PAPPED

January 31, 2011

There’s one thing to have lovely seats, and get to watch fabulous tennis up front, and dance around with the Serbian army.

But the beauty of a slam final is all the other people who stand up and take an interest, because it’s a Slam, and it’s a final. And those people, who dot the audience, are sometimes of the famous persuasion.

So we decided to pap them.

I have now buried all journalistic integrity and will share with you accordingly the fruits of my surreptitious iPhone use combined with deftness and dexterity with my point and shoot. Excuse the fuzziness.

Celeb spotter extraordinaire, LP spotted Eric Bana in the crowd. Having a lovely chatskie with Vince Colosimo.

Before all that happened, of course, this lady arrived.

Molly was there too… but I was actually papping the Serbians at the time.

Alicia looked lovely.

And shared secrets with the lovely Renae Stubbs, also in the same row.

 

Who else? Oh yeah, just a player box filled with the most awesome Serbs you’ve ever met.

And Ana.

Yeah. That’s called papped.


And The Crowd Goes Wild

January 19, 2011

There’s a reason the Australian Open is the greatest slam of all. (What, am I biased?)

It’s not the happy slam because of the beer gardens everywhere, the costumed fans, the easy access to transportation, the gorgeous sunny spaces and the sparkling blue courts. It’s not the friendly staff everywhere, the fun off-court entertainment and the variety of outer-court matches.

The Australian Open is what it is because of those amazing fans that make up the best tennis watching crowd in the world.

The crowds.

Melbourne Jewish community doing their thing for Dudi Sela against Del Potro.


The crowd gathering in Garden Square to watch Alicia defeat Roberta Vinci at match point. Only drawback: You can kinda tell how a point is going to end, because the cheers erupt from Rod Laver behind you a second before the TV shows the end of the rally. At the same time, you gotta love that.

“We are yellow, we are blue, we are Swedish, who are you?”

The Swedes, always hands-down best costumed at the Open, going insane for their man Robin Soderling on Margaret Court Arena. As for me? I was watching Carlos Ramos, and noting that Robin’s black outfit with fluoro yellow trim was looking decidedly evil, particularly if the yellow was substituted for red. Flames. Owww.

And my favourite thing about the Open, hands down: The Hellas Fan Club at Marcos Baghdatis matches. Granted, earlier I’d seen some stupid Greek kids, wrapped in flags, asked to sing for a Channel 9 camera. They promptly belted out a very obviously anti-Turkish racist chant, which had all the nearby Greeks in titters. The grownups do it better, and they did, all through five sets of Marcos against a random I cannot name. Sorry. And yes, I now have favourite Greek chants. No, I cannot tell you what they mean. But I do know it’s not worth watching Marcos anywhere else other than the Australian Open. The crowd belongs to him.

Marinko’s Main Men: A crew of who I could only assume were Marinko Matosevic’ mates cheering their lungs out for their boy on Court 6 against the Lithuanian army cheering their boy Richardes Berankis. Sitting next to his couch, I could only just mumble “oi oi oi” to their Aussie Aussie Aussies, but was also busy listening in to Pat Cash’s commentary. “Great serve,” he sez, before elbowing L out of the way. Marinko put on a great fight but lost the match, but those Aussies were on fire. “We love Marinko because he is Victorian!” Love.

Tsonga on Margaret Court Arena

Blurry for a reason. Margaret Court Arena is known as the hub of insanity. The Bay 13 of Melbourne Park. MCA at night? Take the craziness and double it. MCA, at night, with crowd favourite Jo-Wilfred Tsonga?

I’m talking hardcore.

The Frenchies had forgotten compatriot Mikey Llodra on the court next door, so we did the dutiful and watched the lovely Mika – always fun for some volleying action – before heading to MCA for the fifth set. And I was afraid for my life. The picture above is blurry – if you were there, you’d know why.

And finally…

A packed house at 1am on Rod Laver Arena getting behind our man Lleyton Hewitt. I hate when matches are called “thrillers” and “epics” but usually because I’m jealous I wasn’t there. This match had everything: The ancient rivalry, the two big players, gorgeous tennis and a passionate, formidable, fired-up crowd. And the essential RLA late finish just made it all the more Aussie. And similar to the Tomic loss at 2am last year, we all went home unhappy. And then waiting in long taxi queues in the freezing.
Because that’s what we do, tennis fans.

