Australian Open: Feisty Women and Surging Men Capture The Spirit of Oz

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Australian Open: Feisty Women and Surging Men Capture The Spirit of Oz
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

What is it about the Australian Open? What makes it seem more colorful, more relaxed, more boisterous and—well—more full of surprises than your average Major?

Is it because it’s the youngest of the four?

Is it because it’s the only one in the southern hemisphere and in the huge Asia/Pacific zone?

Is it simply because it bursts open like the first daffodil on an early spring morning: the first Major blossoming of the tennis calendar?

Whatever the reason, there is something special about the joyous, uninhibited way that the Australian crowds embrace the spectacle and the energy, the underdog and the home favorite, the grafter and the gifted, the winner and the loser.

It’s the footloose and fancy-free Major, the let-your-hair-down Major, the high-spirited, generous hearted Major. It just seems grateful that the players have come, and what better welcome could any sporting performers hope for?

The fans are buoyed up by the spirit in Melbourne Park, and this slideshow features one on-the-spot contributor who enjoyed, in person, the performances of Andrea Petkovic and Francesca Schiavone on middle Sunday.

The players also talk of the warmth, the enthusiasm and the welcome of the crowds. Perhaps that’s why a few of them throw caution to the wind and give just as good in this rainbow-hued, humor-infused jamboree.

Take the first of a selection of players who headlined—both on and off court—during the Australian Open’s first week.

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