Court 18, The Home of Ajde

January 21, 2011

Whispers have recently been circulating the universe reinforcing my theory that “Hiisense has a weird vibe”. Turns out, not only does this concrete monolith, complete with schoolteacherly-strict usher and annoying “obscured-vision” areas, feel like a cross between a high-school basketball court and a university lecture hall, but it’s also taken a penchant for murdering Serbians in cold blood.

The MO’s been the same each time. The first victim, Ana Ivanovic, was the guinea pig. Give her the first set, let it be clear she is kiling it. Let it be clean, let it be good, let the universe assume that it’s safe to sit back. Then comes the next part. Make it tight, make it tough. And finally, at the end, let her lose the battle.

The same followed yesterday with Janko, and let’s just say it was heartbreaking. I’m not tennis journo so I won’t go into the details, but let me just say, anyone who watched carefully will know that jANKO WON THE MATCH. There was a point, called long, at match point. It wasn’t challenged, because there were no challenges remaining. The TV replay showed it in. It was called out. Nuff said.

As for the rest, Bojangles went the same way today. And tomorrow, Viktor and Nole will go at it. Rumour hath they will both be bloodied, bruised and dead before it’s all over.

So here’s my suggestion. It’s not a long walk away, just a tiny bit smaller. I’m talking COURT EIGHTEEN.

Court Eighteen isn’t a favourite court for the Australian Open fan, though it damned well should be. It’s stuck in the End of The Universe region, on the Hiisense side in the cluster of courts 16-22. It’s a handy visitation point, being next door to the legendary Courts Sixteen and Seventeen of Practice Porn fame.

It’s also the ideal place for Serbian victories, as evidenced by the following:

Round 1: Bojana Jovanovski, d. Kai-Chen Chang, 7-5, 6-1

Round 1: Viktor Troicki, d. Dmitry Tursunov, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0

And I think Janko’s scores say it all…

Round 1: Janko Tipsarevic, d. Mischa Zverev, 6-3,, 6-1, 6-4

Round 1: Janko Tipsarevic/Bjorn Phau d Ivan Ljubicic/Lovro Zovko, 6-1, 6-4

My recommendations: Play Nole and Viktor on Court 18, together. They’ll be flowering and blossoming and making pretty tennis babies by the end of the match. Or, you know, crooning to one another in wigs. Because we haven’t seen that before.


Sitting Still: Dmitry Cheer Squad Recruitment Drive

January 18, 2011

Contrary to popular opinion, a grand slam is often less about tennis watching than tennis hopping. As the previous post’s account of my morning will attest, there’s too much awesome. Too much awesome, everywhere. From players practicing to bands playing, TV and radio roaming around and giveaways and games all over the shop, the distractions are endless and it’s impossible to even bother sitting still.

So you do a little bit of the roaming, stopping by matches, hanging outside practice courts, and sitting in the sunshine with a beer.

Until a real favourite comes along, and it’s time for DEAR. Drop everything and run.

Which is what I did when Court 13 favourite Dmitry Tursunov was scheduled on Court 18 in his first round match, up against another favourite of ours, Viktor Troicki. It’s a toughie in this situation, but as always, Dima won out. L saved us seats and I managed to tear myself away from Albert “if he fixed his teeth he’d be hot” Montanes and Dustin “no longer a Jamaican” Brown to harness all aspects of Russian, American and recently, Melburnian pride to help a dude out. Dmitry, that is.

We watched him for a long time. I may have even avoided tweeting and avoided photographing.

Just watched.

There’s nothing like a quiet afternoon match to break up the hecticness of the first few days of a grand slam. Instead of racing from match to match, you’re sitting in a quiet corner, basking in the breeze and sipping your beer. That’s how I’ve always imagined it, in the months that stretch from slam to slam, but this year I had chilly winds, sporadic raindrops, a bizarrely-placed baby carriage in front of me, and an irritating Serbian army to mar, if not completely ruin my buzz.

Never mind. Dmitry was there to pick it back up again.

Viktor’s post Davis-Cup headshave has grown in a little, giving him a little less of a serial killer look. Team Serbia teammate Nenad Zimonjic was in the audience to support him too.

L ditched me several times to peruse the practice courts to no avail. Apparently people preferred to wait for 40 minutes and stare at an empty court, though.

Viktor took a nasty tumble and needed an MTO.

We made signs out of our Optus signs.

And I finally elicited a few more cheers for Dmitry from the crowd. That’s progress, methinks.

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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