Greetings from Melbourne where I am pulling double duty as a commentator for Australia’s 7 Network as well as following the American players in my role as Davis Cup Captain. Starting the year in the Aussie summer with long, warm days is what I have been lucky enough to do for most of the last 25 years as a player and commentator.
So far it’s been a relatively mild event as far as extreme weather and memorable matches. We’re in the quarterfinals now and the only men’s matches that stick out are the Wawrinka/Djokovic epic and the Almagro/Ferrer comeback. Otherwise the top dogs have been cruising through as they usually do in these events nowadays. I’m looking forward to seeing Sloane Stephens play Serena Williams today. Sloane has a great smile and is a terrific player on her way up the rankings and Serena is simply Serena…awesome.
Many of my buddies from my playing days on the ATP Tour are here: Goran Ivanisevic, Pat Rafter, Pat Cash and many more of the guys are here playing in the Legends doubles event that takes place in the second week of the tournament. I have been hitting a few balls on the indoor courts when I’ve gotten the time with another tour buddy, Justin Gimelstob, who is here doing TV for the Tennis Channel. Have to stay sharp.
I don’t get a chance to get away much from the courts as I’m working late most nights on TV but I did manage to get away to see The Killers in concert in Melbourne with fellow music aficionado, ESPN’s Chris Fowler, the other night. Melbourne is a fantastic city with a lot of great restaurants and a tremendous lifestyle so it’s nice to be able to sample it from time to time. The food in particular has really improved over the years.
From here I will travel directly to Jacksonville for the Davis Cup Team’s first round match vs Brazil. Should be a good one. The Bryan’s are still here in Melbourne in search of another AO title and will be with us in Jax as well. Hopefully they can take the title and cruise on into D Cup with a lot of confidence.
Off to the courts. I’m calling the Federer-Tsonga match tonight. Hope it’s an epic.