Olympics Practice

March 12, 2011

Has anyone else looked at the Mens dubs draw for Indian Wells and noticed a scent of something slightly Davis-Cuppy and highly Londoney?

Looks like all the boys have gotten together with their countrymen for what looks to me like a serious Olympics practice time. Seriously, 15 out of 32 teams are all patriotic and homeboyish.

I mean, even Fed is doing it with his mate Stanley, and we know they only do that when there’s a chunky piece of gold necklace on the line.

Spain has about seventeen viable teams, though the only to win a title this year were Tommy Robredo and Granola Bar. Rafa is back with Marc Lopez, provider of doubles titles. Nico and Ferru have teamed up, Montanes is with GGL, and Fernando Verdasco is – not with his usual boytoy bestie Feli Lopez, but Marrero. Seriously? There goes the Davis Cup practiceness.

Other partnerships? Let’s go. Team GB has the Muzza Bruzzas; and Team America has Quizner and the Brybros. Boring.

The Polish mafia are together as always with Frysternberg and Matkowski, and old Israeli chaverim Yoni and Andy have reunited. Julian Benneteau is missing his DC partner Llodra, who’s ignored the theme and stuck with Ziki, but he’s teamed up with Gasquet instead for some Frenchie fun. Cilic and Karlovic are putting every umpire’s tongue to the test, and there’s even a Brasilian team I have honestly never heard of – Soares and Melo? Finally, the Indian Express are still on the Team Reunited Tour, Pico is Argey Bargeying it up with Chela, and the best part – we get the King and Queen of Karaoke Awesomeness, Nole and Troicki.

Lots of bromance, lots of besties, and lots of patriotism in the air. Tastes like a World Cup but I see five rings in all sorts of pretty primary colours.


Wild Thing, I Think I Love You

December 23, 2010

With all the chat going on about wildcards and those that are left (Yes, there are a lot of lovely Aussie boys at challenger-level seeking WCs, and yes, it’s a shame that some have to miss out. Personally I believe a few of them – ahem hem Bernieboy – are capable of doing it through qualies, but that’s enough from me.) and let’s move on to who is actually getting them.

Exciting news today that the French reciprocal is going to hilarious hottie Benoit Paire. Ranked 152nd, the kid’s got game, but that’s highly irrelevant when more importantly for the tennis world, he is brimming with personality and has the looks to match.

Benoit Paire at US Open 2010

Snuggle up, children, for some eye candy of the day and a bednight story from Rishe G. Those who followed my USO exploits may be familiar with this Frenchie for the heartache he put me through one cloudy Friday afternoon in Flushing Meadows, where he stole my heart – or more likely, ripped it away from the Spanish Adonis across the net, who was magically entrancing the gaggle of ladies on the left sideline (the ball was called good). I refer, of course, to round two, when he pushed Feli to five and had us in hysterics. Falling over theatrically and swearing in French at your coach is kinda funny, but kinda juvenile at a Grand Slam event. Motioning to the heavens, the earth and your audience and commentating on every move? It’s bloody gold. Mimicking our cheers of “Lopez, Lopez” complete with eyerolls and carrying on a French conversation as if we were in a Paris cafe had this boy on my list, even if I had to make sure he didn’t beat Feli in the process. Happiness abounds. Feli made it through, Benoit is our new Frenchie fave, and guess who’s coming to Melbourne?
Benoit Paire on-court antics
Benoit Paire, mid-service

Can You See Anything From the Back Row of the Australian Open?

December 22, 2010

Yesterday, this was one of my search engine terms:

And my heart just went out for the poor soul who typed that into a search engine and came across, of all expert webpages, my humble little site.

So let me honour this lovely visitor by divulging everything there is to know about attending AO, and let quell his/her fears in one word: YES.

Yes, you can see from the back row in the Australian Open. Yes, you can see from pretty much anywhere you get seats, even the nosebleeds. Excepting Hiisense (not a favourite of mine, with a few awkward spots blocked by railings and whatnot), you are basically guaranteed a great view wherever you sit.

