THIS week’s column was going to be about my experience at the Australian Open.
However, as Friday was the only day I was free to go down — and that day ended up windy, humid and washed out for the morning at least — my trip to the Open was cancelled for this year.
I could have made the five hour round trip to Melbourne in the chance of getting a seat in Hisense Arena (the only outside court with a roof) to watch Andy Murray and Bernard Tomic play.
But neither player was too high up on my list of people I wanted to see.
Something about the way Murray acts on and off the court just irritates me and Tomic is frustrating to watch at the best of times.
It was also possible to wait around for the other games to resume outside, although sitting out in the wind and rain is another thing I try to avoid.
Don’t get me wrong, I love tennis and love watching it being played — especially at the best level there is.
So as I retired to the couch for my day off I still got to enjoy all the tennis action and even witness a few matches I wouldn’t have seen had I been in Hisense.
Such as the invigorating battle between Roger Federer and Thomas Berdych which saw a revitalisation of the legend himself following a less than spectacular performance in the previous round.
And I have enjoyed my share of trips to the Open on and off over the years.
In 2016 I managed to score free ground pass tickets during the first week of the grand slam.
I spent the entire day sweating into a hard, plastic seat at Hisense as the sun beat down on me in order to get the best location to watch Nick Kyrgios play (something I probably also wouldn’t intend on doing now).
I remember asking my friend to save my seat while I wandered around the stadium in search of some reprieve from the heat.
On the way back I ended up sitting in the aisle on the stairs under a small patch of shade only to then be asked politely by one of the stewards to please find my seat or exit the stadium as it wasn’t okay (as it turned out) to sit in the aisle.
So I begrudgingly went back to my seat and continued to melt as the games went on in front of me, but it wasn’t all bad.
In the lead up to the big match I witnessed a brilliant women’s singles between two incredibly heavy hitters and then got to be blown away by the power and athleticism of Czech Republic’s Berdych.
Our seats were the closest you could get to the court and adjacent the base-line which meant I could almost feel the rush of wind off Berdych’s racquet as it pounded into the small, yellow tennis ball and sent it barrelling down the court into the opposing service box.
As relaxing as it can be watching the small screen from the comfort of your own lounge room nothing outweighs the excitement of seeing a high quality tennis match unfold before you.
You get to avoid the constant opinions of commentators and the ads at every change of ends.
It’s more difficult to move about in the area and there’s always that one child screaming in the background — but to witness a more than 200km/h serve right before your eyes is truly incredible.
And the Kyrgios game that night was actually better than I expected.
Both players fought hard, the entire stadium erupted with every shot and the spectators rallied behind the Australian as he made his way into the next round.
So this year’s Open plans may not have worked out, for myself or my tip for the 2017 title in Kei Nishikori who bombed out to Federer on Sunday night, but there’s always next year.