Since our time in Australia is coming to an end, Mats and I will be reporting a little less news on the blog. We would like to thank you for taking the time to read our daily activities, and because we have only one of our players in the tournament we will be slowing down a lot.
Yesterday was a day of walking around the grounds, and in the second week there are fewer players in the tournament and fewer people roaming the grounds. It is always a special feeling in the second week of a slam.
When you arrive at the site and are walking in the corridors, it is much more quiet, and it is also a sad feeling because you realize it is coming to an end. Everything becomes easier, from booking practice courts to getting transportation to getting new balls for practices.
We wanted to watch some juniors because this is where the new generation is preparing for the big world of tennis. They are playing on the outside courts, and you have to do quite a bit of walking to cover all the courts from Court 20 to Court 10. Rod Laver Arena stands between these courts, and it takes at least 10 minutes before you reach the other side of the site.
The weather has been extremely mild this year, so it has been very pleasant for fans, players and coaches and has been one of the best in the 19 years I’ve been coming to the Australian Open.
We wanted to watch Laura Robson again, so along the way we also passed Court 4 where Andy Murray was having his day of recovery. It is always strange to congratulate somebody if they have won through retirement, but this one is special because it is his first semifinal here in Australia. There is a slight possibility that Mats will be hitting with Andy in the next few days because his coach Miles has a sore back.
Laura won her match and was not the most energetic on the court. I spoke to her after the match, and she said she had slept poorly and her mind was thinking of her whole day. She had to play her quarterfinal (open division) women’s doubles match, which was scheduled to be after Tsonga-Djokovic at 7:30 p.m. I fully understand that a 16-year-old can get tired and her mind may wonder.
After her match, we decided to have a quick sandwich before heading to The Oval, where there is a big beer garden and other activities for the fans with live music and bars and restaurants. We wanted to watch the Serena and Roger matches there. We ended up staying there until about 6 p.m., and Roger had just won the second set before we walked over to Maria Kirilenko’s at 6:30 p.m. warm-up for her doubles match.
We watched the end of the Federer match in the lounge, and we had a nice dinner in the players’ restaurant before we headed over to the night match of the day: Tsonga vs. Djokovic. The first two sets were spectacular. The women’s doubles match that was originally planned after the match was moved to the Margaret Court Arena at 10 p.m., and I was getting updates from Laura Robson’s coach. She and her partner were leading 4-0 in the first. So I decided to walk over and watch a little from the side of the court. (I am not supposed to be in the player’s box of either of the players, but I am allowed to sit and watch neutrally.) I came in at 4-3 for Robson and Peers, but Kirilenko and Radwanska turned it around and won the set 6-4. I stayed for one more game before heading back to center court. I watched as Tsonga was fighting his way back after losing the third, and Djokovic was running of the court because he seemed ill. At the end Tsonga won the battle and put another adidas player into the semis.
Today is going to be a bit slower, but I look forward to see Justine Henin play her comeback semi and roam the grounds again and in between have a personal workout in the gym.
Another day of Paradise is beginning.