The Green and the Gold

August 30, 2010

We’re going to the tennis tomorrow!

I’m ready for my third slam of the year – one short of a calendar slam – and what a day to start!

I’ll be working in the morning, doing my thang for the lovely USTA, but there are heaps of matches I intend to hit up, most importantly, Our Sam and Our Lleyton. Some of my most loved of Russians and Spaniards are on court, but first and foremost, we are here to support our fellow Ozzians.

For those of you toting the green and gold tomorrow, here’s where it’s at:

We’ve got Our Sam and Our Lleyton headlining it on Louis Armstrong. I’m proud of them, because they’re on a big court even though they’re not American. And we’re not counting AA, where apparently if you don’t come from a country that starts with U and ends with SA, you don’t get much airtime. Not that I’m complaining.

Also in the hotseat is the ever-improving new Aussie Anastasia Rodionova. Controversy at Wimby aside, the girl has been on fire lately, zooming up the rankings and making me even more inclined than usual to tell everyone that she lives in my neighbourhood. She’s drawn to meet Sam, which can only mean all-Aussie joyness for those of us being polyanna over here. And let’s not lie, the girl is fun to watch. Except a fair bit of this…

Carsten Ball, on the other hand, hasn’t made Aussie his home, but is a card-carrying member, and does the deed for us in Davis Cup, so we like him anyway. He’s also playing dubs with Gooch, our sad boy who walked off lonely on Day 1 of qualies. Maybe now he will have friends to play with and be happy. I’m looking forward to a lanky display.

Sophie Ferguson showed us what she is capable of on the big stage at Roland Garros, and deservedly received the discretionary wildcard from Tennis Australia. Good on her, we say. Now show us your stuff in New York, please.

We’ve also got the adorable Sally Peers, making her Grand Slam main draw debut after going all the way in qualifying. She made it all the way to the quarters at AO with L-Rob as her doubles partner, and she is now heading for a first ever in US Open history – following in Mum’s footsteps, who competed back in the 90s as Elizabeth Little. You show ’em, Sal!

And yes, I’ve counted Aussie Ana. She’s with our man, it means she’s our lady, dammit!

Arthur Ashe Stadium 11:00 Start Time
Melanie Oudin (USA) v. Olga Savchuk (UKR)
Greta Arn (HUN) v. Kim Clijsters (BEL)[2]
Stephane Robert (FRA) v. Andy Roddick (USA)[9]

Arthur Ashe Stadium 7:00 Start Time
Roberta Vinci (ITA) v. Venus Williams (USA)[3]
Brian Dabul (ARG) v. Roger Federer (SUI)[2]

Louis Armstrong Stadium 11:00 Start Time
Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)[6] v. Michael Russell (USA)
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)[24] v. Dinara Safina (RUS)
Samantha Stosur (AUS)[5] v. Elena Vesnina (RUS)

Not Before:5:00
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)[32] v. Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA)

Grandstand 11:00 Start Time
Francesca Schiavone (ITA)[6] v. Ayumi Morita (JPN)
Robin Soderling (SWE)[5] v. Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT)
Taylor Dent (USA) v. Alejandro Falla (COL)
Ana Ivanovic (SRB) v. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)

Court 4 11:00 Start Time
Martin Klizan (SVK) v. Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP)[22]
Shahar Peer (ISR)[16] v. Jelena Kostanic Tosic (CRO)
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) v. Ryan Sweeting (USA)
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) v. Jie Zheng (CHN)[21]

Court 6 11:00 Start Time
Johanna Larsson (SWE) v. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS)[28]
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)[20]v. Kristina Barrois (GER)
Jurgen Melzer (AUT)[13] v. Dmitry Tursunov (RUS)
Michael Berrer (GER) v. Andreas Beck (GER)

Court 7 11:00 Start Time
Illya Marchenko (UKR) v. Marin Cilic (CRO)[11]
Michelle Larcher De Brito (POR) v. Sania Mirza (IND)
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL)[32] v. Renata Voracova (CZE)
Kevin Anderson (RSA) v. Somdev Devvarman (IND)

Court 8 11:00 Start Time
Vera Dushevina (RUS) v. Alona Bondarenko (UKR)[29]
Igor Andreev (RUS) v. Horacio Zeballos (ARG)
Virginie Razzano (FRA) v. Klara Zakopalova (CZE)
Rebecca Marino (CAN) v. Ksenia Pervak (RUS)

Court 10 11:00 Start Time
Simon Greul (GER) v. Richard Gasquet (FRA)
Petra Kvitova (CZE)[27] v. Lucie Hradecka (CZE)
Albert Montanes (ESP)[21] v. Michal Przysiezny (POL)

Court 11 11:00 Start Time
Olga Govortsova (BLR) v. Elena Dementieva (RUS)[12]
Gael Monfils (FRA)[17] v. Robert Kendrick (USA)
Monica Niculescu (ROU) v. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[10]
Tim Smyczek (USA) v. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)[26]
Irina Falconi (USA) v. Flavia Pennetta (ITA)[19]

Court 12 11:00 Start Time
Thiemo de Bakker (NED) v. Marc Gicquel (FRA)
Sally Peers (AUS) v. Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN)
Agnes Szavay (HUN) v. Sandra Zahlavova (CZE)

