While Down Under, tennis players give Vegemite a try
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) For a little healthy fun off the courts, a group of players at the Australian Open took part in a Vegemite taste test.
For Australians, it is the country's signature spread, a beloved national snack typically slathered on toast. It is to Australians what peanut butter is to Americans, or Nutella to the French.
Australia's Sam Groth, one of a dozen players who joined a video challenge put online by the ATP, took one smell and licked his lips.
''My mouth starts watering. Is that normal?'' he said, devouring a piece of toast slathered with it. ''It's so good.''
For foreigners, the dark brown paste made of yeast extract tends to be an acquired taste.
Some of the European players hadn't heard of it, like France's Gilles Simon and Fabio Fognini of Italy, who thought it looked like an olive tapenade but pushed it away after taking a bite. ''Too much salt,'' he said.
American doubles duo Bob and Mike Bryan have an Australian coach and had seen him spread it on his toast in the morning.
''It kind of looks like mud,'' said Bob. Then he tried it.
''Give me some water,'' Bob said urgently, wincing and shaking his head. ''It's like putting a steak on bread.''
''Don't love it, no, don't love it,'' he said, as his brother, Mike, laughed but did not take a bite.
The ATP said it filmed the video before the tournament started as part of an effort to show players' personalities as they talked about subjects aside from tennis. It was put online this week.
Rising U.S. player Taylor Fritz approached it with a sense of adventure.
''Let's go for it,'' said the 18-year-old Fritz, whose tone changed when he looked at it. ''Oh geez. OK.''
After one small bite, his mind was made up.
''No more vegemite for the rest of my life,'' Fritz said, walking away.