Don’t believe me? Allow me to show you:
Australia Day at the Australian Open 2009

That, dear friends, is the view we had from the corner of Rod Laver Arena on Australia Day, 2009. It was retirement day; when first Vika Azarenka decided to get sick halfway through kicking Serena’s ass (even extracting some profanity, we love a code violation from Alison Lang); then La Monfils couldn’t make it past bestie Simon due to a bum wrist. The final match of the day was Nadal/Gonzales, and there’s nothing a like bit of “chi chi chi, le le le” to make the nosebleeds feel as good as the box. Honestly, we saw great, and I just want to tell this lovely visitor of mine that he/she is in for a fabulous time. In fact, we were next to a little camera in that back corner, and from then on any shot on TV reminded us that it was coming from “Our Camera!”

So do yourself a favour and get over there. Or have I not explained myself clearly enough?


December 19, 2010

All the cool kids are doing it these days, so I figured we should move this blog into the land of The Facebook, where uploading pictures is as easy as a click and you can all share your wondrous brilliance right back at me.

So check out the Court Thirteen Facebook page, and while you’re there you can see the treat that is pictorial goodness.

Seventy-three tasty images, fresh from M’s camera and my iPhone, taken at the Australian Open 2010. They may be a little grainy, but the moments are pure priceless.

Let us know what you think.

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.

Nole: It Must Be Love

April 14, 2010

Those of you who have been with me from the start may recall that my sisters, M & LP, are my premier tennis partners and in fact the original tennis fans of this family. They may not contribute to this blog physically, but they are influential in the tennis outcomes of this family, and the Nole Love is no exception.

LP will tell you the story of Nole hugging her but that is for a different day and time. This is about Kooyong, and a Day in the Life of Stalking Nole.

First of all, all Non-Nole Pics have been condensed into here

It started at his match, where we lined up to watch him walk in with Tommy. I was desperate for Tommy’s attention – LP was all over Nole.

He played Tommy, and then the stalkerage attempts began.

Signing her tennis ball did not suffice. LP was on a mission, and she found the perfect partner to join her.

After following Nole back to the clubhouse, he was discovered to be pumping those muscles in the gym upstairs. Note the one way glass up on the first floor? He was there all right, because a crowd soon gathered and the Djoker had a grand old time waving at his fans in a queenly fashion. (This was the grass of Kooyong of course, it totally fit.) Most people gave up after a few minutes (I did after a few seconds – Fernando was on court, I have my priorities) but LP and Miss Novak persevered. They even made the lovely signs you see above.

So it didn’t take long for the below video to happen. Yes, we are the girls yelling. And our accents are Aussie. And Nole, totally, loved us.

As expected.

For more Nole pics, try this

A Cultural Experience: Sporting USA

April 13, 2010

A Fish Out of Water

By Dr Suess

In Australia, when little children are born, their parents and family gather around the cradle and croon to them football anthems as lullabies. They dress them in team colours and indoctrinate them with “Go Tigers!” before they are old enough to speak. In the sporting capital of the world, the G (MCG, of course) is hallowed turf, and weekends between March and September are sacrosanct for playing, watching, analysing and attending football matches. Beer in hand, pies chowed down, Melbourne is the sporting capital and I am so proud to be a resident. The Australian Open is no different – or at least, ten pages of this blog acknowledge it to be so – and being an Aussie girl with Aussie tastes, I’ve never known any alternative.
So for this reason I was rapt when on my New York sojourn back in March (I do know its mid April, but there’s a time difference, okay?) I noticed on the streets of Manhattan little WTA-green coloured banners advertising the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean Cup. Not one to miss some live tennis, particularly if it entails a cultural experience, I hightailed it to Madison Square Garden to see how the Yanks do it.
I do want to mention that I found it difficult securing a partner – tennis nerds are often alone in this big bad world – and that’s where the tennisaholic’s best friend, Twitter, stepped in. Shoutout here to the lovely @nichut who set me up with the fabulous @linzsports, as well as the gorgeous @luciahoff, who came to sit with me and keep me company and listen to me utter aloud all the things I would have tweeted if AT&T weren’t so evil about overseas people purchasing data plans.

The whole evening was a cultural experience in a thousand different ways. Aside from the fact it wasn’t a proper tourney – they had mini set ‘semis’ then a final match – I was in a foreign country, in what was technically “Hallowed Turf” – Madison Square Garden.

