I’m going to try and smush two days posts into one here. So let’s roll through the report from Tuesday, shall we?
I got up there around 5:30pm and watched most of the Paradorn Srichapan – Kenneth Carlsen match. It was a great three setter. As I’ve said before, part of the fun of cheering for Paradorn, besides the fact that he’s a great player, is that the Thai Tennis fans are so much fun and are having such a good time. If you’re interested, Melanie Ho from the Washington Post did a nice story on the fans and their history with the tournament the other day. Tamarine Tanasugarn, stopped by to see some of Paradorn through the fence on the way to her match, and has to carry the water since Paradorn and Danai Udomchoke are both out. I did see the two of them come by to hit yesterday though, and Srichapan took some pictures with kids on his way out.
Carlsen meets up with Wesley Moodie tonight who had beaten Sebastian Grosjean on the next court a little while later. Grosjean and Arnaud Clement lost their doubles match last night to Paul Goldstein and Jim Thomas, so I’m sure the ATP is super stoked to have made him their blogger this week. As I was writing this I went to check out what Seb’s written. Truth be told, a friend was also making fun of it yesterday but I hadn’t read it. Quel surprise that someone sent the French players to Les Halles, which is sponsoring the boys and girls tournament out on the clay courts this week.
I already mentioned watching Marat Safin in the Grandstand, and then the whole Andre Agassi thing, but I didn’t mention how great it is to see matches on the outer courts. The Grandstand is obviously much smaller than the Stadium, and they book amazing matches out there and on the other side courts that they can’t put into the bigger space. In the outer courts you pretty much sit on the court and get up really close to the players. This doesn’t come without its bad points though, like the dude who was offering to give Marat a beer the other night when Nicholas Mahut was arguing with the chair, or the guy who kept cheering on Dmitry Tursunov by yelling, “Go blonde guy!” last night.
Tuesday night was also a bad night for tennis racquets. By my count, four of them got smashed. I only saw three of them though. Tim Henman apparently cracked on up pretty good. The only bit of Henman’s match with Phillip King I saw was during the first set tiebreak. One of Henman’s shots bounced up off the court and directly into the lens of a photographer who was sitting on the baseline side. The guy was yukking it up with the crowd when Henman changed sides, and walked over to make sure the man’s equipment was ok. The photog actually seemed somewhat surprised that Henman was concerned, but Tim also seemed kind of rattled and then dropped a couple of crucial points.
The second racquet was the victim of Mr. Agassi. The third racquet was smashed by Gilles Muller in his match with Paul Capdeville. Muller lost the first set, smashed the racquet up, started screaming at himself in German, and then tossed the carnage up on top of the media tent. It was pretty funny. About a minute later we saw Marat Safin smash his racquet and throw it up against the fence.
As of Tuesday night: Players remaining in the tournament: 3; racquets leaving the tournament: 4. Statisticians can make what they want of it.
The cap of Tuesday evening was watching the James Blake – Kevin Kim match. Since it was the late night match the Stadium was pretty empty, but as mentioned, not as empty as it usually gets for doubles. Add to this that since Agassi got dumped in 62 minutes, it was still kind of early. James got a bad call in the second which rattled him up and made him dump the set. On serve he planted a ball on the line, which the umpire called out. James challenged, and though Hawk-Eye called it ‘In’, the chair made him play the point over. The whole place went nuts, but Blake pulled it together and wrapped up the third.
That brings us to last night. I came in for the second set of Andy Murray – Ramon Delgado. It definitely wasn’t a bloodbath, and as I mentioned before, I’m sure Brad Gilbert is going to zero in on Murray’s service game. Gilbert, for his part, was dressed all in black — in 105 degree heat — and sitting on a pile of towels. He is a freeeek with a capital ‘eek’.
Then we cruised over to the terrace, had some dinner, and watched the Jan-Michael Gambill – Janko Tipsaveric match. We were carefully checking the scores on Mardy Fish – Tomas Zib, but saw that Mardy had it well in hand. We saw the first set of Jan-Mike’s from up high, and then went down to sit at the court near the end of the second and for the end. Jan-Mike didn’t play a great match, he actually threw in a few serves that didn’t even hit the blue, but it was terrific to see him win it. The crowd was totally behind him, yours truly included. Paul Annacone was just outside the court for most of it since Gambill plays Henman in the next round.
We went over to the next court and saw some of the Clement/Grosjean – Goldstein/Thomas doubles match, then went back to watch Feliciano Lopez ((sigh)) play some other guy. I didn’t notice anyone else on the court, but I’m told there was a guy named Teimuraz Gabashvili out there. Still unclear. I was the only one cheering, and I’m pretty sure the few other people that were there had mistakenly wandered in looking for free drinks or something. Don’t worry, I’ll up my pictures of Feli in a few. Feli….
