By Zane W- Class 56A
If you’ve been watching the TV over the last few weeks, you might have seen that the Australian Open is all over the media. It is an event that people get very excited about, and some people even say that it is a place where you can make history. On the TV I had seen kids wearing HotShots shirts toss the coin at tennis matches, and I thought that they were just picked out of the crowd. However, that isn’t actually how they get picked…
It was Round One, on January 21st, and our family was driving to the arena to meet some other people from the Upwey South Tennis Club HotShots Program. I was really excited driving in because we were sitting in my family’s new seven-seater car.
When we go to the arena we were told that we were going to be able to have a hit on Rod Laver Arena before the tennis matches were starting. I couldn’t believe it! I thought the day couldn’t get any better…but I was about to find out that it could!
“Zane, it’s your lucky day!” my tennis coach said to me. He was smiling, because I had been nominated to do a coin toss at the Australian Open. I was excited but had no idea who was going to be playing in the match, or even any idea of what to expect.
After hearing the news from my tennis coach, I had so many mixed emotions. Some people said I might be doing the coin toss with Rafael Nadal, the NUMBER ONE male player in the world!! WHOA, WHOA, WHOA! But I couldn’t get my hopes up because things can change very quickly at the Australian Open.
I had to arrive one match before my allocated coin toss. Whilst I was waiting the time seemed to go slowly, even though there were so many exciting things to see. There were reporters and officials everywhere, and lots of entrances from the tunnels underneath the seating area. In the tunnels under the arena there were lots of triangle-shaped screens listing the names of previous champions. Even though there was so much to see, I tried to focus…so I stood patiently and waited to be called onto the centre court.
And then the big moment came.
I couldn’t believe I was actually doing the coin toss for Match 3 between Hugo Dellien (Bolivia- Rank 73) and Rafael Nadal (Spain- Rank 1).”
This is it, I can do this!! YES, YES, YES.
I think that my nerves must have been showing, because Dylan Alcott (Australia- World Ranking Number One) who is an inspirational wheelchair tennis champion helped me relax by chatting just like we were friends. He was very well mannered and respectful when talking to me. He asked me questions such as “What’s up, do you play tennis?” and he asked me other questions that I felt comfortable answering. Dylan was very thoughtful, and not at all arrogant. I couldn’t believe that a World Number One player could be so friendly, so I just had to ask him “Is it true that you are World Number One?” Dylan just smiled at me and said that it was true. I felt so happy.
When I was going through the tunnel to walk onto the court, I could hear the crowd buzzing and feel the excitement building. When I walked out of the tunnel onto the court, it felt like there was 20,000 pairs of eyes looking at me. The roar of the crowd was a great feeling, but also a little scary. In the tunnel I felt like I was floating.
When we got to the court, and I was standing next to Nadal, I felt like I knew the players personally… which is a bit weird because I didn’t actually know them, but I definitely felt like I knew them. Nadal even patted me on the back and gave me a thumbs-up!
After the huge build-up, the toss of the coin was actually really easy to do. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and I was really happy that I had the confidence to pose for photos with the players.
After the toss, Dylan Alcott smiled at me and said, “Dude, good coin toss!”