Throughout Melbourne’s seemingly endless lockdown period I have decided to give bike riding a go, despite firmly being on team car it’s a great way to gain some fitness.
Within my 15 kilometre radius, which will now be defunct at 11:59PM on Thursday (yay!!!!!!!!!), is Melbourne Park.
By no means am I an expert rider, but I persevered into the city with two friends and as we got to the Yarra River I asked if we could go check out our city's wonderful sports precinct, which has sadly been hardly used over the past two years.
As we rolled up Olympic Boulevard I turned to the left where the glorious Rod Laver Arena stands, thinking about the epic contests I have witnessed inside, but then I turned my attention a little to the right.
Adjacent to Grand Slam Oval, and in the foreground to the beautiful and ginormous MCG, was the Australian Open’s newest show court.
This has been on the cards for years, and we have eagerly awaited its unveiling to the tennis community.
But what I was pleasantly surprised about was the fact that there was no fencing around it, or anything for that matter, and as I pedalled closer I realised there was no gate to block us from taking a little peak inside.
In we went, and literally every hair on my body tingled as I got the sense of excitement that I haven’t felt for a long time, hell just being around the city was a nice change.
But it was a sense of anticipation that in a few months, the city would once again be a bustling hub for people, and Melbourne Park would be the focal point for the first Grand Slam of 2022.
This new arena, yet to be named and set to hold 5,000 tennis lovers, will be in action with its colourful blue seating pattern like the precinct’s main courts that have been revamped to remain consistent.
It will create just another phenomenal experience for spectators, as a ground pass will gain you entry to watch hopefully one or two Aussies in front of a raucous crowd.
But it’s not just the new and luxurious looking court, it is the fact that we will all be able to congregate with each other and watch some of the best tennis that the world has to offer.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to wait in line to get into a packed show court (something I normally loathe), I want to be packed in amongst a loud crowd, I want to stay late at night and witness a thrilling five-setter and all in all, I just want to feel the buzz of a group of people.
Most of all, I can’t wait to feel my skin under the warm sun as it beams down on the magnificent acrylic blue hard courts of the Australian Open.
The CBD has been an absolute ghost town throughout 2020 and 2021, so watching people walk down Batman Avenue or along the Yarra towards the precinct will be a welcome sight.
The 2021 Australian Open was riddled with challenges, whether that be quarantine or a snap lockdown causing the bizarre scene of fans being told to leave halfway through a match, hopefully we will be beyond that now.
Writing this has made me emotional because our amazing city could finally be on its way to healing, it has been a hard mental slog for the citizens of this great thoroughfare that just over five million people call home.
I hope that once January 17 rolls around, we see capacity crowds like the stunning and enviable scenes from Flushing Meadows last month, how insanely fun did that look?
Today’s announcements of a gargantuan ease of restrictions has created pandemonium throughout the state of Victoria, and if we continue to build on our vaccination rates there is no reason why we can’t expect a superb edition of the Australian Open in 2022.
I have never been this excited.
Listen to The First Serve with Brett Phillips each Monday at 8pm AEDT on 1116AM SEN Melbourne, 1629AM SEN SA / 1170am Sydney or listen live and catch up on the SEN App.
John Peers and Storm Sanders will join Brett Phillips in this weeks episode.
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