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.
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.
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?