We Go Together (Like Rama-Lama-Kama)

January 28, 2011

So for those of you who haven’t yet had the joy of checking out Ziki and Miki, as they will now forever be known, I made sure to check them out before they were sadly derailed by the Indian Express. (Terrible analogy, I know). Every Indian in the Melbourne metropolitan vicinity descended on Margaret Court Arena, and the Serbian army were sadly nowhere to be found. I inched closer and closer to the player box in the hope of hearing a bit of “Ajde, Ziki!” and “Allez, Mika!” to keep me going. Along with several disturbing Davis Cup images that had me clapping more and more furiously and anxiously nailbiting as they ended up going down to Bhupathi and Paes, together again as the Indian Express.

But all is not lost. For those of you curious about this new partnership, let me confirm. It is all sunshine and rainbows and joy.

They even mimic each other’s moves.

See?

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Mikey Art

January 20, 2011

I’m proud of my lack of photography skills. So proud that I continue to bring you all my auto-focused, 7-mega-pixel, pointed-and-shot-the-hell-out-of, blurry pics just so you can feel that you were there with me. Because, just so you know, even real life doesn’t look as tasty as those gorgeous, colour-enriched Getty pics.

But here’s a clincher that was so purdy I thought I had to share it with y’all. Mikey Llodra, you guys.

Michael Llodra

Michael Llodra

Turns out I haven’t yet grasped the talent of switching off the flash during twilight matches (because every player wants a bit of flash in their eye during play, clearly) and actually getting a clear shot. Though a lovely time was had by all. The entire universe, particularly every Frenchie in the world, was over at Margaret Court Arena cheering Australian favourite Tsonga against Petz. Just across the way, a few random Frenchies, even more random Aussies, and of course us were busy watching Mikey take on Chela, who we love to hate. My first time seeing Llodra live, and I loved it. Unlike Paris Bercy, when I felt seasick due to his quick volleys on an indoor court, or the Davis Cup final in Belgrade, that ended in tears, this Mikey match was a joy to watch. Love his style of serve-and-volley and it definitely makes entertaining tennis.

Shame about his loss to Milos Raonic today, but I’m down for watching him in dubs. With Nenad. NENAD!


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.

Word Of The Day: AJDE

December 7, 2010

It’s no secret to those of you familiar with us that we have a penchant for anything Eastern European, especially in tennis.

Maybe it’s Grandma’s Russian blood that has us Davay-ing left right and centre for Misha, Dima and Kolya (Marat needs no explanation, obvs) but it’s a little inexplainable what’s drawn us to Ajde left, right and centre.

The boys of Serbia have been mates of ours since way back when. LP will tell stories of Novak hugging her and handing her his towel, and I’ve already shown y’all the fabulous footage where we sang back to him the joyous Christmas songs.

Ajde became a favourite when, drunk on joy and nothing else (true story) following Rafa’s triumph at AO 09, we roamed around Melbourne Park taking what are now famously our ‘farewell’ pics on the last night we attend the AO. We pose by the Rod Laver Arena sign, we frolic around garden square, and even farewell our favourite toilets (for the record, the ones by Court 10 are totes the best).

On asking some lovely fellow spectators to photograph us, we noticed a foreign accent, and always up for making new friends at the tenny, discovered they were Serbian.

SERBIAN! Sez LP and M, eyes open wide.

Indeed, was the reply.

We of course asked for Serbian words, and were given a full rundown on the word Ajde. Apologies to those Ivanovic fans who have been familiar with the vocabulary for years on end – we were new to it, in all honesty, and fell in lurve with this delicious new vernacular.

We’ve been Ajde-ing ever since.

And never louder than during yesterday’s triumph.

Apologies to my Brooklyn neighbours who may have been bewildered at the noises coming through the thin walls. YES, YES, JUST LIKE THAT! I shrieked. AJDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Came a long, loud utterance.

Yes, babypies. We did it. Serbia are the Davis Cup champions, and LP and I, along with most of ‘my’ known Twitterverse (apologies to the lovely Lindsay), couldn’t be more rapt.

The boys were pretty happy too. Callin’ a bad bromance?

Here’s our Vik.

Despite it being a well-publicised fact that the boys planned to shave their heads if they won, Janko wasn’t so sure about it.

But the shaggy crop is gone, and instead we have lots of gorgeous baldies. Anyway, we saw him with that beanie during the match. He needs nothing framing the face, my hairdresser will agree.

Oh, and we love Nenad too, I promise. It’s easy to lose focus on the stalwarts of the team when heroics pull you through (think Janko in the semis, and all the three years of playoffs to get to this point), but while Viktor may have been riding high, we have all the other boys to thank. I’m going to put it out on a limb and say that aside from Nole pulling them through in singles rubbers, every friggin’ time, he also needs to be recognised for being there as an inspiration for the team. Nole’s success in slams was definitely something that would have taken this otherwise average team and propelled them to the top, knowing they can do it. There’s no shortage of talent there either – let’s hope Nenad’s doubles awesome teams up nicely with sad Mika Llodra, who bawled his eyes out yesterday and made even the most hardcore Serbian supporter melt for the poor Frenchies. So I will end with congratulations to them, for doing well and all, and then…

Let’s end with a word from the wise, shall we? Janko Tipsarevic, Speccie-Wearing PHD of all that is techno, speaks:


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