ClayTastic Bromance

April 18, 2010

Some of you may have noticed that I prefer not to post on tournaments I can’t actually attend. And being that my usual tournament attendance is on the limited side of only one, despite some exos bumping up this year’s frequency I’m still milking the same set of pics/videos from way back when.

Of course this just means you have something more to look forward to because there are still hella heaps of juicy pics and vids from Jan that have only just made their way back into my hot little hands.

However I do want to take the time to comment on the epicness of the week that has passed, and the joy that it foretells. Clay season has arrived, and with it, we are up for a claytastic bromantic time tomorrow with a Rafando final that promises win-win for many of us tennis nerds, particularly those I am familiar with in the Twitterverse.

It also means its time for THIS

Fixating on 8:35 and 8:52 is encouraged.

VAMOS!



Day 4… still no pics. If you read on, I’m impressed.

January 25, 2010

Day 4

I think it’s now become clear to all of you that I can’t stay away from the Aussie Open for too long. On Day 4, I’d decided to be a good grown up and head back to the day job.

That’s until the lovely folks at Betfair offered to send me to the tennis – again – if I tweeted for them. Being that tweeting to me is breathing, it wasn’t hard to make a decision.

This time, I was front and centre on all the action – Corporate gold tickets, four rows from the front on centre court, not far from the baseline. I had lovely views of Nole, Lleyton and Carlos Ramos. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Coming in to RLA was bizarre, it gave me that feeling I usually get halfway through week 2- and only on day 4. It’s that “get me a sleeping bag and find me a tent, I’m moving in kids” feeling. Seriously. Sometimes I go to Melbourne Park during the year for a concert or show and feel like I’m  home again. This time, I had been away less than 10 hours – from 2.30 am after Tomic match, to 11am in time for Novak.

Novak’s been waltzing around quietly for most of week 1, and that day was no exception. He lost it a little in the first set but then kept on waltzing. Or like, hip hop waltzing. I think he liked my Ajde Nole, but the corporates around me thought I was clinical. Do they not speak Serbian?

Chiudinelli has some really vocal supporters right across the way from me. They look like Team Roger with a name change, all red and white like inside out nurses. They’re singing “Q Dinelli” really loudly, which is good, because otherwise I’d have no idea how to pronounce the dude’s name.

I have the best seats in the house –  technically – but the scoreboard is really hard to see. I keep getting them wrong. I think it’s break point, but really we’re right on serve. How embarrassing.

Can’t figure out who’s in the chair. Is it my good mate Enric? I think I’m the only tennis fan who looks out to see who’s in the chair at matches, and a good ump means a good match. Please tell me I’m wrong. I’ll feel much less like a loser.

I’m checking on my phone and I can see Baghdaddy isn’t doing so well against Ferrer. This is not good. However, I’m in Rod Laver on amazing tickets, so I’m not making a sprint to Hiisense to see it. Even though there is nothing like a Hellas fan club chant to make your day.

Aussie Ana’s on Margaret Court Arena, and the shrieks are getting louder. The MCA crowd know how to party, and partying they are. A little check on my phone Scoreboard tells me it’s more like suicidal howls. Then again they may be Gisele fans, which could explain the cheering.

Novak’s finishing up the match but first goes for an “equipment” change. Yes, that means his shoes. Now, I worked in footwear for nearly five years, and last time I checked footwear would go in the “apparel” category. So please, next time, I expect to hear “apparel change”. Thanks, Tennis World. I knew you’d listen.

Novak’s about to  finish off the match, but he decides to take a pisstake at Hawkeye. Classy. I love it.

He clinches the match and it’s time for Aussie favourite Sammy. Now I followed Sammy through many a witching hour through her golden run in Roland Garros, but now that she’s on home soil she’s lost her allure somewhat. At Hit for Haiti, there we had all these glitzy and glamorous tennis players bantering and hitting with the best of the best, and Sammy was like the little lost girl on the edges. Doesn’t mean she isn’t fabulous, but I’m all for cheap thrills and she don’t give ‘em to me. So I bailed, and went to find the Hellas who were sure to give me a good show.

