2006-Allan and Joel's Excellent Adventure travel blog

Had a chat with Patrick the morning while waiting for coffee at the Commune Pit stop. We mainly talked about the depth of the men's vs. women's field at this tournament vs. other Grand Slams. He thought it was good that some of the lesser known players had made some good inroads - it was good for tennis. I would tend to agree.

Well, this is our last day of Tennis. We have decided to skip the Kiefer/Grosjean match. A wise idea since it was almost 5 hours on court and our seat face the sun for all 5 of those hours. We did make it to the stadium in time to see the end and watch Mauresmo dispatch Snyder in about 50 minutes. The Hingis /Clijsters match was a great....hard to know who to side with but I would have loved Martina to win.

Did not go the night match of Federer/Davydenko. I couldn't really think of any match less interesting [except perhaps Davydenko/Nalbandian]. I posted the tickets of Craigslist for free to the first person who emailed me that they wanted to go. Good Karma is a great thing....just ask Carson Daly.

We had dinner in a suburb of Melbourne called Prahran/South Yarra. Part if Prahran is gayish [although in an annoying NYC/LA kinda of way] and the other part of it is where the pretty young things hang out. Since it was the night before a holiday weekend, it was totally packed. The café we ate at was across the street from a club where the average age must have been 18 [shockingly enough, the drinking age here]. I never know you could fit so many children in a building. Quite the sight. Also, the main drag, called Chapel Street turns into a sort of American Graffiti meets 2005 cruising strip. Juiced up Hondas, restored Firebirds, trucks with flames painted on the sides and kids spilling out the back all pumping to someone's bad version of "Hollaback Girl" on cheap, overbassed car speakers. Rockin' Good Times.

Still managed to see part of the Federer match at the local pub on the way home. It's as if you cannot - no matter how hard you try- escape tennis. Every bar and restaurant, and I do mean every, has a plasma TV and on it, they show nothing but tennis. You can be walking down a street and poke your head in almost any establishment and ask what the score is or look at the telly. People ask each other if they are here for the tennis as often as they ask "How are you". The topic of almost every morning conversation is whether or not you saw the match or not.

And it is a great place to watch a match, either on court or in pub. At the pub, people are really into it and are able to intelligently converse about the point even if they are down 12 pints. At the grounds, the lawn is filled with people who want to party but really do care about what is going on up on the big screen. Except for the odd drunken group of Swedes, people go out of their way to make sure you are having a good time - moving their chairs or prams or blankets and offering you a place to sit on the grass to watch. In the stadium, things are similar. There were 2 little kids sitting behind us every Day match and unless they said "Good Day" to you [which they often did], you would hardly know they were there. They were so interested in what was going on they sat enrapt on every point. There were older kids in front of us who had every Grand Slam players draws and stats back to 2000 printed out so they could pick out similarities between match ups. We sat above where the players entered and exited, so after the games, people all wanted into that area to get autographs. It was all very orderly and people asked in a nice way if you would let them get in front of you. And of course you would. Who would deny a total Tommy Haas fan who had seats in the boonies but had managed to work his way down towards the front by asking security nicely and politely if he could get closer, the opportunity to have his German flag autographed. It was all about "mateness" and good friendly helping each other out. Try any of that at the US Open. Or any US event for that matter.

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