I was very excited to go to the Rogers Cup in Montreal! First it was my first professional tennis tournament, second it was going to be Rafa’s big come back and he was the reason I broke my piggybank, and I knew that eventually miri was going to be there, and I thought it would be fun to meet her.
I am a very big fan of Rafael Nadal, but I also love the rest of the Armada, so I did not only concentrate on Rafa; which made it a very busy and exhausting 2 days.
On arriving at Montreal Airport, my tournament was already on its way as I stood in line to clear custom with, amongst a few hundred travellers, Carlos Bernardes, the Brazilian chair empire, Fernando Gonzales the Chilean and Zimonjic the Serbian double player, who were arriving from Washington, D.C.
My first thought was: these people actually exist outside the TV box, waouh!
Having learned that the Players’ Party was to be held not very far from my hotel I decided to go and check it out; I did not have tickets but I thought I could get lucky by seeing yet a few more players! Little did I know that I was not standing at the right entrance? Oh well, meet Lil. :D
On the Monday I was really looking forward to watching Rafa and his coach Francisco Roig on TV, but I was to understand later that the doubles are not filmed (or may be not on the Central Court), so no luck. But miri saw it so it was as good as…
Wednesday finally arrived. I was extremely excited and already drooling over all the beautiful matches I was going to see; I was going to see live all my favourite players, Fernando Verdasco, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Feliciano Lopez with Nando in the double and Rafa and Daviid Ferrer! As much as I adore Rafael, I simply love Ferrer! He probably has the ugliest way of holding a tennis racket I have ever seen but I don’t know why I have a very soft spot for Daviid! I was prepared to sit through a very long match between two Conquistadores, to bite my fan (it was very hot, the fan was a necessary accessory), to scream, to be scared and to marvel; but after the 2nd game when Daviid stopped walking in circles behind his base line awaiting his opponent serve, as he usually does, I knew something was very wrong. And indeed it was; what was expected to be the big test for Rafael turned short and sent my second favourite hobbling back to the locker room! I was relieved that Rafael got through easily, but I was sad for my little oaf! [by the way I really do mean to spell Daviid thus]
Apart from this sad-ish ending my day was perfect, I saw Juan Carlos win over Monfils; I saw Daviid train; I saw the beginning of Rafa’s training session and I saw the 2 Guapos (Feli and Nando). It took place on court 5 which is tiny. I was sitting 2 m from the court and during the warm up Feli seemed to notice my T-shirt … the famous Vamos T-shirt that I purchased here. He said something to Nando who also turned towards me, or was it towards the blond girl seating just a row below me??!! They won; we had a terribly good time and I got all my neighbours cheering Vamos Chicos by the end of the match!
I also managed to see Gonzo vs Haas, but Haas had already a problem with his right hand, I was told blisters (?) and he retired quite rapidly!
The Thursday I saw Djoko, frightfully hot; even under his umbrella he looked like he was about to pass out from the heat! miri has told us how hot it was on the court! I was watching her Wednesday evening just before sundown, she looked like she was about to melt!
What I can say about the match Rafa vs Petzchener? That he was very concentrated, that his serve was considerably improved from the night before! He however had some difficulties reading his opponent’s game and was therefore slightly slow to react. The run was quick but the decision making was slow. It was literally as if we could see him weighing pros and cons before choosing his shots; which cost him dearly against DelPotro!
During the 2nd set it was as if Rafa got bored; during the changeover he would look at the giant screens! … After the magnificent Nando vs Roddick I admit I got a little bit bored too; so sorry!
The little game he diligently obliged to perform after the match was as funny as Djoko’s performance in the morning! The young girl must have been out of her mind for a very long time afterwards; except that giving a hug to a very sweaty Rafa, uh, I’m not so sure ;)
Nando and Feli’s double started a little later than expected which allowed us to run to it, and it was rescheduled on the BN (court 1) since the pair Ferrer-Robredo had to retire due to Daviid’s bad knee. As miri told you Feli had a strapped back and Nando was pretty sick, obviously feverish and complaining of a sore throat. So they lost; but doubles play is such fun, so fast, based on pure reflex, awesome! I think it is terribly sad that they don’t show any of it on TV!
Finally I had to go and see Federer; I was pretty tired of all the action and all the sun (I sure don’t get that much in Paris). I left at the end of the first set, still stunned, as must have been Federer, by the unfortunate timing of the congratulations the tournament offered Mirka and Roger for the twins’ birth!
A little Vas-y Gilou (Go Gilou) for Simon vs Tsonga and I headed out; memory filled with emotions and fantastic games. For sure this is very addictive and Montreal is a beautiful tournament. Remember Canadian people are very warm and welcoming which made the whole experience even more enjoyable.
As far as I was concerned that was it, I was going to watch the rest of the tournament on TV somewhere in Quebec City!
Heading towards the Central Station, I walked past the players’ hotel and who do I spot but Feliciano Lopez standing there with luggage and rackets; looking absolutely stunning in his black polo-shirt with a little Spanish flag on the chest. I dragged my luggage across the pavement to talk to him, to ask him how his back was, how Nando was feeling, and to thank him for the wonderful time we had watching him and his mate play (despite Thursday’s loss).
Now it is really over, I could not possibly take in more emotions, more adventures! It was a dream come true and every day felt as a dream. I strongly recommend if you like tennis you pick a tournament and go and enjoy those magnificent athletes! It really is a fantastic show, a fantastic performance from those guys and believe it or not they actually love what they are doing!