AllyR in Cincy – day two

Photo by AllyR

Photo by AllyR

I hear Cincy will be undergoing some renovations in a few years. That makes me a little sad, because each year I’ve come here I’ve had a spectacularly good time, and I don’t want the tourney to lose any of its comfortable, low-key middle America mojo. I am happy to report that a few things seem to remain the same year after year: Blue Moons still cost an outrageous $7, souvenir t-shirts still appear to have been designed in MS Paint, “the air conditioned retail tent” continues to be advertised as just that (nothing more, nothing less) over the PA system, and Rafa still shows up every now and then when you don’t expect him. The other night I was standing at my window basking in the afterglow of the elevator, contemplating my exceedingly good luck, and low and behold, out Rafa strolled into the parking lot and toward his car. Benito, Feli, Maymo and girlie were in tow. As far as I can tell he’s never actually spent a moment alone.

You’ve all seen Maymo and girlfiend, right? Imagine the three of them in the back seat of a Toyota. Who do you expect would sit in the middle? If you guessed anyone besides the burly beefcake then you would be wrong.

As Benito drove them away, I decided to attempt to channel my good luck into the ultimate souvenir– I wanted a picture with Rafa. Mind you, I have never requested a picture from anyone ever before. But I’ve been watching people of all ages ask for pictures all week, and the players seem good-natured about it. And I really, really wanted one. So I gave it an hour and headed downstairs to find him. Once located, I managed to sputter out the request, he nodded ok, I shoved my camera into Benito’s hands (again, Benito to the rescue in my moment of need!) and tried to look at least slightly less crazy than I felt on the inside.

Then came the moment when I realized I didn’t know what to do with my hands. Are we going to strike some sort of prom pic pose? No, obviously, keep the hands to yourself, right? He’s being so nice to do this for me; he certainly shouldn’t get manhandled as a result. Stand politely next to him and try to be cool. On the other hand, I could pull a move like that girl in the Palma airport, you know the one, the girl who planted a big wet one on him as he kindly stopped for a picture. What does she care? She had nothing to lose and everything to gain in that moment, and she went for it. I say good on her. [I say not good – miri] I stood paralyzed until I felt an arm slip around my back. Oh. Ok. This is how this works. You ask for a picture, Rafa promptly puts his arm around you. This must be one of the most valuable pieces of information I have ever learned. Why have I never done this before? I can tell you now that this will not be the last photo I ever ask for with Rafa.

I put my arm around him and tried to live in the moment. My first thought was that his waist was really high, like the equivalent of putting my arm around the shoulders of a short person. My second thought was that he’s really slender around the middle. How is it possible I’ve spent so much time watching him run around a tennis court and I’m still surprised by his dimensions?

Click, and Rafa said “perfect,” and Team Rafa walked on. I looked back in the direction they had come from and saw the hotel door open and in streamed what seemed like dozens if not hundreds of familiar faces lead by Tommy R. My reserves of self-control were on empty and I thought I might not be able to contain myself so I turned and walked the other way.

And that was the end to a very, very good day in Cincy. I am concerned that my remaining reports will pale in comparison, as I can’t imagine I will be able to sustain this kind of pace. Fingers crossed that I will have further NadalNews to pass along.

P.S. Rafa, I always feel bad for you when I see people interrupting your private moments for autographs and pictures… so sorry for being a pest! But… I’m totally coming back for more:)

46 Responses

  1. Suzanne says:

    Good for you, AllyR! Rafi looks so handsome in the pic. It seems like you two are pals now. I do hope you get more opps to chat with him. When you do, I still think you should tell him about this site and how much we all love him and cheer for him. Hopefully when he looked in on it we’d all have been on our best behavior and he’d be pleased…hee hee! I’m so glad for you that you are having this wonderful experience. You are doing a great job representing Rafans in a “genteel” way. Keep having fun!

  2. Ally says:

    OK, so I agree with you Miri, I don’t really mean good on her. I mean to each her own. If she wanted to plant a big one on him, that’s her choice. I obviously would attempt to exercise some self control in that situation.

    • miri says:

      Yeah, sorry if my aside was kind of rude, but it’s a very touchy subject for me. I did a fan site for someone once who had all kinds of weird fans who didn’t recognize boundaries, so I tend to go overboard on the protective side.