The match up put me in a conundrum straight away – I was only there to support my adopted sisters, the so-called “Aussie Ana” and “Aussie Kimmy” who we’ve taken on due to their propensity to dating the gorgeous men who hail from our motherland. Kimmy might’ve left Lleyton and his golf clubs behind, but she’s our girl through and through – oh and my first tennis autograph, let’s not forget. Ana’s relationship with Adam is a sore point for those who believe he’s lapped her concentration and she needs to make Nole babies, but it hasn’t stopped the crowds at Melbourne Park adopting her as one of our own. You know we like the hot ones best. Having the two matched up against each other meant I’d have to go Team Sveta in the second semi. Which was totally fine with me. I mean, have you all SEEN her Twitter? It gives me good Russian practice, too.

I suggested to LP as I was departing that an Aussie flag would be nice, for our girls. This was the first of many texts, as being at the tennis without my lovely sister was a cultural experience on its own. LP, a veteran of the US Open herself, was honest about the Yank Sitch (or YS, I as I will refer to it from hereon). Apparently, despite the strategically located stars on the Australian flag, there are many in the North who believe New Zealand, Aussie and UK flags are all the same. No loss, then.

I went before the match to pick up my tennis snacks – an art at Australian sporting events, where meat pies are traditional, concession stands charge a fortune, and my sister M has trained me in bringing picnic baskets from home. So I was rudely surprised when the MSG guards ruined my buzz of “Wow, this is it, Madison Square Garden!” with, “Miss, you can’t take that in here.” My supplications fell on deaf ears and I found myself scoffing my burger and Chiko roll (it wasn’t called a chiko roll but had the same stuff in it, Americans are such copycats) outside the gates before I wisened up and hid them in my voluminous winter coat and assorted weather protective gear. Ah, sometimes I’m slow.

I found my seat and noticed the elderly couple next to me speaking Russian. This is tennis, where you make friends with strangers, so I asked them where they’re from. “New Jersey,” they tell me. “Oh…” I’m shattered. Was hoping they could help me cheer for Sveta with some Davay. I tell them this, and they admit to originating from Russia sometime in the last century. They’re unimpressed with my Davay Sveta cheers for the rest of the night.
I found the lovely Linz, who stood with me while the lights went down, and the music came up. I’m the fish out of water now and it shows. I kept jabbering as the Americans turn all solemn and put their hands on their hearts. Their hands, on their hearts. And the lights are down. There is a spotlight, on the tennis court. A spotlight. Sorry. Needed to repeat that.
The girls come on court, and there are spotlights on their chairs. The player chair, where they’re busy rummaging around their tennis bags and doing all the normal things players do. Except the lights are off, and the cameras are going off, so there are flashbulbs all over the court.

I am in for a totally cultural experience. Instead of Craig Willis with his “Sony Ericsson WTA Tour” voice, going up at the end, I have someone asking me to give a warm Madison Square Garden welcome. I feel like I’m cheating on Rod Laver Arena.

Play begins, and while Ana’s form is not something worth commenting on, she is looking very purdy. The ballkids, on the other hand, not so much. They look like they’ve swallowed some of those magic pills from Alice in Wonderland. They are HUGE. Grown ups. When they need to catch the ball, they jump up and catch it like basketball players.

An announcement is made telling people they can keep the balls that are hit into the stands. The lovely Lynn, always a favourite umpire of mine, starts explaining the rules like we are in kindergarten.

Ana’s ball toss is retarded. I want to buy her a serve for Christmas and wrap it up with a bow. At this time I noticed this was my first time seeing the lovely Aussie Ana. At home, I steer clear of the Serbian army and the Aussie perves who flock to Margaret Court Arena to ogle her beauty. Here, I’m just about the only Ajde-er to be heard in the stadium.

I took a moment to look at my surrounds. My knowledge of Madison Square Garden for many years was limited to a random movie I watched as a kid with Whoopee Goldberg where she tries to coach a basketball team. I was in the arena and fascinated. First of all, the colours. It reminded me a bit of Hiisense arena. Just a little prettier, with plum and teal – my two favourite colours. Very very nice. Then I went on a perusal of the snack bar and discovered Disneyland. They have potato knishes! And crackerjacks, like in the song. And a real live cocktail bar. The hot dogs in America are even different. Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I’m salivating but not particularly interested. There are far more interesting goings on down on the court, where IVAN IS IN THE HOUSE!

I have never seen Ivan before, so this is tres tres exciting for me. The Hall of Fame induction is on, and I’ve taken it upon myself to scream extraordinarily loudly for the Aussies being honoured, in particular the wonderful Woodies. LP, via text, seems to think the Woodies are in the house too. I explain that they are at home taking care of the kiddies who are playing Davis Cup this weekend. Even though it’s Fitzy’s job, we know they like to help out.

