Grand Slam Gal

Just before the Australian Open, a fellow blogger and friend of Ace of Baseline kindly set aside some time to talk to me about her own website and what she plans to achieve this year. Here is the story of Melinda Samson, aka Grand Slam Gal…

As the tennis world congregates to Melbourne Park for the first major of the year, one woman is about to embark on a journey she’s been preparing for her whole life.

Melinda Samson will be doing the tennis fan grand slam in 2012, the year of her 40th birthday, which involves attending all four Grand Slam tournaments in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York.

Tennis fans worldwide dream of such an experience but for Mel, it was always when and not if.

She said: “It was about 12 years ago when I thought, you know what, I love travelling and I love tennis so when I’m 40 I’ll go to all the tennis Grand Slam events. It was always a thing I was going to do.

“In the last five years I thought, what do I have to do between now and then to make it happen? So I’ve just been working on the plans to make sure it becomes a reality.”

Having been to 13 Australian Opens so far, those plans hopefully include getting tickets for Wimbledon and the French Open using her Aussie Open membership but she’s willing to make sacrifices in order to fulfil her destiny.

“We’ll get some tickets but it’s whether or not we’ll get to pay face value. We don’t want to have to pay a ridiculous amount but if we have to then so be it.”

In her day-to-day life, Mel is a self-employed search engine marketer, a career path she decided on in order to do the fan grand slam. Along the way she intends to blog her experiences under the pseudonym ‘Grand Slam Gal’.

She’ll be expressing her thoughts on matches, the culture of the cities and also giving useful advice and tips for attending the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon or US Open.

“I love tennis and I love blogging,” she said. “So I just thought how great it would be to put a blog together about something I’m passionate about.”

Mel previously lived in Traralgon before heading two hours down the road to study at Melbourne University. She’s been a resident of the host city ever since then, going to her first Aussie Open in 1989.

Accompanying her on the journey will be her partner Andrew, who’s own nickname is ‘Ball Boy’. With Andrew being from the UK, they’ll base themselves there between the French Open in May and Wimbledon in June.

They’ll then fly back to Victoria for a month’s stay before heading to the US Open in mid-August to complete their dream year.

Of the four majors, Mel and Andrew have attended over 20 events between them but have never been to Flushing Meadows. Despite looking forward to the sights and sounds of the Big Apple, Mel is still certain what her favourite slam is.

“I’d have to say the Australian Open and I think even when I’ve been to them all I’ll still say that. Obviously it’s in Melbourne, it’s my hometown and I’m so proud of what a great experience Tennis Australia and Melbourne puts on for everyone who goes.

“I’m looking forward to it the most. It’s where my heart is.”

You can follow Mel’s journey across the globe at www.grandslamgal.com or follow her on Twitter @GrandSlamGal.

Mel at the Australian Open

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