And I did. Now the rules at Melbourne Park mean that Hiisense is available with a  $20 upgrade from a ground pass – but no rules regarding Rod Laver tix. Turns out nothing would help as Hiisense was sold out. So what did this resourceful lady do? Swap tickets with a stranger of course!

All the ladies and gentlemen are sitting outside the food court, watching the match on TV. I start with a general public service announcement: “Is anyone not planning on going bck in to this match?” No answer.

I try again. “If you’re not going back into this match, I’d love to see it. I have tickets to Rod Laver Arena.” I know the Williams girls are both up in the next two matches, and most ticket holders for the day are after Venus and Serena. Not Baghdaddy and Ferrer grunting like old men.

One lady looks up. I start my sales pitch again. I kind of leave out I have RLA tix. She hears me and buzzes. “What if I want to go see Stosur on RLA?” I relent. She looks nice. I haven’t got my phone on me – it’s dead, and charging in the betfair tent. But she looks lovely, and I’m a trustworthy Australian. So we swap tickets and I go on my merry way.

Of course, the Hellas don’t disappoint. I go home that evening with “We just had a barbecue, nowe, nowe” in my head – and for those of you who know the greek words, please don’t ruin it for us – M and L have made up their own lyrics and they’re quite passable in a crowd.

Baghdaddy’s match finishes and I race back to RLA to catch L L L Lleyton. I’ve had a love hate relationship with the man for as long as I can’t remember. He was our golden hope but he was also annoying as hell. He got us in the papers overseas, but for all the wrong reasons. Then he married a soapie star and that just made him all the more irksome. But now he’s playing good tennis, so we like him again. Aah, I’ll never decide.

But the green and gold boys were out in full force, having cheered Sammy to her previous win, and they were gunning for Lleyton. The two rows of USA cheer squad in the house had not a chance. Their cheers reminded me of being in overnight camp. “What’s his name? Donald Young. Where’s he from? USA.” Puh-leeze! Oh, and the “boom boom, dynamite.” That’s straight out of year seven bunk competition.

After Lleyton cleaned up nicely, with a lot of loud COME ON’s making me feel like it was back in 1999, I wanted to head to MCA because beautiful Tommy was battling it out with Tipsy and I really love Tommy. I loved him since Lleyton made him cry, and if anyone knows which match I’m referring to please remind me? It would have been circa 1997-8 methinks. Tommy still won, but Lleyton made him cry. Good times.

Tommy was at Kooyong and I did try to do my stalkery “Tommy! Hi Tommy!” before he went on, but he was too nervous eyeing off Novak against the Channel 7 men. Then he went into his freaking out, talking to himself between points – of which the only word I could understand was a rude German word which shall not be repeated on this blog. I was unimpressed with his language, but agreed entirely with every word – Tommy Tommy Tommy!

Turns out the match was fraught with nervous tension but of course the MCA queues didn’t budget and I didn’t make it in until afterward. Oh wait, except for the two tweens who emerged right at match point. In their little shorts and Australian flag singlets with little handbags perched on their bums, they were all excited for their day at “The Tennis”. But they LEFT the court at MATCH POINT after an epic FIVE SETTER between TOMMY and TIPSY and as such, they should have their tennis watching license revoked from them. They deserve no such privilege.

It was Fenja’s turn on MCA next, but at this stage the exhaustion had set in. For some reason, living in the same timezone as a grand slam is more exhausting – for more details, see previous post. So I watched Fenja play nicely, and I made friends with a lovely Danish/Spanish gentleman sitting next to me. Then I spent a few moments in Hiisense to watch Jo Willie, pushing past all his tween fans but not making it in time for an autograph. Then I figured out what the irritating helicopter had been hovering over MCA – Prince Bloody William!

Turns out all my clever match chasing had let me head to the opposite end of the complex right when the Prince headed to RLA. But who am I kidding, I was still in a 500m radius, so I get something for it right?


