Tennis and foodies unite

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Event organisers have found a way to combine Melbourne’s loved of food and sport this tennis season.

With the Kooyong Classic taking the stage this week and the Australian Open beginning January 18, Melbourne is alive with tennis fever. Even those not so savvy with the sport are feeling the heat and getting involved, brushing up on their lingo and making up their minds on whether or not they like Nick Kyrgios.

In 2016, event organisers have made it much easier for those who aren’t too familiar with the game to get amongst it, with the addition of the Australian Open Festival.

The free festival will open January 18 and run for the duration of the Grand Slam. Held in Birrarung Marr, it will feature all your Melbourne foodie favourites, with stalls from Mamasita, Gazi, Uncle, Huxtaburger, and Gelato Messina.

Tennis Australia’s Commercial Director Richard Heaselgrave said the new festival would help bring the tournament even closer to the heart of Melbourne.

“Working with some of the biggest names in the Melbourne dining scene, we’re giving tennis fans and foodies even more of what they want from a major global sporting event,” he said.

After sampling one of everything from the smorgasbord of culinary delights, you can whet your whistle at the Canadian Club Racquet Club, or the Heineken and Jacob’s Creek Bar.

Tennis Australia is calling it a family friendly event, with ballboy challenges on offer and kid-friendly courts available for play. There will also be a big screen for those that don’t want to miss the action as they tuck into some tennis themed treats, like Messina’s “Australian Open Gelato” which is yet to be revealed.

The Australian Open isn’t the only event uniting foodies and tennis fanatics, with this week’s Kooyong Classic opening its Common area with some of the city’s favourite food trucks.

For the first time ever, Kooyong will offer free entry after 3pm for punters to come in, catch the end of the day’s match on a big screen, and grab a bite from Soul Kitchen Pizza, Sliders on Tyres, White Guy Cooks Thai, Crepes n Coffee or Nandos.

There will also be Pimms and champagne tents on offer for those that need a drink after work, as well as live entertainment each night of the tournament which runs from January 12-15.

The lawn area nearby will also feature a lawn bowls rink, and a big screen to keep up with all the action.

The marriage of food and sport in Melbourne is a great initiative, and something we hope to see more of as we sink our teeth into 2016. Perhaps the footy season will have more than meat pies on offer this year? Only time will tell.

Find out more about the Kooyong Common.

Find out more about the Australian Open Festival.

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