A little like the story of a cup of coffee and the Grand Slam. By conquering the Australian Open, Lavazza became the official coffee of all four of the circuit’s tournaments.
We’re talking about the meeting of two quintessential century-old traditions. In actual fact, although the circuit’s first tournament took place in 1877 in Wimbledon, coffee dates as far back as the beginning of the XV century, amidst myths and legends: a veritable journey through time.
An echo reverberating with stories, traditions and mysterious legends can be heard from the savannahs of Africa and they still “bounce” today, just like a tennis ball, on the courts of Wimbledon, the US Open, Roland Garros and, finally, the Australian Open: the tournament that died and was resuscitated as many as three times.
It took centuries before places for coffee consumption became a crossroads for culture, fashion and ideas throughout the world. And this is the same long road that the Melbourne tournament travelled during its history and that led it to become part of the Grand Slam circuit.
In fact, the first inaugural match dates back to 1905. A competition between solely Australian tennis players, due to the long journey time, about 45 days, between Europe and the land of kangaroos.
The same saga for the type of surface used. In fact, up to 1988, the playing surface was still grass.
But Melbourne had to beat Wimbledon!
And so towards the end of the Eighties grass was replaced with an innovative synthetic surface which helped give the Australian Open the “title” of the circuit’s most advanced tournament.
Life’s pleasures are even finer when they are shared.
Just like a cup of coffee, which is now the perfect symbol of social interaction and togetherness: a ritual also repeated amongst the spectators at the Australian Open, the place where stories of its heroes can be admired, sipping an authentic Italian espresso.
Like the story of the champion Roger Federer who, in 2006, burst into tears when he won his second title in Melbourne, right in front of the legendary Rod Laver who crowned him by saying: “This trophy couldn’t be in better hands.”
Again tears of love and devotion were shed by Pete Sampras during the final exchanges of the 1995 final. In fact, the emotion caused by his coach’s illness got the better of the champion.
But the Australian Open is not just made up of stories with a happy ending. It was 1990 when John McEnroe, after three infractions, heard the umpire say the words: “Default, Mr McEnroe. Game, set and match” being unaware that the new ceiling for infractions had actually gone down to three.
The most entertaining prize must instead go to Jim Courier— the winner in 1992 — who, after beating Edberg, kept his promise to his coach by diving into the Yarra river in front of the TV cameras and the incredulous and greatly amused journalists.
A small misfortune, however, befell Thanasi Kokkinakis, a young Australian tennis player and Lavazza ambassador, who has had to postpone his return to the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne until 2017 due to a shoulder operation. We’re sure that the public at the Australian Open will welcome with open arms one of its most promising young players in 2017.
So many stories still remain to be told. So many, as many as the blends and types of coffee existing worldwide. Talking of which, wouldn’t it be nice now to treat yourself to a break with a cup of your favourite blend?