Matte or Dewy?

March 18, 2011

This video is wonderful for many reasons, including the view of Indian Wells, a tournament that is growing on me to the extent I’m considering planning a nice little tennis holiday next year this time. It’s also got a Hi from Kei, and if you look ruhlly ruhlly closely at 3.08, a pretty lady in a ponytail who may or may not be Ana Ivanovic warming up.

How much would you give to be the makeup artist so artfully patting gel in Delpo’s spikey ‘do…. Or spongeing Tomas with what we can only assume would be foundation of the dewy type. I’d recommend a liquid-to-powder formula, personally.

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.

The Other Side of Town: Practice Pics, Day 1

January 18, 2011

Day one of the Australian Open. No more pretending. Usually Day One arrives and we race onto the premises like thirsty men gasping for water, after a tennis-deprived year. Come today, it was all of a sudden a lot simpler. A week of rain-drenched qualification rounds, a heritage session at Kooyong and an epic tennisgasm at Rally for Relief, and all of a sudden it didn’t seem so strange to waltz toward Melbourne Park at 2pm instead of the recommended 11am.

It’s amazing how much more Grand Slam watching is possible when not actually at a Grand Slam. So this morning, instead of racing between courts and beginning the inevitable descent towards Grand Slam Battery Drain TM, I sipped my coffee, caught up on my life, and watched split screens with IBM Slamtracker and several streams.

2pm, on the premises. Sauntering through the Hiisense gate. Apparently, people still haven’t figured out that it’s okay – actually, recommended – to enter through the gate at Hiisense even with a ground pass. The lines are much shorter, you walk straight indoors, and most importantly – you get to substitute the long, boring (except for the cool bits when you get to play “Recognise the Herald Sun sports editor” on their way back to the train) walk along Olympic Boulevard with a stroll through Grand Slam oval to get from Hiisense and Courts 16-22 to the bulls’ eye, Rod Laver, MCA and the rest of the gorgeous plexicushion surfaces of blue.

Being in the Hiisense neighbourhood also affords you the opportunity to visit an area I often neglect in my Australian Open visits – the hallowed practice courts of Courts 16, 17 and I believe 19. These babies are all the way on the other side of town, but they’re way juicy. The big guys practice there all day long, and you’re often bound to catch a glimpse of Rafa, Roger, Nole or Andy.

Or no one. For precisely 40 minutes today, while I twiddled my thumbs anxiously alongside Mrs Tipsy and a Serbian tennis-related person (best description ever), L constantly ran out to Court 16 to “see who was out there.”

Turns out no-one, except for a swelling crowd… waiting… and waiting. Staring at an empty court.

Lucky we got in early and had the chance to check out these guys in practice:

Milos Raonic

So I went to this practice session thinking it was Dmitrov, and had this post written up that it was him. Turned out I kept my eye on the right guy, because this kid ended up making it through the tournament doing something good, but honestly, I’m horrible at recognition. I just like to pretend I got there first and discovered him while he was fresh. As us tennis fans are wont to do. Thanks to @naughtyT and @grassisforcows for recognising the error of my ways.

Victoria Azarenka

This portion is proudly brought to you by “Silence the Haters” association.

Vika is awesome. She’s gorgeous, she’s funny, she’s sweet, and she’s wearing a lovely pink kit this tourny.

And she was hitting the shit out of that ball. That’s my tennis insight for the day.

With my little practice perve done, I was ready to mosey through the new, bigger and better Grand Slam oval – a great place to take the kids and family, actually – and join civilization on the other side.

Where I promptly encountered this gentleman, to find my heart skipping a beat (or about seventeen beats) and my eyes fill with tears. Sorry, fangirl alert.



He’s back.

I cried.


Holiday Candy

December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays to all my Court Thirteen lovelies!

I haven’t forgotten about dishing out the pressies either, so here’s some tasty treats for you to chew over during the long weekend.

Fernando Verdasco, doing what he does best: Strutting. Papped at AAMI Classic Kooyong. (Photo credit: M)

Juan Martin Del Potro, biceps triceps deltoids, oh my

JMDP. That wrist doesn’t look too sore there now, does it? Biceps, triceps, delts, oh my!

Djokovic, Federer, Nadal

Our world, summarised. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Novak Djokovic

Feliciano Lopez



Oh My Little Llama!

May 5, 2010

For days the whispers have been getting louder, and that sinking feeling in our stomachs has been getting stronger. Only three days ago on this very site, I mentioned a tribute to our darling llama Juan Martin, who’s been out of commission for way too long and needs to get well better soon! The rumours the damage was more intense have been circulating for a while now and today it was confirmed – Delpo will be having wrist surgery today, and could possibly be out for the rest of the season.