Kooyong – The Spiritual Home

January 17, 2010

The Aus Open hasn’t even begun, but already we’ve had two glorious days of tennis that makes me think things can’t get much better than this.  Wednesday at Kooyong was the perfect day, and one which Colin Stubbs should be proud of – it’s a shame the rest of the tournament went a little unplanned. And today’s charity match at Rod Laver was beyond epic. It was the reason I follow this sport. It had every element – the funny bits, the human bits, the amazingly well played shots, and the incredible crowd camaraderie that you only get at the happy slam.

It started on Wednesday, day one at Kooyong. With a lineup of 80% top ten, we figured a day one trip meant the chance to see everyone play, even if it wasn’t at the ‘finals level’. Turns out we made a good decision, with all the withdrawals happening on day two.

As a newbie to Kooyong the exciting factor was all a bit much. First, I got excited because I realised how close to home it was. Then, I got excited with my free cardboard visor from the lovely people at AAMI. Then, I got excited because we were sitting so close to the court. Then some more excitement abounded when I hear Portuguese being spoken behind me and noticed no corporate insignia on the box – clearly we were hanging with Del Potro’s contingent (at this stage still not confirmed)! Then play started, and it was like January was only last week, not a full twelve months ago.

Well, I say that because the smell and taste and feel of being near a tennis court was still just as awesome. But you could tell a lot had happened since last January. Let’s start with the lovely Juan Martin, who strode out to the court with waves and cheers and loped out like the tall man he is. Aside from the US open final, which I had only listened to thanks to an unsympathetic employment situation, the last time I’d seen the man was in the quarters at Rod Laver, where Roger finished him off nicely in the late hours. Not many people stuck around for that match with my little RLA corporate tickets appropriation tactic doing nicely. But it had been a nice match to watch, very balletic on Roger’s part. Seeing Juan twelve months later, he’s come a long way baby. He was unapologetic finishing off Lubjcic, which was fine with our crew who were “sick of” old Ivan after seeing him a fair few years in a row at Kooyong. Each to their own. I was sick with excitement over the fact it wouldn’t be long before I got to view my beloved, Fernando Verdasco, in the flesh. The anxiety came and swirled around, I was like the girl going to Chadstone to queue up to see Taylor Hanson back in 1997.  We went through the motions for the next match. After all, it was time to see Novak, and my co-bloggers on C13 are pretty big fans of Mr Djokovic.

I decided to support Tommy though of course, being the classy lady I am, completely unimpressed with the level of German swearing coming from the south end of the court. Nole played fabulously and that was when M and I realised we would make fantastic careers as tennis commentators. Being that this blog was not in existence at the time, I can’t say I wrote down all the observations we would have loved to share with you… but hey, there’s always next time.

As a newbie to Kooyong, I was warned that come lunchtime, the corporates start getting noisier as the wine is being poured. I realised what was going on when halfway through Tsonga vs Soderling I heard an adamant, “Cash flow mate! It’s all about cash flow!” coming from the box behind me. Corporate entertaining at its best. I think I was still shaken from having been close enough to Fernando in the flesh. Top moment was when Gonzo hit the lineslady and ended up patting her on the end, Fenja hanging over the net shaking in laughter.

I left Kooyong wondering why on earth Aussies don’t come along to what is one of the best tennis days out. Sure, it hasn’t got the flashy excitement of the Open, but if you’re into your tennis, you can’t go wrong. Six out of eight are top 10, the tickets are a mere 30 bucks, parking aplenty, and you get way up close and personal. And for the little teenybopper inside me, I got me piccie with Novak, my autograph from Fernando, and I was happier than a tween at Jonas Brothers. Stay tuned for the accounts of the Kooyong veterans who might have more stories for you. Meanwhile – here are some of my pics. M will fill in with the rest from her talented lens.

Del Potro

When they say the guy is tall... he seriously is damn tall!

Novak Tommy

Novak and Tommy talking to the boys at SevenGonzo in action

Fenja

Up close and personal with The Fenja

Tsonga

Jo Willie and his French utterances


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