- The Great Ocean Road: The 12 Apostles are something you’ll never forget, so make sure to rent a car and drive with leisure as you wrap around this stretch of beautiful coastline. The limestone stacks make for great family photos, the resident geologist in the family to marvel at, or of course, for the budding photographer.
During and after the tennis matches you’ll find yourself suddenly swathed in Australian culture like a hot summer blanket. The people are friendly, loud, boisterous, outgoing, and heavy on their love of sports and drinking. To get a true feel for the Australian people, ditch the hotel and ask around for the local pub. Catch a rugby game (We suggest Australia versus New Zealand, it’s a great rivalry to entertain anyone) and order a few pints of hard apple cider or Tooheys. Sit back and enjoy the atmosphere of an Australian evening. Be sure to make friends so you can come back to visit with a personal tour guide! There’s also nothing like having an international pen pal to keep in touch with.
Now that you’ve enjoyed the tennis, the city, the nightlife, and the surrounding culture of Melbourne, be sure to take the train and keep traveling. You can go north to Perth or south to Sydney and discover all of the national parks, small towns and beaches along the way. Visiting Australia is quite the adventure, so make sure you explore all of this beautiful country.