I promised myself I’d be better at updating this site while in Cincy than I usually am when at tournaments. As you can see, I was a total fail. I can’t seem to balance being a RafaFanGirl (and the hours of waiting for Rafa and hanging with fun RafaFans that entails) and a photographer and have any extra time left for posting and following coverage. Others manage it, but I can’t seem to. I’m so behind, I’ll never catch up, so after a few boring thoughts from me, there will be some highlights from what happened in Cincy.
Much like I can’t juggle things in order to get posts up while gone, I also can’t juggle truly watching a match and game play while photographing. I often don’t know if a shot’s landed in or out and can just go by crowd and the reaction of the player I happen to be focusing on. Heck, at one point, I thought Feli was down about 5-0 (based on his constant woeful expression). I should have just remembered that Feli always looks emo (they were on serve). So, I can’t really judge how Rafa was playing except that he was moving fast enough for me to have trouble tracking him – heh. He seemed confident too. There were a heck of a lot less worried looks at his bench than at the last tournament I was at (Monte-Carlo – which is kind of interesting when you think about it). He did look rather hot and tired during his pre-semi practice. But then again, it was hot out and he was practicing at the hottest part of the day. More than that, with one exception, he seemed positive and up-beat in his pressers. Yes, not the goofy teenager that he used to be, but relaxed and, yeah, confident.
I had a couple of interesting conversations with volunteers and people working the event. One lady working security at his pre-final practice said that Rafa was a nice guy, but it was like he was trying to make things more difficult for them. He prefers to not take the cart to/from practices, which makes it more difficult to make sure he’s secure. I also got the feeling they wanted to schedule him on a court with more public access and seating, but that he kept changing that. She felt he kind of thrived on the packed crowds and thought she was a good judge of character having been a high school teacher for 25 years. I dunno.
I was talking to one of the photographers during changeovers in the match. He works for a celebrity mag and said that Rafa had tons more natural charisma than most of the hollywood types he interviews and photographs. He said that Rafa just “has that thing” that draws you in whether you want to be drawn in or not.
During the trophy ceremony, I was hoping they’d do a champagne fight. Isner looked up for it. But then Rafa didn’t even pose with his bottle and he set it down on the table pretty quickly. I heard him say “Bacardi” to one of the organizer guys.
If you go to a tournament, find yourself some excellent fellow RafaFans to go out to dinner with after the day’s events. During said course of dinner, be sure to share all your fun stories from the day. There will be many laughs and it will be one of the best things about the tournament (only to be outdone by a trophy bite).
Okay, now to more important stuff broken down by round.
Defeated John Isner 7-6(8), 7-6(3)
- Hot shot
- Full match
- Trophy ceremony bits
- On court interview
- Presser transcript
- Brain Game: Unbreakable Nadal – by Craig O’Shannessy (atpworldtour.com)
Defeated Tomas Berdych 7-5, 7-6(4)
Defeated Roger Federer 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
Defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 5-7, 6-2
Interesting that I don’t see an in-studio or video presser excerpt for this round as I thought Rafa seemed a bit grumpy during the interview. He came straight up from the court and, thus, the room was pretty empty.
Defeated Benjamin Becker 6-2, 6-2
Okay, now I need to get the last day of photos done to send to TennisConnected. Oh, and sleep. I need a lot of that.