Fresh Tennis, It Does Exist

December 19, 2010

I lied.

At the end of my last post, I was all “no more tennis until next season”, boo hoo, but I will admit, hand on my heart, that I lied.

Sure, the days of poring over pictures from glam player parties, skimming endless postmatch pressers and waking up on Sunday mornings, half hung over, trying to catch a final are over. But what what what has been happening in my spiritual home this week?

None other than the Australian Open Wildcard Playoffs, which can mean only one thing: January is in the air.

Less than thirty days off, and I can already smell the sunscreen and the chiko rolls. Richmond station is lying open in wait and the blue signs are already going up all over town. Hughesy and Kate are in on the action and I can bet you the ads are already up all over Aussie radio.

I’m freezing away in Brooklyn but in Melbourne the sun is shining. Australia’s brightest and best have convened on Melbourne Park, and the Wildcard Playoff is underway.

All of our faves were there and I’d like to give a shoutout to the lovely Ronnie, tennis buddy extraordinaire, who made his way down to watch our girls and boys in play.

Kudos as well to the fabulous people at Tennis Australia, who streamed (and are still streaming!) the whole shebang online for those of us who couldn’t bask in the sunshine, hail and thunder and check out real! live! tennis that matters! even during the off-season.

For those of you who didn’t watch, here’s a little bit of what happened:

– The boys played a 24 strong tournament.
Bernie didn’t play. People are upset about that, just like they’re upset about everything he does.
– We had lots of familiar faces. For those of you who like to haunt the outer courts during the AO, cheering for any wildcarded Aussie dubs team or junior in sight, some of these names will be familiar to you. I’m looking at you, Sean Berman.
Challenger fans wet their pants with excitement. Tennis that matters, with challenger-level players? Pass me the smelling salts. My Twitter feed has given me hope in the human race outside the top 100.
– Biggest upset: Carsten Ball. He’s on our Davis Cup team, but looks like all the other young ‘uns are also hungry and hitting big. I’m focusing on the positive here: Nice big talent pool we have?
– Most of the top seeds made it through, reminding me that yes, this is men’s tennis after all. Welcome to the final, Marinko Matosevic and Pete Luczak. Looch reminding me that yes, it was worthwhile for me to stand out in the hot hot heat cheering him on back in Flushing Meadows. Because seriously, the man plays mean tennis. And Marinko giving us hope for a generation.

Next, on the ladies side:
– The ladies played a round robin that for those of you who struggle at the YECs and WTFs, forget it. I struggled on this one, but I can tell you this:
– It’s refreshing having the ‘hover-at-the-edges-of-the-top-hundy-for-most-of-this-year‘ girls aka Anastasia Rodionova and Jarmila Groth well ensconced in automatic entry territory. It’s given a chance to the other girls to come through and get a chance at the wildcard, including hover-at-the-edges-of-the-top-hundy-at-year-end girls Alicia “Alicia Alicia Alicia, Alicia Alicia” Molik and Jelena “Why do I love you so much” Dokic. Comeback Queens, apparently.
– The semis were a ripper lineup, with Roland Garros Qualifier Queen Sophie Ferguson up against Dinara-Scarer Olivia Rogowska; and abovementioned Our Leesh and Our Jelena battling it out.
– Congrats to Olivia and Jelena for making the finals, and now, let us switch on the livestream and see how it all pans out.
– Aussie Aussie Aussie! Nuff said.

Bring on January.


There’s room for you in here too, Alicia

May 3, 2010

This week’s WTA rankings are out, and in lieu of any exciting movement on the boys’ side, things are very exciting for the Aussie Ladies.

Despite losing the final in Shtootgart to Justine, Carlos and the Allez Machine, Sam has now reached a career high of #8 in the career – and equal best Aussie since Alicia Molik, who reached the same place on the charts in February 2005.

That’s not all – Alicia is making a great steady climb up the rankings, having entered the top 100 last week and now sitting just under Rodi. According to this fabulous article from the WTA website (click here), Alicia is “on the ascent” – from here, the only way is up. Most interesting to note, she is Number 41 in the Race – a number I’d never paid much attention to in the past, but one which says a lot about how far she’s come since her comeback.

All this makes me think Our Leesh could be back up there in Sam’s side of town at some point too – after all, it is the WTA. Look at that top 10 – move over, girls, and make some room for Leesh. As for Sam? Top 5, baby.


