An Australian Girl in Paris – Part Un

June 9, 2010

An Australian Girl in Paris – Part Un

Readers of this blog from the January era may recall the thrills and adrenaline experienced every year by myself and my tennis-watching partners in crime, L and M. We stake our claim on Melbourne Park early in Week 1, and by the end of Week 2,we’ve camped out in style and made our way into every court, stadium, nook and cranny.

It’s the dirty time of the year, and I’m on Fabulous Tour of the Universe TM. Which meant only one thing: travel needs to be arranged with tennis in mind. While setting up shop in a sports bar to watch tennis with litres of beer and friendly bartenders has worked until now, for the final weekend of Roland Garros it was time to take it up a notch.

It was time to go to Paris, and view La Vie En Paree. I had to know the important things about the tournament: How much does a beer cost? How pretty are the uniforms? Where are the practice courts and which is Rafa’s favourite? Most importantly, where are the toilets?

One of the most striking things about attending a tennis tournament is the colour. Tennis has embraced fluero colours more than most sports – they’ve got the Day-Glo yellow tennis ball, the flashy fashions on the field – I mean, court – and the sweet hues that rival any Pantone book on the purple Hartru of Indian Wells, the blue Plexicushion of Melbourne Park, and of course, that glorious red dirt at Roland Garros.

The most difficult task, of course, was to attend a tennis tournament without constantly comparing it to my spiritual home and tennis birthplace, Melbourne Park.

Which didn’t suit me when I exited the train at Bois De Bolougne and was bowled away by the colour differences – instead of bright blue and orange, I was faced with luscious dark green, from the trees that line the streets leading to Stade de Roland Garros to the leaves that hang over the walls of the courts. Complemented by the Roland Garros red, the burnt orange clay colour that accents all the logos and shows up brilliantly on the court. The cream of the officials’ uniforms, the muted tones of the Haagen Daaz logo, all scream French, classy, cool and collected.

Arriving at Roland Garros on Friday, I noted the streams of people leaving the stadium but knew that there was still close to a set of tennis left to complete for Jurgen up against my boy Rafa. Turns out the ticket box was closed, tickets can’t be reused, and I was close to tears. Until some well-practiced high school French came to my rescue, and suddenly I had evaded several black suited security guards and was in the holy grail, the region of Roland Garros.

Passing by the Haagen Daaz girls selling ice creams and the everpresent gangs of roaming ballkids, I was in the main circle area between Court 1 and Phillipe Chatrier, where a big screen broadcast of Rafa and Jurgen was in progress. Let’s be honest. I can’t say I saw much of the tennis. There were French men in their jeans, blazers and loafers, lounging around with women in sundresses and cardigans. The volunteers and workers in their cream silky dresses with burgundy sashes and ballet flats stood guard at the entrance to the court with men in cream trousers (trousers are the only word for these) with very RogerWimbledonesque cardigans. Everyone in sight is eating a baguette or smoking a cigarette – usually both. The colours are vivid and dazzling. I’m stunned by the bright green and cream, but what I really want to see is a dark red clay court.

So once the match is over, and Rafa lets Jurgen know who’s boss, I’m negotiating the steps up to Court 5 and photographing the clay through the holes in the cyclone fence. I want to touch it, feel it, even taste it, Francesca-style. I’m in Roland Garros, babies.

Even the rubbish bins have my name on it.

Don’t tell Rod, I’m with Roland Now

June 5, 2010

I’m on a train, biatches.
What kind of train, you may ask?
Oh, the train that is taking me to ROLAND GARROS.
It’s not the same around here. I haven’t got my trusty Sandringham line taking me to Richmond station within eleven minutes, or the baby train that takes my lazy bum behind Hisense to come in the back way through Garden Square.
I don’t have my stack of Ticketek ground passes, printed from the Internet with bright blue logos and black barcodes and folded haphazardly.
I didn’t pack my tennis bag, full of water and sunscreen and food for the way.
I just arrived in the hostel, dumped my bags, asked for directions and hightailed it to the metro.
I’m inclined to consider the MasterCard ad right now.
Metro ticket – free, from a kind couple who gave us all day Paris transport passes at the airport.
Roland Garros tix – who the hell knows?
Sunscreen – I’m still using the free Ambre Solaire we received in our Garnier giftbags at AO09. Sadly, I’m not even kidding.
A beer – exorbitant, but expected.
Being at a different Grand Slam?

See you soon, Roland!


June 4, 2010


Welcome to the jungle, Australia

June 4, 2010

Well, this is pretty exciting.

