February 27, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

MELBOURNE, Australia – The longstanding bonus of having the top players practicing on courts between Rod Laver Arena and John Cain – they had been No. 15-16-17 was demolished along with those courts a few years ago, to make way for Kia Arena.

But a small new tradition seems born this year, as some of the best players have been scheduled to practice on one of the few remaining courts in that back section, a “new” Court 16.

If you go to the back of Kia Arena, you can see the court from above just was once the case when there was a high walkway looming over the “stars’ ” practice courts.

And so it was that Novak Djokovic was there Monday afternoon, ahead of his Tuesday quarterfinal clash with Taylor Fritz in the Australian Open quarterfinals.

Djokovic certainly doesn’t seem 100 per cent yet, as there’s been a cold or virus dragging him a little through the first 10 days of the tournament.

He’s still carrying tissues in his pocket, and was using them at times during a practice that attracted a pretty large crowd.

(They even let this interloper in. No trolling or Grand Slam title count recaps or … anything!)

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