    • Suzanne says:

      I seem to remember Rafa wiping his face after some strange woman walked up to him in the airport and kissed his cheek. AllyR, you handled the situation just as a true Rafan should and he responded by “slipping his arm” around your back. Our precious gentlemanly Rafi. I enjoyed this vicariously…

  3. SapphireSwell says:

    Ahhh, Ally, what an amazing story! I got the giggles just from reading it, teehehehe. I’m so glad that such a dedicated fan got a picture with our beloved Rafa. I don’t think I could have muster up the courage to ask for anything. My reactions of seeing him off court have always been *jaw drop. stare. ask a friend if he was real. then follow 10 paces behind to investigate ;)*

    I look forward to more of your exciting write ups and tweets! Have fun out there, and I wish you good weather for tomorrow night.

  4. An says:

    Ally, how awesome!
    You are one lucky,lucky girl, thank you for sharing…

    Heh, i noticed that he does that when somebody wants to take a pic with him, so sweet! Oh to feel that arm around me once…

    Did i say you are one lucky girl, hmmm i think i did, did i?

  5. Delta says:

    AllyR, your adorable & seem to handle yourself “just right” That’s great you didn’t ask for “auto” Being on the other side, most just like being treated like normal; ) no fawning, idolizing & especially signatures. ( have to take into considration the age) kids ya, = or older seems odd to most. Although oblidge, but think on it as weird. They remember “the fan” who is noncholant & have been known to meet up w/again for dinner. Most are taken aback by those not insane with celebrity, so you do “stand out.” Wouldn’t doobts Nadal may recall you again. Seen it happen time & again. Most walk away w/different perspective. Been in the “lew” after & they spoke of the “normal nature” Glad for you & your encounter, you can relay the normalacy of the person, he’s another one of the “rare ones” from what I’ve heard via “sportsworld” e.g. Gasol of Lakers, nearby neighbor.

  6. Carol says:

    What a lovely pic to keep. You’re certainly having a lucky visit. Do you think he recognised you from the lift (elevator)the other day?

    And even more proof of Rafa’s lovely nature.

    “My second thought was that he’s really slender around the middle” Didn’t Rafa remark once that he find getting trousers to fit a problem – ie he needs to acommodate those muscular thighs (and bum)so he ends up with too big a waistband and needs a belt (I think it was a Daily Mail article).

    Will you ever wash your T-shirt again ;-)? (OK, I know it’s a bit teenager-y)

    • Ally says:

      My whole life is feeling a bit teenager-y at the moment…

      Flickr updated through Tuesday night.
      Afraid I am perpetually 24 hours behind. This web 2.0 lifestyle is hard to keep up with.

      • kayM says:

        Ally, thanks for your story! I so envy you now, I wish I had a chance like this, bumping into Rafa few times a day and getting this precious souvenir photo. It’s the best.

        About your web 2.0 photos posted, sorry I’m side-tracking here. The lady on courtside of Rafa wearing black T and white short pants, is that Xisca? Her features looks a little like her, but she looks so different now. The sweet, pretty, shy look is not there and this lady looks more mature and sober.

        • An says:

          I dont believe this is Xisca! Doesnt look like her to me…
          But maybe Ally could confirm?

          • Ally says:

            Yep that’s her. Got some pics of her dolled up for seppi match last night, will upload tonite hopefully!

            • miri says:

              Are you sure? That doesn’t look like her at all – looks too old.

            • mary says:

              ally that woman courtside looks way too much older. If thats her I’m packing my bags as I think I just might have a chance with Rafi after all. He, he ;) ;)

              • Ally says:

                Am I crazy from all this sun? Am I losing my rafabilities? Really thought that was her. Can’t tell anything from this phone, will look again when I get “home” tonight.

                • Atch2 says:

                  Black T white shorts and blue thing around her neck is NOT Xisca. And I’ve never seen her at the practice sessions. Xisca always looks so cool and pretty, refined beauty and with no makeup.

                  • Ally says:

                    Oh my god you guys are totally right. Not even close to her. What’s wrong with me?

                    • An says:

                      You didn’t see it proparly, you explained that.
                      No problem, sorry i asked you because it didn’t need to be asked!
                      I was, “what” at youre awnser ” in no way is that Xisca!!” I was so sure she was not i only expected you to confirm, but then there was no point in asking, hey.

                    • kayM says:

                      Sorry was it me causing all the confusion? I did not think that looks like her either. But seeing another girl on the court side with long hair like Xisca (although not curly, but she could have blow dry it straight) have me wondering. When I compare their eyes and other features I could not say for sure she is not. Do Spanish girls all look similar, or may be this girl is Xisca’s elder sister? Ha, anyway I am glad that you guys clear it up for me.

        • johanne says:

          Are you talking about this lady?

          Because that is for sure NOT Xisca.

  7. Atch2 says:

    Sweet story. I was feeling the moment with u.
    “I stood paralyzed until I felt an arm slip around my back. Oh. Ok. This is how this works.” His hair looks really curly.

