Behind the scenes of the 2018 Australian Open with Edward Russell
Game, set, match
If there's one thing I learnt from covering last year's Australian Open, it's that you can never pack too many clothes. Melbourne's weather is notoriously fickle, and hence you need to be prepared and equipped for whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at you on any given day. Unfortunately, this year that meant that suitcase space was at a premium and only the essentials would be able to make the trip. One such item that stayed at home this year was my DSLR, as not only is it heavy, but I found it way too cumbersome to be running around from one court to the next with in 40 degree Celsius heat.
However, those that know me know that I love to document everything I do and see when onsite, so with that in mind I decided to put my iPhone X's photo taking capabilities to the test. Here are the results.
Being a part of the media allows us unprecedented access at Melbourne Park to all the behind the scenes player areas — yet there are few places I would rather be than on the sidelines of the practice courts, watching the best in the world get put through their paces. If it's not already obvious from this article, I could watch Federer hit backhands all day, but it's hard to put into words just how much strength, poise yet also elegance goes into every one of his shots. Hopefully this slo-mo video will give you some idea. P.S. Watch it on loop, it's incredibly soothing.
There aren't many better sights in world tennis than Rod Laver Arena under the lights, especially when there's a light show complete with lasers, holograms and stirring music to kick off the showpiece night session. The image behind depicted the final that everyone wanted to see — Roger vs Rafa. Whilst unfortunately that ultimately didn't transpire, at least this photo managed to turn out well, thanks to the iPhone X's low light capabilities.
The great man himself standing outside the arena that bears his name. Rod Laver proving that even inanimate objects can look just as good in Portrait mode.
It might sound surprising, but once the tennis ends and the thousands of fans have made their way home for the day, Melbourne Park can actually be rather peaceful. Dusk is the perfect time to bask in the tranquility of the courts once play has finished, take advantage of the cooler weather, and some setting sun photo opps as well.
Once in a while when I'm not doing live crosses to the studio, filming features, or interviewing players, I can just about squeeze in some time to watch some tennis. This shot is from the men's quarterfinal match on Rod Laver Arena with Grigor Dimitrov about to unleash his serve with full force. With the media seats not being too near the front, I had to shoot this photo using zoom and also in some pretty stark lighting conditions, thus I was worried it wouldn't turn out very well. Suffice to say I had nothing to worry about, and this has become one of my favourite shots from the tournament.
And with that it's a wrap from Melbourne Park from myself and Fox Sports pundit (and former world number 5) Daniela Hantuchova! This was shot on Portrait mode, but what I love about this photo is that the Melbourne skyline and the famous blue courts still manage to loom large behind us — a fitting tribute to what these past couple of weeks have been all about.
Edward Russell (@edrussell) is a full-time presenter on Fox Sports. Fox Sports is not only the exclusive broadcaster of the Australian Open within Asia, but it is also home to all four tennis Grand Slams. The French Open is next up in May, check Fox Sports Asia for all the details.