Court 13 11:00 Start Time
1ei Nishikori (JPN) v. Evgeny Korolev (KAZ)
Ivan Dodig (CRO) v. Fernando Gonzalez (CHI)[27]
Marion Bartoli (FRA)[13] v. Edina Gallovits (ROU)
Vania King (USA) v. Christina McHale (USA)

Court 14 11:00 Start Time
Bjorn Phau (GER) v. Ricardo Mello (BRA)
Zuzana Ondraskova (CZE) v. Sybille Bammer (AUT)
Pauline Parmentier (FRA) v. Alberta Brianti (ITA)

Court 15 11:00 Start Time
Sara Errani (ITA) v. Tathiana Garbin (ITA)
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) v. Anastasia Rodionova (AUS)
Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) v. Olivier Rochus (BEL)

Court 16 11:00 Start Time
Maria Elena Camerin (ITA) v. Sophie Ferguson (AUS)
Gisela Dulko (ARG) v. Angelique Kerber (GER)
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) v. Guillaume Rufin (FRA)

Court 17 11:00 Start Time
Elena Baltacha (GBR) v. Petra Martic (CRO)
Polona Hercog (SLO) v. Mandy Minella (LUX)
Carsten Ball (AUS) v. Milos Raonic (CAN)

The Parallel Universe

August 27, 2010

So Tuesday was the first day of qualies here at Flushing Meadows, and also the first time that M and I ventured into the universe of American Grand Slam Tennis.

It’s more than just the arduous adventure of taking the subway from Brooklyn into Manhattan and back out again into Queens, and the startling contrast of navy blue instead of the bright cobalt we’re used to at Melbourne Park. It’s not just the strange SIZE of the HUMUNGOUS ball children or the impressive array of American style refreshments. (Knish, anyone?)

We roamed the wet grounds, and marvelled with amazement at the huge triple tennis courts where everyone from Marin to Richie to unrecognisable little guys were practicising (terrible face recognition, which is really embarrassing for a tennis blogger who watches tennis incessantly… though luckily I have excellent voice recognition for umpires like the Great Umpire of All Time TM, Carlos Ramos), plus about a thousand pert and pretty Russian girls on the ladies side. As you may have noticed, we’re not so WTA on this side, so the girls will have to remain nameless.

We meandered over to Court Thirteen (of course!) and went on a hunt for the Aussie boy Gooch, aka Chris Guccione, a Davis Cup mate of M & L from years back and a lovely, albeit often injured, ranga boy from Oz who needed our support. Turns out the scoreboard was there… but Gooch was not.

We visited Lleyton, reminding M of her bygone days when his posters plastered her walls. Circa 2001. Good times.

Now I am a spectator of Grand Slam tennis, and beyond that, Australian Grand Slam tennis only, so these other tournaments leave me confused. I was also unaware that the practices on the main stadiums are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, so when the lovely folk at US Open Facebook page posted that Rafa and Marin were practicing on Louis A, I was content to sit placidly outside the arena’s brick wall, playing idly with my iPhone and lapping up the awesomeness of knowing that Rafa in his glory was nearby.

Hang on, sez M, I think I see people going in.
Indeed? I ask. So we go for a casual waltz into Louis A.
And there, mopping up the court with a squeegee that would put any Israeli housewife to shame, is Marin, lanky body doubled over in concentration as he squeezes every last bit of stubborn rain from that silly hard court surface.

We slip into our front row seats and start looking around furtively, certain that we are about to get kicked out of the front row seats on the practice courts. Surely we can’t be allowed here?

I overhear Marin’s coach, Bob Brett, giving directions in broad Strine, and all of a sudden I feel compelled to make best friends with every Australian that comes by this tournament. It’s not just a desire, it’s now a requirement.

I don’t have time though, because as Marin keeps hitting with his coach, and I let my eyes slip down to my iPhone, I hear a collective intake of breath and look up just in time to see a certain Spaniard stroll right past me.

“Well, HOLA,” erupts from my mouth, and I keep my eyes peeled at 2 o’clock as Signor Nadal continues to stroll to the next player chair (damn me for sitting behind Marin, lovely as he is!) and set his kit down, with just enough time to give us a sumptuous shirt change view.

Next thing we know, them boys are hitting up balls like there’s a grand slam tomorrow, and even playing us a few pretend sets.

It was lovely.

And I did make friends with Marin’s coach. It had to be done.


August 25, 2010

It’s raining… Well, not anymore but the courts are yukky.

And we’re looking for Gooch.

Like January All Year Long…

August 25, 2010

We’re in New York, you guys.

It might be grey and dirty outside and we may not have our precious yellow Optus what a shot signs. We’re clad in New York summer raingear as opposed to our colourful Aussie tennis ensembles. The subway ride is far cry from our quick zip to Melbourne Park on the Sandy line, and we’re not sure whether Flushing Meadows is going to be anywhere near as hospitable as our usual January home away from home.

Instead of clutching meat pies and shivering into our navy blue footy scarves as we bring on September from the nosebleeds in the MCG, we will be gallivanting the courts of New York City and looking for the elusive joy that lives on Court Thirteen.

It’s the US Open, lovelies, and M and I will be bringing it to you at Court Thirteen, just like old days.

So buckle up. It’s January, in September.

Tennis up over, here we come!

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