Kenny, Carlos and some Aussie Chicks

April 28, 2010

For those of you who can’t get enough of Aussie awesome (why do I hear crickets?), Tennis Australia have put together a gorgeous montage of Fed Cup pics, with background audio from “Rodi” and Sammy’s interviews.

Carlos Ramos was there, yo.

Stubbsy also blogged her experience, letting us know that “Our Stasi”‘s nickname is not, actually, Stasi, but “Rodi”. There ya go. Access her blogs here:

Stubbsy’s Blog, Part I
Stubbsy’s Blog, Part II
Stubbsy’s Blog, Part III
Stubbsy’s Blog, Part IV

There are also videos of each of the girls pre-tie on http://tennis.com.au


Australia: Yes, we’re bloody good.

April 26, 2010

Guess who’s back in the World Group, bitches!

Across rain, snow and ash, the Aussies all made it to Kharkov and the battle begun.

today at the draw ceremony Australia vs Ukraine  on Twitpic

Our new favourite Aussie, Anastasia finished off Alona Bondarenko yesterday to give us the lead over the Ukrainians. Sammy then looked after a little girl who’s name I can’t pronounce, but I will paste from the news just for validation. There it is. Mariya Koryttseva

Then we had a bit of a scary sitch with Sammy finding it difficult in the 3rd rubber against another Ukrainian girl – ok fine, back to pasting the name – Lyudmyla Kichenok – where the first set went to TB before Sammy took her out.

That puts us back in the World Group first time since 04 – back in the heyday of Alicia doing her thing – and gives us hopefuls the knowledge the sky’s the limit!

Fed Cup is also a time where the umpire stalkers among us go all out for Ramos Watch and Molina Search, as our favourite ITF employed umpires are finally among the livestreams. Unfortunately, I am yet to set sight of Molina, but a sneakily posted twitpic by New Favourite Aussie Anastasia leads me to believe Ramos is among good people – the Aussies in Kharkov, and the kangaroo. Apparently, contrary to popular opinion, his name is not Skippy – it is Kenny. Who’d’ve known?


Watch Your Backs, Bondarenkos

April 20, 2010

World Group, Here We Come!

According to the latest news from Tennis Australia, the Aussie team is all sorted for Fed Cup this weekend. I’m taking that to mean that all the girls now have a way of making it over to Kharkov – despite the fact that Stubbsy had a mild panic attack on Anastasia’s Facebook page the other day.

The dramas of making it tennis tournaments this upcoming week have been nicely covered on Twitter for those of us who feel that life outside a closed down airport just isn’t half the fun. It’s been relatively easy for the boys, who were in the neighbourhood anyway to make it a road or train trip and trundle through the the gorgeous scenery to reach Barca.

Not the same for the ladies, who will have to be anywhere and everywhere over the weekend for the Fed Cup. Vika’s whinge through her car service ride have made the annals of Twitter gold, and also reaffirmed the most important thing: The girl has an iPhone AND a Blackberry. Another piece of random news that we so love over here at Court 13.

So with A-Rad on her way, we just  need to make sure Sammy can pack that big silver cup in her wheelie and turn up to lead the team to victory. With Stubbsy and Alicia making up the rest of the team, all signs point toward what could be a happy shiny time for followers of Aussie tennis.

It finally looks like we have a team that can pull themselves together and get us the win. If Sammy isn’t too tired from the marathon she’s been running over the last week, she should be full of confidence to take on the Ukrainians and get the Aussies a shot back into the World Group team. After also being the first Aussie with 2 WTA titles in quite a few years (I believe Jelena Dokic would have been the last one), she’s made us so happy that it only seems fair that she takes it down the logical route and gets us back on the map, tennis-wise.
My lovely neighbour, Anastasia, who I still haven’t managed to meet down at the shops but will one day, will also be making her Fed Cup debut.

Alicia has made a steady if not spectacular comeback. Our favourite spokesmodel is back in the Top Hundy and even if there’s no Garnier face cream left, she looks pretty damn fantastic, as you do when your name is Alicia Molik.

And with Stubbsy and Sammy, together again as they belong, can anything stop us?

Ah, it’s these scary ladies:

Oops – I neglected to mention the most important team member. With this guy on board, the Bondage Sisters should be sent packing in no time at all.

YES, IT’S SKIPPY!

(Not Casey. She’s not coming this time, Mum said).


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