Australian Open 2014 - Day 1 to Day 7 [all photos taken by me (federerblog)]
In the middle of January 2013 I made the decision to attend the Australian Open for its full fortnight the following year. I am not sure what kind of mindset I was in when I decided that but it is now one year later and I am at the halfway point of living through it. The first thing I can tell you is that when you are here you learn a lot, I mean so much it almost smothers you. And it is not just learn about tennis you learn about, it’s life. We have all heard the comparison Agassi made, about how tennis is much like a miniature version of life, even down to its terminology. Well, I always thought I understood it, I mean there wasn’t that much to understand, but after this week for the first time actually truly appreciated it.
Being at a tournament gives you glimpses into the other world, the world of tennis, and it is those glimpses pieced together that tell a story. That story is of course the one of life on tour, one that, as a fan, I am incredibly grateful I have been able to see up close. And this may come as a bit of a shock but the player I have seen most this week is Roger Federer.
For the past 7 days I have had the absolute pleasure of seeing Federer in the flesh each day. That is no small thing for me, not even close. In fact, the week that has passed has kind of really seen all of my dreams realised. I have chatted with Federer, took photos with him, received his autograph on my Wimbledon 2013 champion jacket, talked to his coach, Severin Luthi (and had a photo with him), watched him practice with Stefan Edberg, and watched each of his matches in the tournament so far.
Each of those experiences have their own story to them, and I think I will slowly share each of them if anyone is interested to read them (please let me know), but right now I will start with the one that has been the most special for me so far.
Yesterday, I waited out the day at court 16 to see Federer practice. After a very smiley practice with Wawrinka and then a hit up with Edberg, Federer made his way over to fans to sign autographs. On the day I had a gift to give him, so as he walked over I handed it to him, told him it was for him, congratulated him on his 70th Australian Open victory the other day and then handed it to him. He then shook my hand told me ‘thank you’ and said I can have a photo with him. In the moment you try to keep as calm as possible, but as he continued making his way down the fence signing, what happened essentially hit me like a tonne of bricks.
You can’t dream that kind of thing up, and after you live it, it is next to impossible to come back down to earth. And that was just the first week, I have 7 more days to go.
2013 Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli fills in for Novak Djokovic at the BNP Paribas Showdown exhibition match against Andy Murray in New York. The reigning Wimbledon champions play a couple of points together.