Wednesday, 5 March 2014

#AusOpen2014 by Jess Ivers

The Australian Open is a little bit like a roller-coaster ride. You buckle up and climb steadily as the anticipation grows. Then you reach the top, there’s a moment where you hold your breath before dropping down with no control over what is about to happen next. Then before you know it, it’s all over. And you let out one big sigh, look at the person beside you and smile. Working at the Australian Open is an experience like no other. I thought I’d seen it all working in NRL but this is a whole new ball game (literally). There’s months of planning that goes into a two week event. For those of you who might be wondering, there’s plenty that goes on during the year in preparation for the next tournament. The 2014 tournament was my second Australian Open working in our social media team. It is super hard work but so rewarding and bucket loads of fun. In the lead up to the AO, I ran the social media accounts for the Brisbane International, a week long event held at Pat Rafter Arena. To say this was good preparation for the summer of tennis is an understatement! And what an exciting week it was. Roger Federer played for the very first time in Brisbane, bringing a whole new experience to the event. His popularity showed with record crowds attending the tournament. In the lead up to the tournament, Roger’s Twitter account had reached over one million fans and his engagement with the Brisbane International account was well received by yours truly. Running on little sleep & full of adrenaline, it was back to Melbourne to prepare for that other little tennis tournament… It all honestly seems like such a blur now. Remembering day one takes more effort than I’d like to admit. But even before day one hits, there’s practice sessions, pre-tournament interviews, Kids Tennis Day…and this year a special Roger Federer charity night held for the first time at Rod Laver Arena. My role during the tournament is to assist with looking after the Australian Open social media accounts and to gather exclusive content for our fans. This is probably the best part of all which includes heading to press conferences, photo shoots and other opportunities all on a quest to let each and every one of our fans know what their favourite player is up to. A new addition this year was the Social Shack – an initiative by my colleague Daniel Lattimer which provided a physical space for fans to interact with us on social media. There were player appearances, giveaways, social leaderboards for fans to let us know who they were cheering for, and the best part of all – the giant #ausopen hashtag which sat out the front of the shack. Hundreds of photos were shared with it and it was great to see something that is only used online, come to life in a physical space. Some of my personal highlights from the tournament include the R4 match between Ana Ivanovic & Serena Williams. Our social media channels exploded. The match winning tweet drew 3246 retweets from the official @AustralianOpen account. This might just sound like a boring number but to us it’s a great sign of how our audience has grown and how they interact with us. (Can read more on the tweets that day HERE Another highlight is shadowing the players post-title win. Being allowed access to their media interviews and seeing the players’ faces when they get to greet the fans out in Garden Square just moments after they’ve walked off court is a huge privilege and something that is so unique and special to be able to share with our online community. But again, it all seems like just a blur. The crazy days, long nights & constant worry my iPhone is going to run out of battery is all behind me for another year. In the meantime, here some of my favourite moments from 2014 that we shared on our platforms.

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