miri in Miami: days 1 & 2

Whew. Can I just say I’m not sure I’m cut out for this stuff? I’m sunburned (despite having gone through 2 tubes of sunscreen – I need to talk to Murray about what he uses) and tired of being hot and sweaty. Oh. Does it sound like I’m complaining? Well, I am, but I’m still having fun. Some sample pictures first so that you can see them quickly and then skip all my ramblings below. I don’t have good photo editing software on my laptop, so these aren’t cleaned up. The Rafa ones will take serious cleaning because I had to shoot them at 3200ISO and they are grainy as hell. Sorry! Eventually, oodles and oodles more will be posted on flickr.

Day One

I considered day one to be orientation day. I only had a partial day and I’d never been to a tennis tournament before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I get there and spend forever getting my tickets from will-call. (My tickets, not someone else’s, mind you.) I then see that Murray’s down a set on the stadium court – which I don’t have tickets too. Wait, maybe I do want that other fellow’s tickets.

I ended up watching the last set or so of the Ferrer/Isner match despite my well-documented fear of the freaky tall guys. It was a good match even if I felt I was jinxing Ferrer for awhile. After the match he did the traditional “lob balls into the crowd” thing and one went flying way up above me. No one could quite seem to catch it, however. They played hot potato with it and it ended up bouncing off my back and under the bleachers. This was ball incident #1.

Next on the court was Wawrinka/Seppi so I decided to stick around for that. After half the set, I realized it had been over 10 hours since I had breakfast, so I thought I should go get some lunch. Then a lot more wandering – watched Nestor/Zimonjic practice for a bit. Nestor didn’t seem to be a happy camper.

Next up, I got into the Gonzalez/Kunitsyn match. I somehow ended up surrounded by drunken Chileans who were sharing pictures of their kids with each other via cell phone. It was cracking me up. I knew Gonzalez has a lethal forehand and have seen it many times on TV, but I was totally unprepared when I saw it in person the first time. I think I wet myself a little. It was an okay match, not too exciting, but still fun.

And then…Rafa time! Sadly, Rafa time was at night and the lighting? Not to my liking. It should be a crime to make Rafa look green! He gave the mascots a lovely smile when he came out for the coin toss – most sweet. He was playing a Russian I’d never heard of (Gabashvili) and, while the match wasn’t close, Gabashvili got off more than a few shots that made Rafa look pouty. Rafa got grumpy a few times and this let me finally figure out where his posse’s box was since he kept looking at them. You know what that means, right? Marc!

I enjoyed the match but admit to being so busy trying to take photos that I didn’t get a good feel for it. So what, that’s what my DVR is for. I can watch that any time, I won’t have a lot of times to combine 2 obsessions: photography and Rafa.

I loved how at the end of the match, when he shoots the balls up into the crowd, he watches the ball smiling the whole time until someone catches it and he sees it’s caught. I’ve kind of noticed it before, but it was really apparent last night as he shot one ball VERY high and it took it forever to come down. He just stood there watching it with a big smile in his face like a kid with his favorite toy. Freaking adorable.

After the match, there wasn’t much else going on tennis-wise that I was interested in. I walked around outside and saw Miguel Angel and Papa Nadal sitting near the locker room door at the stadium. So, I stayed and watched long enough to see some dazzling Miquel Angel smiles (and see him smoke a cigarette – boo!) before going back to my hotel.

Day two
There wasn’t a lot in this half of the draw that interested me, so I decided today was practice court day. I started off with watching Murray practice. How can he spend so much time outside without a shirt on and still be almost as pale as I am? I must find out what kind of sunscreen he uses. At one point, he hit a ball into the net and yelled, “What was that shit!”

Next, I wanted to see the doubles doubles match between Nestor/Zimonjic and Ferrer/Alamagro. Handily, it was just a court away and was a very fun match (yay, doubles!) and Ferrer/Alamagro won in straights. It was Zimonjic’s turn to be frustrated and he got a code violation for sending a ball WAY out of the court and onto a neighboring one during a match. Later in the same game, he slammed his racket down, but no further violations. (We could also hear a few loud “Fucks” come from Murray on the practice court – he practiced quite a long time.)

Then, I just kind of hung around the practice courts for hours waiting for a certain someone to show. He didn’t, but I did get to see Tipsarevic and Troiki having a hit. Tipsy had bunched his shorts up so that it looked like he had on diapers. Later, he was delighted (and Troiki amused) that he could put a tennis ball in the leg of the shorts (ala the way women do in the skirts) for his second serve. They practiced for quite a while. Half watched Del Potro lumber around the court for a casual 20 minutes and then call it a day. Saw Wawrinka hit with Phau and then started getting bored of the practice courts.

Went and caught a bit of Simon/Schuettler because I couldn’t get into the Safin/Monfils match, but that wasn’t too interesting because Simon was rolling…so, back to the line for Safin/Monfils. I’m so glad I did. They were in the third set of a tight match. The stadium was packed and I had to stand in line quite a while to get in. Luckily, part of that time (at least two change-overs) I was on the stairs that were high enough to see the match. Oh, oh, Safin. It was yours, you let it go. They are both such drama queens and they were milking as much drama out of the match as they could.

I wanted to stay for the Djokovic match because I have a friend who really likes him and wanted some pictures. It was already past time for that to start, however, and we still had Tsonga and Kendrick to get through. I was tired, sunburned and dehydrated (despite the 5 liters of water and 2 sodas I’d drunk)…so I left. Sorry, Jer – no photos for you!