Then the last of culinary excitements presents itself: The people coming round serving beer. I can’t even comprehend such an action at the MCG, where they’re trying to limit beer sales if anything. They also play Lady Gaga here. Is Australia the only place where there is no music at change of ends? I kind of enjoy the random commentary, songs and shouting of the RLA/MCA crowds. I can’t imagine music creating the diversion it does here.

The match starts to empty out and suddenly I feel like it’s Rod Laver at 3am all over again. The crowd is majorly behind Venus which is sad for me who is a total Kimmy fanatic. But I do have to say, to echo Linz, how incredible it is seeing everyone out there supporting Venus and getting into something like women’s tennis because of her immense marketability.

Venus beating Kimmy isn’t even too bad to handle when Mary Joe comes out to present the trophies. For some reason I really like this lady, and don’t get to see too much of her in my land. She’s got pretty red heels on, and it seems sacrilegious to see her trotting on hard court with them on. But the girls make lovely speeches, and Venus is exhausted by happy. So I’m cheering Mary Joe and Kimmy, and the rest of the depleted stadium is cheering Venus.

Only final observation? Why do foreign players always say “Congrats?” Is Congratulations not in the elocution lessons repertoire?

All the Aussie Ladies (All the Aussie Ladies)

February 7, 2010

Apparently we should be proud of the fact that our Aussie girls are good enough to be in World Group II. At least we don’t completely suck.

Plus we’ve got Alicia and Casey back in the swing of things, and they’re our girls.

And of course Sammy is there, to give them a talking to when needed.

So we gave Alicia a go, cos that’s what we do. First Rod Laver Arena at Prime Time, then she gets switched from doubles with Stubbsy to a real grown up match.

I didn’t watch the match, but looks like we had some struggles from Our Leesh.

“What was I thinking leaving behind the free facials and spangling sequins for this?”

Leesh did tell Hughesy and Kate one morning before the AO that she prefers playing to commentating. Apparently it’s a breeze – get up and have a coffee instead of going to commentate all day. That might be what she’s thinking right about now.

Our Case didn’t fare too much better.

I’m glad Leesh was there to comfort her.

Don’t get me wrong – I love these girls. They’re our girls, in their Target-wearing, Garnier-slopping, Dancing-with-Stars, AO-video-narrating ways.

But of course Sammy came out, guns blazing, superstar that she is.

Girls, she says, I’ve got this one.

So while Sammy rocked it out on court, Case and Skippy had a look and decided that all is not lost for the Aussies after all.

So the ladies had to try for a doubles match.

Lucky we still have the winning team of Sammy and Stubbsy in the cupboard to pull out when the going gets tough. These girls have won 3 titles as a team and a fair few more with their respective doubles partners so it was a good go from the beginning. They won in straight sets, 6-4 6-2.

We like to pretend we’re good at tennis because for so many years we were. The fact we have a (nearly) top 10 ranked player in Sammy and a huge doubles player in Stubbsy means we got past this one, but what will happen next time?

Come on Aussie, Come On!

Battling Withdrawals: 10 Ways To Pretend You’re At The Tennis

February 4, 2010

So the AO’s over, but you’re all sad like me and can’t believe summer of tennis is over. All is not lost. Get your favourite tennis match queued up on TV, and enjoy the AO experience.

1. Pack your bag

There’s no couch sitting without it. You will need sunscreen – lots of it – water bottles, but of course no glass or cans. On  your way to the couch, allow yourself to be intercepted for a “bag check” by a dimwitted guard who will ask you casually for cans or glass without actually looking. Or worse, someone who insists you empty your carefully packed bag from top to bottom, including your picnic pasta salad and little jar of olives (this did happen to a group of old ladies behind me). Moving along now.

2. Scan your ticket.

Oh wait, you haven’t got an at home ticket scanner. Here’s the analogy, then.

Go to your front door. Ask a random stranger to attempt to open the door ahead of you, using the key to your neighbour’s house (i.e. tomorrow’s session not today’s) and inserting it the wrong way (scanning barcode wrong way up). After twenty five tries and half an hour, give him your key and squeeze in behind him.

