Kefuoe in Miami

I met Kefuoe in Miami and asked her if she was interested in writing up her thoughts on her experience at the tournament. She agreed and also shared her photos. You can see the rest of her photos here. Thanks for sharing, Kefuoe!

Attending the SEO reminded me of going to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival—it can really be overwhelming because there’s so much to see all at the same time. Even if you are diligent and make a schedule for yourself each day, when you get to the site, you can find your plans easily derailed by new opportunities, hunger, laziness or a long line for the bathroom. Since I wanted to see great tennis and get some great photos, I felt a little distracted at times by how to maximize both, but it was enjoyable nevertheless.

I’m not sure I have too much more to say about the matches I saw that hasn’t already been said, but here are a few observations that I made from around the grounds:

Gael Monfils moves like he could play any sport under the sun. Watching him practice, though, the thing I noticed most was his self-consciousness. He seemed to be performing the whole time I watched. I think it’s just his nature. Sometimes I get a little annoyed by his dramatics during matches, but he does put on a show.

During matches on television, David Ferrer always looks so intense, intensely miserable, even. In person, he did look intense and anxious, but often masterful and in charge (at times). I became a bigger fan of his game when I saw him play Cilic. Also, I have to say, I’d always thought he looked so much better off court than on, but in person, on court, he looked good to me.

I chatted up one of the volunteers on Saturday night. We were in the stairway of the stadium watching the people waiting for Nadal to come out after his match against Gabashvili. She said they were going to be waiting a long time (they’d already been waiting 30 min) since he would have his shower, massage/physiotherapy and press time before he left. She said that on the previous day Federer’s fans were waiting for about 2 hours.

The same volunteer told me about the assignments she’d had so far during the tournament. One of the including going to the Miami Heat basketball game with Jelena Jankovic (whom she said was fun and nice). That nearly convinced me that I should look into volunteering next year.

I also chatted with a ball girl on the bus back to town. She’s a junior in HS and this is her fourth year as a ball girl. She had worked in the Stadium on Monday and was excited to have been working during Nadal’s match. I went straight for the kill and asked her who was nice and who was a pain. Nice guys: Federer and Nadal. Not nice guys: Roddick. Not nice women: Venus (Serena is nicer, she said). I was a bit shocked at that one. The ball girl said that in general, the men are nicer than the women. She thought that the women get more frustrated during their matches.


Kefuoe (which means gift in Sotho) was given her name while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho. Since that time, she’s lived in Kenya , Guyana, Malawi and London, but she always comes home to New Orleans eventually. She currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she splits her time between supporting international women’s health programs and trying to identify birds in the back yard.

3 Responses

  1. nereis says:

    Thanks for telling us your experience Kefuoe. My favorite part, the last one about Rafa and Federer. ;)

    And great pics, thanks for that too!

  2. miri says:

    Kefuoe’s post is a wise one – there are oodles of decisions to make when at a tournament and you are always going to feel like you are missing out on something. You have to seek balance and just let the stuff you are missing go. I had a heck of a time deciding between matches/practices/photography and I let that get to me big-time Sunday. Monday I was much more relaxed about with only one stupid mistake. I should have stayed in the crappier seats for the Marc!/Rafa match because I had the sun at my back – this it was on the players and they weren’t in shadow. I was too obsessed with getting closer when I would have gotten better pictures with the better light. I knew that, but the “closer” thing took over my brain for a bit.

    I also wish I had Kefuoe’s talent for chatting up people at the tournament! That’s some great info she got.

    Another note about photographing tennis: it’s impossible to try and take photos and pay attention to/enjoy the tennis. I kept having to tell myself to put the camera down for a few games and just enjoy the game. I would have to remind myself not to get frustrated at all the great shots I was missing…because I wouldn’t have enjoyed them as much looking through the camera view finder.

  3. rez says:

    I also thought the opposite about Venus and Serena.