Thursday, January 23, 2014
Today is the first day of the tournament. It takes place in Albert Reserve Park. All play will take place here until the finals, which will be played in Melbourne Park. A little history on the tournament. Tennis Australia is the organization that oversees sporting events in Australia. This includes the Australian Open. Within the Open there are several tournaments. The Grand Slam event, the juniors, wheelchair and Australian Championships. The latter is what our team is in. The tournament began small and has steadily grown with more international players each year. The top or elite players (their words) play a round robin format with the finals being played in Melbourne Park. As former tennis great Wally Masur said, "It is only a matter of time before you will be playing your entire tournament in Melbourne Park." Albert Reserve was the starting point for wheelchair tennis for the AO. Team USA looked great and we were ready to play! Singles were played first, then doubles. This round everyone plays 1 set with a 7 point tie break at 6 all. Katherine played the #1 seed first. Kelly Wren has won this tournament since it's inception in 1998!! She is a wonderful player and Katherine did manage to get one game off her. Then Katherine's second match was the #3 seed........4/6. Both were tough opponents to have on the first day, but as everyone began to settle down the afternoon was much better for Team USA. Katherine and Brittany won their doubles and so did the boys. Our new favorite place to eat is right across the street. It has really good food and the owner is very nice and seems thrilled to have us there. It was the place to be after the first day of competition. If you are wondering if we tried Kangaroo, we did. No it doesn't taste like chicken. It taste a lot like beef cooked medium rare. We sat with a group of Aussie's and they wanted to know all about jerky. They don't have it here and they are just dying to try it. Luckily, I brought some!