Thursday at the TMC!
Subtitle: Never trust a meteorologist!
Contrary to dire predictions, Thursday was the most beautiful day of weather I’ve seen at the tournament. The sun was out with little gusts of wind. There was no noticeable temperature drop until the end of the night session singles match. It’s around 50 degrees now and the high today is supposed to be 69, if you can believe these guys. It sounds pretty good.
I was pumped for yesterday’s action – three singles and the doubles SF!!
I got to the grounds about an hour before the noon start of Andy/Rainer. As I was getting out of the shuttle van, Carlos Moya was being chauffeured on to the grounds in an official Mercedes! I just smiled and gawked on the inside. I found my way to practice court #5 where David Nalbandian was supposed to be preparing for his night match. But, no David.
I think he skipped that practice session to save his wrist. I strolled over to court #13 and there was Guillermo! I snapped a few pictures and went back to court #5. Carlos Moya was practicing. So, I snapped some more! Then it was time to get in line for Andy and Rainer’s entrance. For Andre/JCF, the night before, I stood in line close to the entrance of the stadium. Wrong move! Everyone else in line kept edging out and by the time the players got to where I was they were going by too fast for me to get a shot. So now I stand across from one of the Round Robin update boards where the players START their walk to the entrance. The ticket checkers let us in right after the players got in the stadium. Since ESPN was staging their entrance for the live broadcast, I got as close as I could to snap some more while they were waiting. Rainer turned around and flashed a gorgeous smile! A security guy put his arm up to me because I looked like I might get too close. I assured him that he didn’t have to tackle me. But, I kept snapping.
The match was fantastic!! Andy’s serve let him down and that kept Rainer in it. I didn’t know who would win until the last ball. Former president Bush came out again today along with Mrs. Bush. I did something in the first set, I thought I’d never do during a match. I left the match to catch Andre on practice court #5! Everything is so close, I didn’t think I could let the opportunity slip away. After the match, there was a special presentation by Mr. Bush to Andy for ending the year as #1.
I missed the first few games of Carlos/Guillermo because I was starving. After I ate, I walked the grounds to get some shots of the facility. They have all three court surfaces set up in beautiful landscaping. It was really smart for them to change from green to red clay to give Americans a U.S. location to practice on their worst surface. The grass courts are surrounded by tall manicured shrubs that resemble English gardens you might see in the U.K. When I got back to the match, things were looking grim for Carlos. Much to my disappointment, my cheers of encouragement didn’t help.
Guillermo looked great!
His serve was working and his shots were beautiful. He took a couple of spills during the match. That guy scares me when he plays because I get the impression that he’s injury prone.
Between the afternoon and the evening sessions, I was going to try and go to my apartment for dinner. As I was walking to the shuttle pick up, there was a man behind a Latina band cooking fajita styled chicken and it was free!
I chowed down and took the shuttle to my truck. Since I had a delicious snack, I just sat in the truck until it was time for the night matches. I got back to stadium in time to go in early and watch Nestor and Knowles practice on the main court. I tried to stay on the bottom level for pictures of Andre and David, but, the ushers sent us away. I found another vantage point above the entrance, though.
Andre/David was an awesome match!! I haven’t read the board’s reaction to the first set tie break, yet. I think David got a raw deal!
I was yelling at the umpire.
Other than that bit of nastiness, these men came up with some tremendous tennis!!!
Andre is rising well above the occasion. I was pulling for David. But, I had an inkling that Andre would rain down on him in the third set because he let the second set go so easily. Congratulations to both on a hard fought contest!
Mardy Fish is in Houston this week. He gave a tennis lesson to one of the fans earlier Thursday. After Andre/David, Mardy and the fan came out for a mock match, best three out of five points. Before the match ended, the fan’s boyfriend proposed to her for The Learning Channel show “Perfect Proposal”. It was all a ruse for the proposal!!
Since it was a little chilly by then, I passed on the doubles SF. Nestor/Knowles was playing Llorda/Santoro. I came back and started watching the tape delay on ESPN2. I wanted to see how the first set tie break played out on TV. I never saw it! I succumbed to slumber…
With all my snapping, the digital pictures are few and far between.
Lucky for me, I get to try it again today.
I think I have about 5 good shots. I’ll try to send them to the link on this forum. I’m really looking forward to the matches today! Roger is looking real good!