Sometimes it is great to hang out in the locker rooms. You get to hear some funny inside stories and see things you usually wouldn’t.
There are 2 different locker rooms at the Australian Open — Locker Room A and Locker Room B.
If you work on the ATP side you receive a credential that allows you into Locker Rooms A and B. Locker Room A is a bit smaller, and only the player and one member of his support team are allowed in there. The players are usually preparing themselves for the match. They are preparing their special drinks, putting new overgrips on their racquets and getting ready mentally as well. It is very special to see how they have some rituals in common and how each player does his own special thing prior to the match.
Last year when Fernando Verdasco made it into the second week and advanced to the semis here, Sven and I got our credential changed, so we could get access to Locker Room A. We only could get this access because it was quieter in the second week and fewer players and support team members were there. Last year, we initially had our credentials with Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic.
Working on the WTA side with a player means you only have access to Locker Room B because you are not working with a male player.
However, Locker Room B is sometimes more popular than Locker Room A because you have more space, and you are not sharing with too many other players. Andy Roddick, for example, had his locker in Locker Room A. He was always preparing for his match in there with his coach, Larry Stefanki, and also doing his physio.
To make sure nothing is stolen or disappears, there are two gentlemen, Anthony and Ross, who are in charge of unlocking and locking the lockers. They basically share a 24/7 job during the tournament. Their day starts at 6 a.m. and ends two hours after the last match has finished. If you want to know about long days, you should ask them. They are doing an unbelievable job and whenever I walk in there, one of them is there and asks me the question, “Unlock 53, Mats?” So obviously after a certain time they know you and your locker.
Jobs like this are often underestimated, and I think we owe them a big thank you for the great job that they do. They must be exhausted after those more or less three weeks of work.
Apart from hanging out in Locker Room B, we also got to watch some junior matches. Laura Robson and Tiago Fernandes, both with adidas, were playing, and we were watching some other very talented players as well of course.
Maria Kirilenko also was on to play her doubles semifinal together with Agnieszka Radwanska. They were playing Cara Black and Liezel Huber. Unfortunately they lost in three sets. It was very windy and Black/Huber are not easy opponents. They were really in Maria’s and Agnieszka’s face the entire match even when they lost the second set 1-6 Black/Huber were running back to their bench, as if they had won the second set 6-1. That’s also why they are so good at what they do. They are very professional.
But I think Maria should still be confident with a quarterfinal in singles and a semifinal in doubles, she had a very good run over the last two weeks. Let’s cross fingers for her and hope she won’t get injured and will be able to maintain that level of very good tennis.
Have a great day,