3. Time to watch your tennis match.

I know you’ve got a comfy leather couch at home, but now

is not the time. Find a nice solid board – something guaranteed to leave your ass, even the “most famous” of asses, in absolute agony by the end of the day. If you’re a prima donna, you can find a piece of foam – ideally emblazoned in a bright blue corporate logo – to cushion your tushy. This only applies if you’re about to watch a lame, grown up audience match. If you’re planning on joining the party on Margaret court arena, there’s no cushy tushy for you or you’ll be laughed out of the Freakinator section.

4. Feel like a drink?

No worries. First, fill up your fridge with freezing cold beer. Put a lock on the fridge. Add a contraption that only allows you to get a beer if you wait for 26 minutes out front and insert seven dollars of hard earned cash. Beer must be poured in a leaky plastic cup which is completely spilled over by the time you get to your destination. You can sit on the couch with your half full cup of beer knowing that each sip equates to approximately sixty three and a half cents. If you want a snack with that, add another forty two minutes to your wait time, and make sure you pay a minimum of two dollars thirty per bite. It’s the only way.

5. Need the bathroom? Wait. Wait.

Wait. What are you waiting for? Changeover, of course. This, of course is the time that the game will go to seventeen deuces before you can walk out. Go to your bathroom. Then wait. And wait. And wait a little longer. After fourteen minutes in line, you can go in, but make sure there are liberal amounts of unidentified liquid on the floor, crap all over the seat toilet paper everywhere (bonus points if it sticks to your shoe), and none in the actual cannister. No liquid soap either. On your way out, make sure you bump into someone on her way in – sisters can be borrowed as props.

6. Simulate sunburn.

Stand in front of a hot oven for thirty minutes. Sixty or more if you’re game. Rub your skin with sandpaper. Try to make your burnt, raw skin feel better with a tiny dollop of aloe vera that wouldn’t cover a baby’s bum because you’re rationing the stuff. Watch it peel for the next two weeks. That’s right. Two weeks. (Mine is peeling as we speak).

7. Player Stalking.

Go for an hour run up hills, weaving through people, down stairs and across crowds. Make sure that your target isn’t certain – this is because you’ve caught a glimpse, or heard from someone, who heard from someone else, that someone you love is on the other side of the park.

Run for your life. Get there and there is a crowd of a hundred people. Stand on top of a concrete pot plant and nearly break your neck. Catch a glimpse – it’ll look something like this – and declare yourself happy and all your wishes fulfilled.

For extra points, find a glossy magazine that you in no way want ruined or damaged. Try a mint first edition of Great Expectations, but a signed AO Program will do. Insist on holding it out at a certain angle, on a certain page, for a full fifteen minutes, exercising your triceps and squashing any thirteen year old who gets in your way. Lose your precious Nole-fingerprinted Sharpie in the process.

8. Nailbiting.

Get really involved in a five setter. Intensely involved.

Then watch the clock tick over past 12.10 am. That’s it folks – you’ve missed your train. Now you might be at home, but if you want to live the experience properly, it’s not just about toddling into your bedroom when it’s over. You have one of two options:

9. The joys of public transport.

As soon as the clock strikes midnight, make a run for it. Brace yourself for change of ends, then run for your life. Hail the tram out the back, or if you miss it, race as fast as you can, listening to your thongs flip flopping against your sweaty feet as you race past Lexus Centre, Hiisense and MCG carpark. Get to the station and feel your legs seize up on you as you try to climb that last bit, the ramp, while you hear the train honk and know that it’s pulling away from the station.

10. Taxi rank.

Think of the longest queue you’ve ever been in – airport security before a public holiday, maybe? Multiply it by ten, then change the people to the kind waiting outside a club on a Saturday at 3am. Make everyone exhausted, drunk and sunburnt. Wait. Wait. Wait.

That was my attempt at therapy.

But no… bring on the hard seats, the long lines, the toilet queues and the never-ending shuffle inside RLA concourse… bring on the noisy Hellas and the fabulous freakinators in MCA, the nosy corporate attendants and the tired ticket scanners….. the chattering fuchsia-clad ballboys, the towering Russians and flag-clad Serbians, the wannabe wags in homemade singlets and sparkly banners, the foreign coaches wearing passes proudly stalking the grounds, the ITF officials strolling around in fluoro yellow, the dancing penguins in Grand Slam Oval, the “programs programs” kids out front.



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