Tomorrow? Two Rafa matches in one day! One Spaniard after another on the grandstand court! Will I survive?

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17 Responses

  1. rez says:

    Does Rafa know about this web site?

  2. CC says:

    Miri, already the photos look fantastic!!! Thank you sooo much… And I love your report from the site.
    Don’t worry, your sunburn will soon develop into a beautiful, mocha coloured tan… (-;

  3. Denizen says:

    rez, I’m sure you’re aware that this is an unofficial blog.

    miri, great day, great pictures! The one of Wawrinka midair is amazing. And watching Gonzo practice forehands was a big highlight of my trip to Cincy last year. Even on TV watching his FH is therapeutic. I’m glad you got to see that in person.

    Your comment on Miguel Angel smoking amused me. Carlos Costa, ex-pro himself, smokes. So does Francisco Roig. Seems to be the thing to do in Spain, whether or not you’re an athlete.

    Thanks for the cussing alert re Murray. I love Murray, but wish he’d find an alternate form of self-expression.

    Tipsy’s shorts? No words. :P

    • rez says:

      Thanks Denizen, I wish he knew about this blog:) I really enjoy reading the the news posted here. Also, thanks miri for telling us about your experience there; It is really invaluable.

  4. rebel naughty says:

    miri, I’m new here but I’ve been reading this for awhile. Thanks for all the news. This is like gold.

  5. sheisblessed says:

    Thanks for keeping us updated Miri. Keep it coming.

    I was watching a clip on youtube of one of Rafa’s practices. He slammed his racquet down in frustration, never seen him do that before, he has looked grumpy of late.

  6. nereis says:

    Thanks for your report and the pics :D Wow and you get see Rafa again today, i’ so jealous!!

    Ps: Tipsarevic is *really* disturbing xD

  7. nic says:

    I love being able to hear your escapades in Miami Miri! Thanks for keeping us posted, I am soooo jealous, wish I was there. Could you be any luckier catching Rafa twice on Monday!!! Great pics btw, I think you did much better with the horrible light than some of the pro shots. Sigh, isn’t Rafa’s new outfit just gorgeous. How does it look from up close? I really like the colours and how they match his skin tone so well *flutter* I’m glad he’s got this new look after the last one in Miami and Rotterdam, did not like that blue at all! But then again, does Rafa ever look bad in anything he wears???? No.

  8. Denizen says:

    sheisblessed, could you post a link to the practice video? I haven’t been able to track it down. Thanks!

    • nic says:

      here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyLXxDeM8tA

      yeah pretty unusual to see him hurt the racquet, but haha i couldn’t stop laughing when it looked like he eased off just before he hit it. even when he’s angry he still can’t let it all out cos he’s been taught not to take it out on the racquet. aaawww rafa….

      • miri says:

        Thanks for the link. And yeah, not often you see him do that – or bash his forehead with the face of his racket like he did tonight during the doubles. Bash might be too strong of a word, but it was definitely more than a little tap.

        And…in that video he was on one of the courts I was stalking yesterday. I’m so bad at that kind of stuff. I never guess right. I’m glad I just decided to forget that and enjoy matches today.

  9. miri says:

    rez – I doubt it. I’m sure he has far too much to do in his day to leave time to seek out fan sites – if he even cared to.

    CC – me? With a mocha tan? Ha!! I’ll be pasty white again in a few days, but still feel like I have a sunburn. Already, the sunburn is half as bad looking as yesterday, but still feels the same.

    Denizen – I wasn’t surprised to see him smoking. It’s exceedingly common in his age group (which is mine too, by the way too). I just felt sad – probably the same way people feel when they see someone my size eating chocolate and fried food.

    rebel naughty – glad you are enjoying!

    sheisblessed – he practiced without me being there to photograph it? The bastard! ;) I’m about to leave for the site today since I figure he’ll be practicing early given his match schedule today. I hope I can catch at least a bit of a practice. My seats for his singles match aren’t great. :(

    nereis – Rafa again and again today! And, to make things even better, the weather forecast is for cooler temps today. That makes me happy. And Idon’t blame Tipsy for the shorts. It was so humid and hot. I bet he just wanted as much skin available to pick up the cooling breeze as possible.

    nic – I thought the colors in outfit look much better in person than on TV, but then again, I liked the blue so my judgment might not be the same as yours. And I haven’t seen him from up close – just my zoom lens has. ;)

  10. Diane says:

    About the alleged graininess of the photos, well, I think the famous a** looks just fine, thank you very much.
    And Tipsy’s shorts, well, there are no words. I don’t mind Andy’s language. It makes him more human, at least to me.

    • miri says:

      Well, you are seeing them at 1/3 of their original size. That helps with the graininess a bit and is partly why I posted the small versions.

      And I don’t mind the swearing either. I cuss like a sailor myself.

  11. freakyfrites says:

    Looking good, Miri!

  12. Hecto says:

    Janko Tipsarevic… wow… he should just practice in speedos or go au naturale next time if he’s getting that hot.

  13. miri says:

    I’m about to go to bed (since it’s almost 1am!), but hopefully the flickr uploader will finish uploading my first day’s pictures without burping like it did earlier this evening. They are in the Sony Ericsson Open set. I had two choices with the grainy night-match photos – keep the grain or go with plasticy smooth Rafa….I chose plastic. Stupid night match lighting…

    Oh, and you think that’s a lot of photos…that’s whittled down from the 922 I took that day. !

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