THE Australian Open is a family affair for Jim Courier. Every January the tennis great travels from Florida with wife Susanna and young son Kellan, and this year mum Linda is making the trip as well.
Courier will be behind the microphone for Channel 7 but everyone else will be lapping up the best Melbourne has to offer.
“I will have my full family with me this year,” Courier, 47, says. “My mum has never been to Australia so she is going to be making her first trip. She is very excited about it.
“When I was playing (tennis professionally) she was raising my brother (Kris) who is 11 years younger than me so she was never able to make it.
“We love coming down here. My wife and kid will definitely get out and see the zoo and get to the beach and the parks.
“They’ll come over to the tennis from time to time to visit me at work but my mum’s going all-round the country and see as much as she can while she’s here.
“Linda is where I get my intensity from. If you see someone very purposefully (walking) the street (during the Australian Open) that will be my mum.”
Courier knows that it will be hard to beat last year’s Australian Open for fairy tale finishes.
Serena Williams beat sister Venus to win the women’s crown — her 23rd Grand Slam title. The men’s final, between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, was one of the year’s highest rating TV events with 3.6 million viewers nationally. This year sees a lot of big names under a cloud. Williams is already a non-starter after giving birth to daughter Alexis and marrying Reddit co-founder Alexis O’Hanian. Victoria Azarenka is also out.
Andy Murray has been plagued by hip problems and has also pulled out, as has Kei Nishikori with a wrist injury. Nadal (knee), Novak Djokovic (elbow), Stan Wawrinka (knee) and Milos Raonic (calf) have also had injury woes. “If Serena had returned it would have been an incredible story,” Courier says.