My week with the boys of the ATP comes to a close now. It’s been a great fun and we got to see a ton of amazing matches. Who would have ever thought going into this week that Arnaud Clement would walk away with the prize? Who would have thought that Andy Roddick wouldn’t even play in the tournament? Or that Andre Agassi would play for a mere 62 minutes?
When I went into this, I didn’t know what to expect or what I wanted to do. I just wrote what I saw, which is probably the best way to approach something without definition. As I mentioned before, my only instruction was to “have fun.” I can definitely say that my mission was accomplished. I knew it would be anyway since I was out watching great tennis.
There are a couple of things that I didn’t talk about, so allow me to do that now. One was the Media Center, which I sort of sloughed off in my last post. I got chastised by one of my friends for it, because I’ve worked in media operations before and I know how it works, so let me just explain quickly. Filing centers are big rooms set up so that members of the press that are reporting on an event — photographers, print reporters, radio, etc. — use to send their stories or photos back to their bureaus or post them on the Internet. At Legg Mason, many of the reporters used the file as their hub of operations since they can watch the Stadium matches via closed circuit television and not leave the air conditioning. If they were going to report on a match on one of the other courts, they would typically run up to the press box at the top of the Stadium, which I’ve mentioned before, gives you a birds-eye view of four of the main courts. There were Wi-Fi access points distributed throughout the grounds in four separate locations, which made life pretty easy. That’s part of the reason that I was debating bringing my laptop, but I also a) didn’t want to lug it around and b) preferred to watch matches than type about them. Again, that’s also where much of the info comes through, including the players, who come in to talk to the press after their matches are over and offer up some choice quotes and reflections.
The other thing that I didn’t mention is the player lounge, which I actually hung around in for a little while. Since it’s for the players, I had no reason to be in there, but I’ll tell you about it anyway. It’s nothing glamorous, believe me. The one at Legg Mason is pretty dark and they have big over-stuffed couches and chairs in there and a huge television, also showing Stadium court on closed circuit. I’d guess that the TV is probably a 50 incher. There’s also a little fridge filled with drinks for the guys. A woman sits at a desk and takes care of them and their stuff, like calling for cars and people to walk them over to the Media Center. Whatever they need or want really. Depending on the situtation I’m sure it’s a place of cool mellowness and quite a number of laughs, or a place of great frustration and anxiety. Otherwise it’s just a dimly-lit room in the bowels of a stadium. I went almost everywhere, with the exception of the locker room, so I feel pretty lucky.
Anyway now it’s time for Lynn’s recap top ten:
10. Best way to beat the heat: iced-cold free Diet Cokes from the Media Center.
9. Biggest upset: James Blake losing to Marat Safin.
8. Best performance by a newcomer: Qualifier Andrea Stoppini beating both Jan-Michael Gambill and Andre Agassi.
7. Best comeback: Jan-Michael Gambill, who capitalized on his Lucky Loser to make it into the second round against Tiger Tim Henman.
6. Best doubles match: Justin Gimelstob/Tim Henman – Dmitry Tursunov/Igor Kunitsyn.
5. Most emotional match: Andre Agassi losing in the first round.
4. Most surreal moment: Seeing Brad Gilbert attempt to drive.
3. Best sight-seeing adventure: Anything related to Feliciano Lopez. MeOW!
2. Best match: Lleyton Hewitt and Vince Spadea.
1. Best cheer of the tournament: “Let’s go Andre!”, which is something we heard at every event except the final. That’s a pretty good tradition to start.
Thanks to everyone for reading this week, and thanks to the X-dudes for all their help and encouragement. I hope you had fun. I know I did. For now, I’m going back to the Baseline, but I’ll be here a few times a week.
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