A group of kids skipped up the stairs at Margaret Court Arena, and were immediately impressed. “Wow, it’s massive,” one said with great excitement. “It’s nothing like this on TV …”
Fans arriving at Melbourne Park on Wednesday quickly learned that an exciting initiative was underway in 2019, with final player preparations for the first Grand Slam of 2019 on display in open practice matches.
In a commitment to dedicated tennis fans, the Australian Open qualifying days are free to the public, and the additional open practice sessions are an extra treat for those onsite.
For fans who have never seen a Grand Slam champion in action, or never witnessed tennis sat on a show court, this is a real opportunity to watch world-class sport for free.
On Wednesday, defending Australian Open women’s singles champion Caroline Wozniacki headed onto MCA to take on world No.6 Elina Svitolina.
The duo shared a joke as Svitolina, who welcomed the 360-strong ballkids squad to Melbourne Park earlier this week, spun her racquet to decide on ‘up or down’ for the opening server.
You might think this was just a simple warm-up set, but there was an umpire and ballkids, and even Hawkeye had a thorough test.