For this lady on Court Thirteen, my first live encounter with the Llanky Llama was at the AO 2009 quarterfinal. While Fed didn’t give the boy much of a chance, it was the first time I’d seen him play, and I found him to be quite the adorable one. He went home that night, but I hadn’t forgotten him, and watched like a proud Mama on my little Livescore box that morning in September. (USO sucks for time differences, I don’t think I’ve watched a match in years – just FYI). At Kooyong this year, the clever ladies at Court Thirteen in charge of scheduling (here’s looking at you, @Laypesh) decided we would attend on day one rather than day two.

Let us now be grateful to the genius of L, who ensured that we saw JMDP in what was to be his only appearance at Kooyong before pulling out to save the wrist – THAT GODDAMN WRIST. That same wrist that had him struggle to Blake over in Hiisense, while poor Mama was only metres away in RLA, watching Juzzy and Lena battle it out in the Round 2 QF. Thanks to the Australian Open iPhone app, we were able to ascertain he’d despatched Jimbo and were certain he’d make it all the way down.

Alas twas not to be, and one gorgeous summer afternoon at Hiisense, the boy showed Marin he just didn’t have the stamina anymore. He headed home with his wrist in tatters, and we haven’t seen hide nor hair of him since.

Here are ten reasons you should all grab your prayerbooks and hope for a speedy recovery for Mr Juan Martin:

10. He’s a little llanky llama with awesome delts.
9. Adorable half smile on said llama face.
8. His heavily accented English gives good presser.
7. His Spanish gives even better presser.
6. Oh yeah, he plays tennis too.
5. And he’s not too bad at the sport, if I may say so myself.
4. He managed to beat Rafa in a grand slam, and, even more importantly, stayed off the shitlist. Cos we love Delpo.
3. He beat Roger Federer.
2. He beat Roger Federer, in a grand slam.
1. He beat Roger Federer, in a grand slam final.

How can you not love the guy?

Get well better soon, Juan Martin!

Note: Pics copyright by my not-so-talented-self and the lovely M.

Infirmary Update: Miss You

May 3, 2010

Once upon a time, when man was first created, G-d gave them bodies, and fingers, and toes, and arms, and legs. The bones were covered in skin, and muscles, and sinews, and all kinds of other important things that helped man do what he does best.

But there was a rule to having bones, and skin, and sinews, and muscles and other stuff. That rule was that you needed to look after this body of yours, and if you wore it out too much – it would start to break.

Your muscles could tear, your bones could break, your skin could blister and bruise, and worst of all, if you used them too much, your tendons could seize up and give you that dread itis.

Which was all well and good if you were a farmer and needed to look after your land, cos the nice man next door might hop over and take over. Or if you were a hunter gatherer, because you could stay home in your cave and get tended too by the ladies while your next door neanderthal brought home the beef.

But if you were the champion javelin thrower, or gladiator, or fencer, you were in a spot of bother, because it meant time off your beloved sport, and thousands of disappointed fans who’d fill the ampitheatre only to discover it was that second rate dude again instead of the drawcard.

And so it is in that modern game we like to call tennis. With an increasingly harsh and demanding season, the complaints against which grow stronger every day, we’re losing our best men, and the fans are crying out in frustration. You heard the guys like Andy Roddick and Rafa whinge about it in nearly every presser, and rightfully so – and you hear the good folks of the tennis loving universe moan in frustration over the buzz of the Twitterverse.

Bring us back our men, we shout! Let them fight the good fight, and prevail! Heal their aching wounds and repair their damaged flesh. Let them once again take to the courts of Gay Paris, or Olde England, or even just Grandma’s crappy overgrown grass court out the backyard. Let them play, let them show us the love, because for heaven’s sakes we miss them.

There’s my boy Juan Martin. Update from @TennisReporters today is that he may need wrist surgery and could be suffering panic attacks.

(Pics copyright by @mooshime, Aami Classic 2010)

Lovely Tommy, who took the time to get engaged, get naturalised, but not to get that new hip working the way it should.

My favourite Russian, who endeared us with his adorable pressers and then left us hanging. Guess Irina’s happy he’s around more.

Tiny pic, but that’s how he looked the last time I saw him. Losing 12 games in a row to Fed. In full chokage mode at the time. Dude, I don’t care if you keep choking, just come back to me!

Oh and honorable mention to Dima. Fix your feet, defend Eastbourne and try to stick around the top, say, 500? Otherwise professional cocktail making and DJing might be your bread and better.

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