Melbournians have long made public their love affair with rooftops and things that are a wee bit different. With this in mind, Nike and Melbourne Central have joined forces this Australian Open summer series to bring the good summer loving people of Melbourne, the Melbourne Central Rooftop Tennis Club.
Setting up shop in Melbourne Central’s as yet, never-open-to-the-public rooftop area, the Rooftop Tennis Club is a space allowing tennis fans a unique venue away from Melbourne Park to enjoy the sport. Right in the heart of the CBD, Melbourne Central have created a concrete jungle, with artificial grass underfoot and skyscrapers bearing down overhead, which endeavors to be both interactive and relaxing.
As soon as you enter the area, you’ll find a large Nike display exhibiting some of the key looks of Nike’s sponsored tennis stars, all of which are available for purchase in the Centre’s Nike store. Venture further in, and you’ll find a couple of delicious food stalls: Phil and Andrea’s Handmade Ice Pops – with flavours like strawberries and cream, mango lime, and watermelon – and Corn Boss – who offer small bar bites like corn fritter sliders ($4), pulled pork taco ($5) and, my favourite, the Reuben champ (shaved pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, pickle and Mary Rose sauce in a small bun, $4).
Other features include the Nike ‘Just Do It’ chalkboard, where you can share your thoughts on how you’re going to ‘just do it’ in 2014. And of course, the piece de resistance is a ¾ size tennis court, which sits smack bam in the middle of the rooftop…it’s a bit of fun for those who want to have a hit without taking themselves too seriously. It should go without saying, but there are also three big screen TV’s set up to broadcast the tennis in all its meticulously commentated glory all day.
Operating from 11am-7.30pm for the duration of the two-week Open, capacity is strictly set at 200 people. If you do make it along, we urge you to remember your hat and sunscreen. This Australian Open series is meant to get ridiculously hot, and while water is freely supplied and air misters on hand, shade is limited. Alas, heat stroke is the one downside to Melbourne’s burgeoning and shameless rooftop tryst.