Roger Federer of Switzerland (right) is seen alongside a person dressed as Spiderman as he participates in the Rod Laver Arena Spectacular as part of Kids Tennis Day at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Saturday, January 13, 2018. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVINGYou know the n Open is in town when you see KIA cars zipping through the CBD ferrying players between hotels and Melbourne Park.
You know the n Open is in town when shop windows are filled with tennis balls in a nod to the grand slam of the Asia-Pacific.
But most of all, you know the n Open is in town when the world’s most family-friendly entourage rolls into Melbourne – that of 19-time grand slam winner Roger Federer and crew.
Their first appearance for the week came on Saturday at Rod Laver Arena at the Kids Tennis Spectacular.
The entourage – consisting of Roger’s wife Mirka, their two sets of twins (Myla Rose, Charlene Riva, Lenny and Leo), plus three nannies (we could see three but some say there are four) – were courtside to watch Roger be watched by 15,000 others.
Mirka stood throughout the event to take photos of her children, who like the others in the stadium were besotted with the light show and entertainment.
Federer was joined on court by women’s No.2 seed and former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, 12-time grand slam winner Novak Djokovic and 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic.
Federer is the n Open’s defending champion. He beat current world No.1 and 2018 n Open No.1 seed Rafael Nadal in 2017’s dream final.
The Swiss master is the No.2 seed for the 2018 event and is ranked No.2 in the world. He has won the n Open five times.
Nadal and Novak Djokovic – traditionally Federer’s two biggest grand slam rivals – are both returning to tennis from injury at the n Open. Nadal has been sidelined since November and Djokovic since July.
Given their fitness, or lack of, Federer could become the first player to 20 grand slams in the open era this month.
Before Federer, Wozniacki, Raonic and Djokovic emerged, the crowd of mostly children were whipped into a frenzy by n pop band Sheppard plus a pair of children’s entertainers.
Among other shouting and rabble rousing the entertainers started a Mexican wave that went around Rod Laver Arena 10 or 15 times.
Marvel super heroes hit the court too – Thor, Black Widow, Ant-Man and Spiderman. They were called out to scare off Loki (Thor’s nemesis) who threatened to stop the n Open from taking place. Luckily they did.
Then it was time for the real super heroes, with the loudest cheer coming for Federer, easily the most super of them all.
He played a short hit-to-hit with a lucky girl from the crowd. She used Wozniacki’s racquet and Federer actually returned one of her shots into the net. That kid won a point against the best tennis player of all-time.
Djokovic played his role as ‘the Djoker’ once the quartet began hitting balls together – it was Federer and Wozniacki vs Raonic and Djokivic.
The Serbian convinced Thor to grab Raonic’s racquet and have a hit and also began loudly grunting into his microphone during the friendly hit up.
Djokovic is known for impersonating other players on tour but only used the grunt on Saturday, which could have been a homage to any number of his fellow professionals. I don’t think that was the Hulk Smash they were looking for, @milosraonicpic.twitter老域名出售/cJ4OQQCqp6??? #AusOpen (@nOpen) January 13, 2018