M and I spent a wonderful day in Cincinnati yesterday at the Masters Tennis Tournament. I love going to tennis tournaments. You get to see so many people!! It's funny how my years in Pat's office in Memphis left me pretty much immune to being starstruck, but it's still fun to get to see the players that I watch on TV! You'll all have to indulge me as I recap every moment of our fabulous day...
First lesson, if you're not sure if someone is famous, watch for a gaggle of children with Sharpies. Somehow, a seven-year-old will recognize even the number 86 player in the world even though we can't. Maybe it's because all seven-year-olds are on Ritalin? Does that have something to do with it? I digress.
When we first arrived, we were walking around to get a feeling for the tennis center's layout. Mainly, where are the practice courts? As we're walking, I hear a kid that's walking in the opposite direction say, "there's Tim Henman." I turn around, and sure enough, he's walking right at us, just a few steps away. M was only able to snap a picture of the back of his head as he walked past.
We then found our completely awesome free box seats right off center court (thank you, Angie!!) before we continued our search of the practice courts where we saw Marat Safin hitting and debated over whether or not Ivan Ljubicic was the big guy we were watching practice at doubles. I am certain it was...he's pretty distinct looking.
We then went to the first center court match of the day- Marcos Baghdatis v. Thomas Johansson. We watched the first set, which was a long one that went to a tie break. Baghdatis won the match after taking the first and second set tie breaks. It was a crazy long match. After the first set of that match, we headed over to the grandstand court to see the Davydenko match. He got whipped by some ridiculously skinny guy I'd never seen, but that M quickly pointed out was a clay courter (apparently evident by the wicked topspin the guy was putting on the ball and the way he approached his shots). We quickly tired of that match and went in search of $18 wrap sandwiches for lunch.
Somewhere in there, we caught Rafael Nadal on one of the practice courts. I couldn't really see over the crowd, but I did catch a glimpse of him in all his gross-me-out shirtless glory. I don't like that guy...put on a shirt with sleeves and lay off the man-capris, okay? Just the same, he is the #2 player in the world... On the other practice courts, we got to see Gasquet hitting. Yet another shirtless European. There were a lot of older ladies talking about his chest. Yuck. Gael Monfils walked past us (ala Tim Henman) sometime around then, too, but I didn't notice him until he'd gotten past. No pics of the newbie.
By this time, center court match 2 was ready to start- David Nalbandian v. Ric De Voest, a young qualifier from South Africa. Nalbandian was up 4-0 when the rains came at 17 minutes into the match. A couple of hours later, after watching the courts dry, the match resumed, and Nalbandian won in less than an hour. Oh, I did spot Andy Murray and Brad Gilbert on the court during the rain delay. We caught a little of the Grosjean/Tursunov match, too. In fact, Grosjean nearly ran us over on the way to the locker room during the rain storm.
We walked around a bit more, waiting for our last center court match of the day. This was magic time. We got to see Andy Roddick practicing, and that guy knocks the snot out of the ball. Plus, he's enormous. One thing I noticed yesterday was that most of the guys are fairly small...not necessarily short, but trim. Andy Roddick has tree trunks for legs, and a huge upper body. No wonder he hits the ball so hard. Just the same, that was cool.
We tooled over to the other set of practice courts and wham! there was James Blake hitting with some other pro we didn't know. M's old teammate Evan from Colgate was there with James, so we talked to him for a bit (as he is standing on the practice courts with friggin' James Blake!!!). For the record, Max Mirnyi was one court over, and I think I'm the only person that noticed he was there. Either way, we left the practice courts and I got caught in the crowd of kids trying to get James Blake's autograph. He got so close to me that I could've thumped him on the forehead if I'd wanted to. He was a lot smaller than I thought he was, and he was in a daze...sort of on autopilot through the crowd. M caught up to me, and he got a chance to talk to Evan a bit more. Then he met James Blake's mom. How funny is that? He doesn't get to meet James Blake, but he met his very tiny (and according to M, very sweet) English mother?
We then headed to the Ginepri match, and stayed for the first set, where Ginepri had it handed to him 6-1 by Mathieu. Evan called M during the set, offering us tickets to the James Blake night match. M resolutely turned them down as we had to get home to Otis. What a responsible dad! I think that's pretty much it, and I am certain you're all bored to tears reading about it!
For the record, most of the really awesome matches are today, and M is a little bummed that we chose to go to day one instead of day two. Oh, well. Agassi had pulled out of the tournament anyway, and since we technically got to see Henman, I think everyone else that was there will be around for awhile (namely Federer). Maybe we'll see him next year!