A few of my friends showed up in the Stadium and started sending me messages on my crackberry about the Lleyton Hewitt – Vince Spadea match, and we were watching the scores during the change over and ran over there to see Vindawg’s incredible first set tiebreak. I usually give Spadea a lot of crap, but this guy played amazing tennis, pulling passing shots out of no where, with swift feet and good motion. Granted, he went nuts a few times and was screaming and swearing, but with due cause since it was such a passionate match. After being down 1-3 in the third, Vince stormed back to take 4-3 lead. Hewitt tied it at 4-4, and broke Vince to go up 5-4. Hewitt double faulted the first match point, but was able to prevail and win in the third 6-4. If the final is that good, we’ll all be very lucky.
We blew off the requisite Bryan brothers match in the Stadium and opted for the Justin Gimelstob/Tim Henman – Dmitry Tursunov/Igor Kunitsyn doubles match in the Grandstand, which was another awesome one. Gimelstob’s got some great eyes and a great feel for the court. Every time the ball was going to sail long — either by feet or by inches — Gimel would call it ‘out’ to Henman and save the point. He got into an argument on a bad call by the chair and said that he was like 5 for 5 on challenges in the Stadium. Not that that had anything to do with the call in question, but it was interesting. Gimel also likes to tuck his shirt into his shorts in the front, which made him look like an über-geek/crazy old man. Not such a good look. How good was this match? Put it this way: Gimelstob/Henman lost the first set tiebreak at 13-11.
One last thing to mention before I hit some of the questions: I was out at a tennis shop in the ‘burbs the other day. The shop owner told us that qualifier Wesley Whitehouse came into the store like a lunatic on Monday morning. He didn’t think he was going to get through the qualies and only had one pair of sneakers with him, so he made an emergency trip out there in the hopes that a) they had the shoes and b) they had them in his size. Luckily these people have more stock than they can deal with, so all was well. The owners are kinda nutso, so I’m sure he got a stern talking to by them.
Ok, to the questions:
Q: how old is miguel maeso’s son? i think he could be around marat’s age. so only miguel maeso and family are there with marat this week?
A: Yes, the Maeso’s are the only ones with Marat this week. The son I met was probably around 17. Miguel was sitting on the other side of the court from me during Marat’s match with Mahut, and there was another young guy with him. I didn’t talk to them, but I’ll venture a guess that you’re right.
Q: Did you know Philip King is Vania King’s brother?
A: Hi Momofan! Yea, I actually did know that. As for bill mayer’s comment about not feeling bad for him, I stick by what I said. I was using Phillip as an example, and I give credit to all the young players. The kid has made $100k in his entire pro career and only $10k this year. I’m glad he has something to fall back on, and he’s a smart kid for getting an education, but it’s still has to be pretty tough to make ends meet for any young player, no less one outside the Top 200.
Q: You going to be at Legg Mason this weekend?
A: Hey Dan, hells yea!
Q: any ideas who will be playing the second semis on saturday? i bought tickets to the night session a) to avoid the heat and b) hoped to see either james/andy/andre..with andy and andre out james will surely play the first session! i pray that i’m wrong!
A: A buddy of mine was going through the same dilemma last night, given that the right side of the draw has gotten forked by the Roddick and Agassi sitches. I think you were totally right on with the night tickets. The promoters are sure to book the best match in the evening, and like you said, the heat is going to be less offensive when the sun goes down. For the record, he went to the box office last night and got one of the last 20 tickets available.
Q: Word Police America—cute. So much for trying to be nice to you about it. Go ahead and look like a fool when posting a non-word over and over and over. Journalist?
A: Journalist? Nope. I’m a blogger, and a dumb one at that. I was actually trying to be cute right back at ya, but I guess that you missed it. No hard feelings I hope.
As for the “debate” going on about the heat, let’s all try to lighten up here. This blog is about tennis. Make no mistake that a friend was going to start a DC Tennis Weather blog just to be a goofball. When I start blogging about the weather, you’re all invited to come comment on it. I’m a totally curious nerd so I went to the Farmer’s Almanac and checked it out. Here are the maximum temperatures at Reagan National Airport for July 31st over past six years:
Zowie! They also took the temperature on the court yesterday, and it was 101. Keep in mind that all of these figures are without the humidity. Lucky there’s no such thing as global warming!
Lastly, to Mary An: I really hope you get to see Agassi at the Open. I really do. Be well!
Tonight’s matches promise to be great ones. I have no idea how I’m going to manage it. Suggestions welcome.
Also Check Out:
Legg Mason: Roddick’s Giving Away Tickets
ATP Tennis Rolls Into D.C. For the Legg Mason
Legg Mason, Final Thoughts
Legg Mason: Roddick’s 500th, Quarters Set
Quickie Blog: Live From Legg Mason