Being that in the past, my lovely little blog was one of the only mouthpieces of Australian Tennis that I was aware of – even The Age tennis homepage still has Aussie Open pictures on it – (aside from the excellent work they do at which I recommend you all bookmark) – it’s been exhilarating to see all the support creep out of the woodwork for Sam.

Her semi was televised live on free-to-air TV in Oz – far cry from her Round 4 matchup against Serena at the AO, when she was cut short for – let’s get this right – Home and Away.

The guys at SEN, sports radio, 7pm project, Herald Sun and the Age are finally all over it. In fact, I finally got to see something I see rarely outside the Australian Open – a little bit of tennis on the front page of the online newspapers.

That’s how I like it!

Tick ‘Em Off, Sam

June 4, 2010

Last time I posted, I generated a light and easy ‘to-do’ list for our resident superhero, Slammin Sammy – or as she has now been coined, Bullstosur, or whatever else the viewers of the 7pm project decide.

Let’s tick them off, shall we?

– She killed Serena, with blood and guts and gore. Seriously. Serving for the match and being broken? Saving a match point in the third? Finally getting a break at six-all in a no-tiebreak third set? I call it gore, blood, guts, sweat, tears, and sheer awesome.

– She cakewalked to the final, all over JJ, who I for some reason was worried about. I may have been on a plane at the time, so the pure awesomeness of the occasion has not sunk in yet. But she did it.

What’s next, let’s see? I’ll recap from my last post:

– Get a Grand Slam Title.

Let me explain, folks. That’d make it the first Grand Slam for an Aussie woman in a thousand years or ten. When Our Jelena and Our Alicia were doing well, we still didn’t have a GS, and now we have a lady who will be top 6 as of Monday – and highly likely a Grand Slam champ. Up there with Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Margaret Court. I can see the Sam Stosur Arena looking purdy on some Australian tennis centre… or am I getting ahead of myself?

– Make it to the Top 5.
Well, let’s see. I may or may not have spent a considerable amount of my limited, traveler’s time spreadsheeting the maths. And let’s see. Top 6 as of Monday, that’s guaranteed whether she wins the title or not. But top 5? Could be possible by the time we hit the green stuff. Which, for those of you who weren’t listening, is already happening next week. All the sooky boys who lost on the red shiny stuff are already off to Ole Blighty to practice.


Can she do it?

Um, hello. She beat JUSTINE HENIN, on RED CLAY.
She ousted SERENA WILLIAMS, the NUMBER ONE seed.
She thrashed JELENA JANKOVIC, former world no 1 who is going through an EXCEPTIONAL clay season.

Yeah. My girl rocks.

See you in Paris!

Off With Her Head!

June 1, 2010

In case I haven’t said it before, I love Samantha Jane Stosur.

She makes me happy, and makes tennis watching worthwhile.

And she chopped off Justine Henin’s head today, full of blood and guts and gore.

There were those who said Justine was the queen of clay, the ruler of Roland Garros, the leading lady, the future of the French Open, the cliche of the cup.

But Sam had SF points to defend, so she wasn’t going down easy.

It’s attitude and composure time, she sez, it’s time for me to show the universe how awesome I am. Because awesomeness is her middle name.

I didn’t watch the match, but she made me happy.

Next stop, Serena.

Laundry List for Sam:

Kill Serena. Slaughter her with blood and guts and gore, and bundle her out of the tournament, just like the tennis writers always say.

Defend your SF points. Shouldn’t be too hard. Dani or JJ. You can DO it.

– Cakewalk it through the final. Get your first grand slam.

– Make it to the top 5.

– Dominate the universe.

Love my girl.

On This Day…

June 1, 2010

It’s been one year, to the day.

On this day, one year ago, we were reeling from a change in the natural order of things. It was this day in 2009 that the world order changed and we were unsure how, or why, or who had allowed such a thing to happen.

Rafa was losing a tennis match. He was losing, a tennis match, on clay. He was losing, a tennis match, to a formerly barely-known top 50 player, Robin Soderling. He was losing, a tennis match, on clay, to Soderling, in his own backyard and living room, at Roland Garros.

We cried. We held hands in solidarity and took to Twitter to ensure it was real life and not a parallel universe. We changed livestreams in hope that we had ended up in a livestream wormhole but were found to be firmly within reality. We ranted on Facebook and spurred a Roger/Rafa debate of epic proportions among the tennis watching laymen of the universe. We fell asleep at 3am, clutching each other with tears and disbelief. It was 2009, and the Rafa era had shifted.

So on this day, being that it was before the Twitter days, I thought I’d show you an (edited) version of what the girls from Court Thirteen were up to, on my facebook page. EnYoy.

