I spent Tuesday - Friday at Flushing watching the qualie matches and practice sessions. Going back again tomorrow for one last day. I just finished writing my extensive recaps on WTAW. Now I am tired and heading to bed soon. But I will sum up my experiences here with a few key highlights/bullet points. If you want to read my full reports (written more about the women because it's for WTAW), go here: http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=354387
Hopefully I can get pictures up soon.
1. Ran into Darren Cahill (acting as hitting partner for Guccione). He predicted Novak Djokovic to win the 2008 US Open. He has a pretty decent track record.
2. Andy Murray is amazingly amazingly nice to fans. He signs for absolutely everyone who asks for it. Apparently traumatized by being turned down by Andre Agassi as a young fan, but wow! I'm so impressed.
3. Fat Dave is fat and never signs.
4. Got pictures with John Carlos Ferrero, Misha Youzhny (twice), Guillermo Canas, Nikolay Davydenko Robin Soderling (huge), John Isner (huger), Thomas Johansson (my eyes closed, ugly pic of me), Bjorn Phau (my eyes closed, ugly pic of me), and lots of women including Ana Ivanovic and Sveta Kuznetsova.
5. Safin has been in super crabby pissy moody mode all week, breaking racquets over his knees, hitting balls out of the stadium, getting laughed at by Berdych, and leaving practices early out of frustration. He got brutally thumped by Mathieu who was cracking return winners left and right. Marat was barely moving for the ball or trying against Mathieu.
6. Youzhny is practicing terribly. Pretty sure he lost in a practice set to Lopez, even though Lopez was missing tons of first serves and being an annoying bitchy moody diva like Marat and throwing his racquet after just a couple points. Youzhny also tied in a practice set against Berdych and they played a tiebreak to end it, not sure who came out on top.
7. Kiefer beat Berdych in a practice set. No surprise there. Berdych joked with fans about his poor form; they asked how he was doing and he admitted, "Not great recently, actually." At least his girlfriend just won a tournament. Yay.
8. On Wednesday, the practice line-up was Djokovic then Federer then Nadal all in a row (with Del Potro squeezed in between Fed and Rafa).
9. By far the three players who create the biggest commotion and craziest mob scenes here are (in order): 1. Nadal, 2. Federer, 3. Djokovic. The Willies and Roddick are trailing behind, even in New York.
10. Saw Federer practice technique skills extensively. For about twenty minutes straight he worked on the same drill: running forehand out wide, followed by forehand approach from middle of the court, followed by backhand volley. He was misfiring and netting tons of forehands in practice. Crabby and throwing water bottles at his chair, muttering to himself, looked "rattled."
11. Nadal was also a bit crabby during his practice session on Wednesday vs. Lopez and muttered to himself a lot.
12. Djokovic barely hit at all on Wednesday. He spent most of his 45 minutes on the court stretching and playing 2-on-2 mini-tennis soccer (soccer in the service boxes with a tennis ball). This was just a few hours after he opened the NY stock exchange down in Wall Street. Apparently Nole is staying in New Jersey for the second straight year... but where in NJ? He supposedly hates staying in Manhattan.
13. Friendliest and smiliest and most obliging players? Ferrero, Murray, Canas, Santoro, Kohlschreiber, Youzhny, Ivanovic, Kuznetsova, Dementieva all come to mind. Who is not? Safina, Lopez, Nalbandian, Jankovic. Yuck!
14. Sveta and Ana get along well and are really chattty. Meanwhile, Dinara and Ana don't even acknowledge each other.
15. Nikolay Davydenko must not get along with the other Russians at all. They never speak to each other. Davydenko only practices with his little nephew, Phillip Davydenko, a pretty good junior player. Also sround him are his coach/bro Eduoard and Rudolph, the dude who throws him balls and sometimes hits with him. Davydenko also seems crabby and off his game, muttering to himself constantly during practice = the theme of this week with the men.
16. The Frenchies are a very tight group. Lots of practice sessions involving Monfils, Gasquet, and Tsonga together. Also Santoro and Simon together.
17. Apparently Gasquet does have a boyfriend. His boyfriend is very attractive. They've been seen together a lot.