    How sweet is he to put that attention, to personalise the photo for you. Maybe he remembers u being that woman with the RF cap and trying to convert u.

    Luv your stories.

  8. AnaR says:

    Ally, you are truly a delight. I am sure that Rafa felt so well with you.. In the case of Rafael and I am sure that with any tennis player (at least spaniard) if a person like you is addressed in a manner respectful to them .. are fully accessible and you’ve lived it yourself. It is very easy with Rafa .. and it is very easy to treat as person I mean that he is so nice. And Ally your comments, your stories, fantastics. I am really sure that on the next days you will continue with this good luck and I am very happy to find people like you who appreciates people like Rafa .. And it’s true, I’ve always said, Rafa is taller and thinner in person than what we see on television. It is a very handsome guy and super nice. Good luck Ally!. I am anxiously waiting for your comments.

    And I’m thinking of going to Murcia for Davis Cup tournament against Israel because it seems that Rafa is going to be there .. If I go to Davis in September, I promise to make of reporter of this site,

    • aRafaelite says:

      Murcia? Bother. Was hoping it would be in Santander so someone I know could be a ball boy again and get me some souvenirs… :( Still, having you reporting from the tie would make up for it! Vamos AnaR!

  9. killian says:

    What a fabulous image, Rafa flanked by 2 diminutive beauties, shoulders up around his ears, ever the polite young man, opting to be squshed rather than be rude. (then again, how bad could it be, Xisca on one side, Maymo on the other—sounds like a yummy love sandwich. . .sigh)

    Thanks for your story, Ally–you are a real trooper with great flair for recounting. Almost felt like I was there. . .:D

  10. Wooffie says:

    Fantastic account Ally!! Well done for you and a moment (and picture) to treasure forever.

  11. mary says:

    It kinda almost feels like a fairytale story, but someone else has got the man. “Sigh”

    You one bloody lucky & intuitive gal!! Ally, thanks for taking us with you, we’ve felt part of the story. Flov Rafi’s casual attire, he seems sooooo earthy.

    “I stood paralyzed until I felt an arm slip around my back.”I think I would have gone limp at that stage & he would have freaked out, cause I would’ve been passed out.

    “I put my arm around him and tried to live in the moment”. OH F****k, I wouldn’t, couldn’t have possibly known what to do. You fearless woman you! Awesome!!!!

  12. Debbie says:

    Delightful writing Ally. You touched Rafa! *faints*

  13. Atch2 says:

    AllyR, u r soo sooo lucky to be able to see the posse in the flesh!

    Wish u had a photo of the car scene, it would have been hilarious. Xisca and Rafa make such a sweet looking couple, and he didn’t make her sit in the middle of the back seat probably bec he thought he was a compact size.

  14. Trish says:

    Nice photo! Happy for you that you had this special moment!

  15. cookie says:

    Dear Ally~ You look gorgeous, beaming with happiness and delight in your amazing Benito photograph! And with Rafa doing well so far in Cincinnati, it is just as he said, “Perfect”! Thank you for sharing your incredible and memorable moments on the scene in Cincy!

  16. faecoleman says:

    Omg Ally, how lucky are you! thank you soo much for sharing this with us, what a magical moment, I can’t imagine how you felt with Rafa’s arm around you wow, I wouldn’t contain myself.
    Looking forward to more news… you described everything so well too.
    Anar, thanks for all your comments on here, they are the best..

  17. dutchgirl says:

    And yet you have another Rafa experience and share it with us! Thanks for that, I like your style of writing, makes me feel if I was there standing besides him – wish I were!

    Enjoy the rest of the tournament!

  18. Atch2 says:

    U got a pix of Bec Hewitt as well. Cool!

  19. Ally says:

    Just realized, technically this photo credit should read “Benito” HA!

  20. Ally says:

    Rafa in the bar rafa in the bar rafa in the bar. Dying.

  21. Ally says:


    • Atch2 says:

      breathe Ally breathe, deep breaths …..

      Eagerly await your blog of this bar scene.

      • Ally says:

        Thanks Atch, I needed that.

        He’s gone now. And I’m regrouping. That was intense.

        • mary says:

          Oh Ally we are with you girl. We living, breathing every minute. *Sigh*

          • Delta says:

            Mary if you can go to chat & I will try so I can give you my info, would “Flove” to give you email & contact info so maybe we can hook-up as want to go to AO, & and maybe you meet me @ US OPEN. Or if Miri can give you my email address? Ok by me, if interested?
            sorry Miri if off-topic in this forum.