Rishe does rafa have a booboo tummy or something?
June 1, 2009 at 12:58am • Comment • Like

Mushka me thinks maybe
perhaps he has pain in his most famous ass?

June 1, 2009 at 12:59am •

Freda i think the wedgie pulling is a compulsive thing.
June 1, 2009 at 1:01am •

Rishe im looking for dodgy random pubs with foxtel
June 1, 2009 at 1:02am •

Mushka world number one mallorcan adonis has earned his right to pull wedgies. rogers compulsive tucking hair behind ears into headband routine is resemblant to maria shrieka sharapova….go figure
June 1, 2009 at 1:04am •

Rishe hahaha freda and mushka, rafa vs roger… bring it on!!!!!!
June 1, 2009 at 1:04am •

(Please note the remainder of the Rafa/Roger debate has been removed as it is not vital to this conversation. I also want to protect my friend Freda’s credibility as a human being.)

Mushka ive virtually infected my laptop with viruses trying to find a LIVE STREAMING LINK THAT DOES NOT PAUSE EVERY FIVE SECONDS
June 1, 2009 at 1:06am •

Rishe soderling fifty friggin four winners, ouchhhh
June 1, 2009 at 1:08am •

Rishe ok i found a link but its insanely slow and commentary in portuegese.. apparently the US isn’t showing the match live either so 17,210 viewers are all watching this dodgy link from peru…
June 1, 2009 at 1:16am •

Leah oy va voy
rafale rafale
if you dont win fete toni might have to give you a spanking, on your famous ass!
June 1, 2009 at 1:21am •

Rishe LEAH PESHA… u made me cry
June 1, 2009 at 1:23am •

Rishe leah welcome to the world outside my limited profile
June 1, 2009 at 1:25am •

Leah shplikering?
June 1, 2009 at 1:26am •

Rishe potentially two games from the biggest upset in history… I THINK SO!
June 1, 2009 at 1:26am •

Leah i just got my tennis tummy ache..
June 1, 2009 at 1:27am •

June 1, 2009 at 1:28am •

June 1, 2009 at 1:29am ••

Mushka sympathetic nrvous systems is out of control
June 1, 2009 at 1:30am •

Rishe ok good i think rafa has the set
can i go toilet now?
June 1, 2009 at 1:32am •

Mushka u’ll have to kick leah off and beat me to it!!
June 1, 2009 at 1:32am •

Mushka DAMN
toilet postponed
June 1, 2009 at 1:33am •

Leah get with it rish
June 1, 2009 at 1:33am •

Mushka cause u had a bad day (8) say what u liiike and how does it feel one more timee?
June 1, 2009 at 1:34am •

Leah lol
just heard you guys running upstairs
was like facebook live
June 1, 2009 at 1:35am •

Rishe can u hear me laugh w hen u say something funny?
June 1, 2009 at 1:36am •

Rishe rafa keep slooking at fete toni naughty naughty
June 1, 2009 at 1:37am •

Mushka hahahah
time for prayer ya recks?
June 1, 2009 at 1:37am •

Mushka ok i dont know what to do now
out of witty comments….
rafa rafa RAFA
June 1, 2009 at 1:40am •

Mushka THEORY – all the players i chose to ‘follow’ in that box on are all out….and rafa is hanging by a thread…..
June 1, 2009 at 1:41am •

Leah yeah, ana ivanovic GONE
June 1, 2009 at 1:42am •

Leah ooh ooh
its my fav
June 1, 2009 at 1:42am •

June 1, 2009 at 1:43am •

Mushka what type? orange? apple?
June 1, 2009 at 1:43am •

Rishe this would be amazing tennis to watch right now. forget the result i wanna see the shots!!
June 1, 2009 at 1:43am •

Mushka love the french
“trente – quinze”
June 1, 2009 at 1:44am •

June 1, 2009 at 1:45m •

Rishe sHIT.
June 1, 2009 at 1:45am •

Mushka cant breatheeee
cant breaaaaaaaaaaaaht
June 1, 2009 at 1:45am •

Leah he is yellow he is blue
he is about to say boo hoo
June 1, 2009 at 1:46am •

Leah go loser go
June 1, 2009 at 1:46am •

Rishe is this a match point tie break?
June 1, 2009 at 1:46am •

if soderling gets up a break!
June 1, 2009 at 1:47am •

Rishe OUCH
June 1, 2009 at 1:47am •

Mushka k time to get into the same room and hold each other children…
this is no time for being separate
unity, come on
June 1, 2009 at 1:47am •

Mushka stupid crowd
June 1, 2009 at 1:48am •

Leah fault… make it a double
June 1, 2009 at 1:48am •

Rishe my room
June 1, 2009 at 1:48am •

Leah just heard mushka go
so i guess im up
June 1, 2009 at 1:48am •

June 1, 2009 at 1:49am •

Mushka im in full fight flight General Adaptation Syndrome arousal stress response
June 1, 2009 at 1:49am

It’s been 365 days of tears, tension and difficulty, until only one month ago, the joy returned to our lives. Rafa will be avenging that merciless slaughter on Phillipe Chartrier this time last year. And all of us Rafalovers, throughout the world, will watch, and smile, and clap our hands with joy. And let us say, Amen.

