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.

Practice Porn

January 16, 2011

Friday dawned fine and sunny… oh no wait, that’s a lovely start to a story but I can’t take my poetic license *that* far. Friday dawned in that fine way Melbourne does, with rain and clouds and a helluva lot of showers, basically waving the wet in the face of all the tennis-watching and tennis-playing hopefuls at Melbourne Park and snickering as they donned boots and jackets and brought umbrellas to the site… and waited for the clouds to clear.

That’s what happened on Thursday, and in a very un-Melbourne-like fashion, the clouds never cleared. Friday however, Lady M was back to herself, and showed us her favourite trick. At 12.36pm precisely, the clouds parted and – hola – what on earth is that? Oh yes. Blue skies. And LP’s carefully selected outfit of black tights, boots and a lovely cardigan over her dress was deemed obsolete as it was suddenly tennis weather again.

I love my city, and I adore the concept of Four Seasons in a Day. If anything, it’s great for scaring tourists. I was kinda prepared this time, not even getting dressed until the sunshine arrived.

And it was Melbourne Park time again.

First stop for qualies, we visited Miss Sabine Lisicki. A Twitter favourite of mine and sadly missed during 2010.

Sabine Lisicki

Highlight of the match was all the orange-clad people sitting next to me, who I proudly told LP next to me “Ooh look, Dutch people. Wearing orange” only to realise that we were, ahem, at a Dutch girl’s match. Brain scientist, I tell you. Sabine was also lovely and sweet and won her match and smiled at us and said hi when we congratulated her. All sweetness.

While the qualies had all been carefully scheduled for Courts 1 – 14, on the main side of Melbourne Park, closer to Garden Square and Rod Laver, Courts 16 – 22, namely the famed Court Sixteen and Court Seventeen, were being used as practice courts for the hallowed faces of our sport. They were accessible to media only.

That is, until a full day’s backlog – thank you, Mother Natch! – had the schedule filled to the brim, and including Courts 18-22 on the schedule. Which meant? What’s that? Oh yes, why wouldn’t we stake out Court 16 and see who might grace us with their presence?

As we did. Practice porn for y’all, namely in the form of one Deliciano (we passed Judy, heading in the other direction. Clearly she’d already her fill.)

Check the calves.

Question: Will I ever have too much Feli on this blog?

Actually not enough. Though aside from the multiple female complaints regarded his shirted state, LP and I were riveted by the hairstyle. A little half bun, secured by a headband? Cleo should help us recreate that look.

On the other side of the court, we were riveted to see none other than the Evil One himself, Mr Robin Soderling, performing an exercise that I am only familiar with due to a particularly slave-driving personal trainer who coined them “knee highs”.

But you can call them whatever you want. Because tee hee hee, he looked really funny.

We sauntered over to another court, checked out Simone Bolleli, the famous Grigor Dimitrov, and were about to head over to another side of town – when we dropped past Court 17 (home of our favourite concrete potplant, perfect for climbing to catch a glimpse of a crowded Rafa practice) to find none other than this lad:

The argyle has totally grown on me. To quote the girl next to me, “It’s growing on me as we speak.” It kinda suits his little Scottish personality, and it’s weird to imagine that it’s all athletic and dri-fit – it looks like it belongs on a sweater alongside the crackling woodfire hearth in ye olde highlands of Scotland. So I like.

Let me just say, for lovers of all things Muzza. I haven’t seen the boy up close – really, ever – and I liked what I saw. A few little new sideburns, a little bit of ranga coming through, and some bee-yoo-tee-ful tennis. I’m not going to pretend I understood what he was trying to work on, but he looks well and ready to get over that hump he faced last year. And it was hot, and his vampire skin held up real well. Which is always important.

And then he drank some water. Or maybe Powerade.

Gatorade, perhaps?

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