On Saturday, Justine, Juliette, Dad, and I hopped onto the train and headed into Melbourne to watch the 2017 Australian Open.
First, we watched the wheelchair finals between Argentina and France. It was amazing to see how they moved their chairs to the ball. When we first heard about wheelchair tennis, we thought that maybe the wheelchairs would be a one handed turn so that they could hold the tennis racket in their other hand, however they had to turn the wheels with both hands in order to move their chairs, get their bodies to the ball, and hit it back over the net.
Then we went to the girls finals where we watched an 18 year old girl from Switzerland and a 14 year old girl from Ukraine play. They hit serves that flew as fast as 114 mph, and played out several engaging rallies. Taking into consideration that I play tennis for about two hours a day, five days a week for less than three months out of the year, and have been on the junior varsity tennis team for two years in a row (there is no C-team at Principia), I think it's safe to conclude that to be ranked nationally at the Australian Open at the age of 14 probably would require a lot more work then just a few hours of after-school tennis practice. They probably have been homeschooled from a young age, and all they do is live and breath tennis. When Juliette and I realized that the girl who won the girls finals was 14, we looked back on our life successes at the age of 14 and realized that we didn't quite compare to this Ukrainian tennis player.
We were told that we could find Serena and Venus warming up for their big match on some courts a little distance away. We found the courts and waited for about half an hour in a group of people packed around the courts.
Finally, Serena and Venus came out half an hour later. We watched them warm up their serves, volleys, forehands, backhands, and lobs. Jokingly, I reached my hand a little over the fence and pretended to grab one of the balls that Serena had just served. Justine laughed and said "I wish". I guess Serena's trainer saw me, and he said "do you want one?" I nodded excitedly, as I was a little in shock that I was talking to Serena William's trainer and couldn't quite get any words out. He hit me the ball with his racket, and now I have a ball that Serena played with during her warm up before she made history.
After an exciting viewing of Serena and Venus warming up, the four of us grabbed dinner and some coke slushies, and took a few pictures before we headed into the arena to watch the big final match between Serena and Venus. It was a close first set, and Serena and Venus both fought hard for their points. After one frustrating drop shot hit by Venus, Serena hit her racket hard to the ground in anger, which caused her racket frame to break in half. The match went for about an hour and a half, but it felt much shorter. When Serena hit her winning shot she fell down to the ground. It was her 23rd grand slam win, which meant that she had broken the record for most grand slam wins in history. She and Venus embraced each other, and both gave gratitude for each other and for God in their speeches. It was so amazing to watch Serena play her sister in the Australian Open the night she made history by breaking the Grand Slam record.