Where have all the cowboys gone?

May 31, 2010

There’s a reason we love clay, which may have been enumerated once or twice in this article.

Our Spanish boys are usually running wild this season, taking down opponents ad, deuce and centre. (Sorry, lame tennis joke had to be done). This season, we’ve had David Ferrer in the hotseat, making the semis in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, and the final in Rome. His results on clay this season would arguably be second only to Rafa and Nando – but where has he gone? Oh wait, that was him losing to Jurgen Melzer in the third round of the CLAY SLAM?

And what about the other boys – Juan “Pico” Monaco and Juan Carlos “paperface” Ferrero?

Oh, so THAT was Juan Carlos losing to Robbie Ginepri in Round 3? Don’t get me wrong – readers of court Thirteen from way back may recall that these girls made up the two-woman cheer squad for Mr Ginepri in his first round exit from the AO 2010. We embrace our American roots, and we cheer for Robbie. Unless he is playing a Spaniard on clay. In which case, he has no business winning. None whatsoever! But props to him. Just don’t beat Nole. Please? Ta.

As for Pico, I don’t even know. His match was so long ago it’s escaped my memory. Something about a first round upset. Upset, indeed. My dirty cowboys are all gone.

Anyone else for a citizenship?

May 31, 2010

Week 1 of Roland Garros has been particularly exciting for the Aussie patriots among us – oh wait, that IS us. Because we’ve had two beautiful fairytale stories, and one of them isn’t over yet.

Earlier this year, Australia welcomed two new girls to our stable of tennis players. They’d both had the good fortune of learning to play and becoming professional in the greatest sport in the world – already a great start. Then, this profession enabled them to travel to the greatest country in the world – you may have heard of it, considering they play some rather important tournaments there. Then, they were privileged to fall in love with men from said country, which enabled them to receive citizenship to this fabulous nation.

So now we have Our Jarka, aka Jarmila Groth, and Our Rodi, aka Anastasia Rodionova, playing under the flag and making us proud. Anastasia has donned the Green and Gold for Fed Cup, and after her results this week, Jarmila can’t be far behind.

While Jarmila had to get past the one-legged Dinara-slayer Kimiko Date-Krumm, it was Rodi who had the real upset in the previous round by taking out the mild-mannered and elegant lady Bepa Zvonareva. Both girls met in the third round in what could only be considered fabulous for Australian tennis, yet meant that unfortunately only one could make it through.

Jarmila saw it out and is now one of only 4 wildcards in history to make it to the 4th round of Roland Garros. She faces the just-missed-out-on-seeding Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova in the 4th round… but we at Court Thirteen reckon she has a good chance of quarters… if not semis.

Which makes me ask all the other little boy tennis players out there in Aussieland… how about ensnaring some more hard-hitting, beautiful-looking, sweet-tweeting tennis playing lasses on tour? Citizenships available… we love our girls.

La Vie A Paree

May 31, 2010

Hello, ladies and gents, and let’s give a warm welcome back to Court Thirteen.

For those of you following Twitter, you would be aware that tennis watching has not been a ball for the Court Thirteen crew lately.

It’s been a mixture of the Roland Garros iPhone app livescoring, Twitter score reports from the twennis community, and the occasional benevolent sports bartender who has been generous enough to play tennis on the plasma while feeding me beer, wine and onion rings.

The tennis watching hunt began in Thailand, where the kind waitresses and manager at The Islander Bar, Chaweng, Koh Samui enabled me to view the Madrid Fedal final in luxury and joy – albeit slight humidity. I had my jug of pink cocktail and tennis on the big screen, and Rafa beat Fed for the first time in 11 months.

In Jerusalem, the tennis watching hunt has stepped up. For the first time, I am getting used to being in the same timezone as my tennis. It means all day activities are pushed aside as tennis watching becomes paramount – or does it?

With my favourite sports bar only opening at 7pm, its meant that the Roland Garros iPhone tracker has become my best friend, and that my tennis watching hours are limited. However, as Court Thirteen does, I will bring you the highlights of week one, and snippets for week two. Because this weekend brings a very special surprise. Stay tuned.

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