So today I went to the first qualifying day of the tournament in Rotterdam, also having the advantage of being able to watch the practising on Center Court (though it was a bit of a hassle to get the appropriate passes for this), which normal fans couldn't. I went together with two other posters from MTF, Legolas and Bovenbuuf
We were there quite early and the first player we saw was Nicolas Kiefer, who wasn't even on the entry list the day before. So that was a bit of a surprise.
This is the list of players I have seen either playing a match, practising, or just walking around:
Dennis van Scheppingen
Melle van Gemerden
OK So just some information on practising and matches now.
Practising: Nicolas Kiefer & Nikolay Davydenko
- Between 9 and 11 o'clock, Nicolas Kiefer practised. First he was there with his coach, but he was quickly accompanied by Nikolay Davydenko. I didn't watch most of this, cause I was off to watch a match.
Match: Olivier Rochus  beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-6 (3) 7-6 (5)
The match was Olivier Rochus versus Daniel Gimeno-Traver. Olivier didn't start off impressing me at all. He looked frustated with himself, though he did manage to control his anger. He just wasn't good enough at the baseline and he got passed every
time he made an attempt to go the net or was at the net. Gimeno-Traver is a talented young player from Spain with a very powerful serve that scored him quite some aces, without his serve being extremely dominant. Very solid from the baseline and could definitely rise on the rankings. His only problem is that he falters a lot when big points are played. This was also the case in the first tie-break, that he lost big time. After a few games in the second set, in which Olivier started playing better tennis, but Daniel managed to hang in there, I left for practising on the court next to it. During practising, Daniel fell on the court and his head stook out on the other court. Seemed like a bad fall
Qualifying: Melle van Gemerden & Dennis van Scheppingen / Marco Chiudinelli & Stanislas Wawrinka
I had already seen that Melle & Dennis were practising together, but it didn't really interest me. But I very much wanted to watch Marco Chiudinelli and when I saw that Wawrinka was sitting at the court, I knew he was going to play with Marco (saw their names on the training schedule). Then when Marco arrived, me and Yvo (Legolas) went to Court 3 to watch them practising. I must say that Stanislas has some weird warming-up methods
Especially the hip movements he makes.. They would make a hula hoop dancer look bad
(Yes, I know those dancers don't really use their hips, but you get the picture).
I really really like Marco
He is so friendly. He seems to get along with all
the players and he spent quite some time talking to Björn Phau when he also went to the court. Julian Knowle & Björn Phau seem to be two of his friends on Tour, cause they were also there to watch the match. Anyway, Marco just is the sweetest guy and extremely cute too. He has a very nice game to watch and definitely became one of my four favourite players now
By the way, when Dennis and Melle were done, Melle and his girlfriend left without Dennis and Dennis called after him saying "Nice of you to wait" : lol :
Ivo Minar  beat Steven Korteling 6-2 7-6 (3)
Entered this match early in the second set. Seriously, Korteling cannot do much more than serve. Minar was not as impressive as I thought he'd be, but Steven just has no game. Not solid on the baseline, no really good volleys, just serves which allow him to breeze through his serve games. Obviously, that is how it became a tie-break in the second set. His serve must have not been smooth in the first set, judging from the two breaks. Minar needs to up his game if he wants to do well in Rotterdam.
Stanislas Wawrinka  beat Uros Vico 2-6 7-5 7-5
I expected Stanislas to win this match, and he did. He really had to grow in the match though, with Vico playing quite some nice tennis. I think he is a nice player to watch with some excellent groundstrokes. Wawrinka, proclaimed to be a big talent, never lived up to my expectations in the first set and seemed to be losing the match, when he was down a break in the second. He grew into the match some more and managed to win that second set. Vico then was the better player at the start of the third set and broke Wawrinka, who was very annoying when pumping himself up. Seriously, some of those moans (yes, he moans when happy..) are worse than Sharapova's orgasms on court : tape : The third set pretty much was a replay of the second set, with some bad calls in Vico's disadvantage
Not a high-quality match, but nice enough to watch.
Marco Chiudinelli beat Olivier Mutis  6-3 3-6 6-2
Extremely pleased with that result. We (well, Yvo had it, but I brought it) had the Swiss flag ready and saw the entire match, cheering for every good point that Marco made! He was playing some really nice tennis. He has a very good forehand and he plays attacking tennis. It was by far the most entertaining match of the day, and I am not even that biased. All calls by linesmen and the chair umpire seemed to go in Mutis' favour though, and at a point this clearly frustrated Marco, and me as well. Olivier hit some very weird unforced errors, but also some good penetrating baseline shots and nifty volleys. I think he has a nice game, but he seems to be easily annoyed. Marco is just great to watch. Very happy with his win and we will definitely be there to cheer for him tomorrow.. with the flag!
- Only saw a few games of Ulihrach - Van Gemerden. Left no big impression on me. Van Gemerden was downed easily by the Czech, 1-6 4-6.
- Saw absolutely nothing of Rastogi - Phau.. Only that Phau was crushing his opponent and later in the day was still very pleased with that win (6-4 6-2)
- Saw nothing of Behrend - Seppi.. Very disappointing result for Andreas 6-1 6-2. But hey, Marco was much more interesting LOL
- Wang - Van Scheppingen.. Dennis was soooo gutted. Extremely annoyed, disappointed and pissed. All I saw of this were some games in the third set and it seemed that he resigned himself to the fact that he would lose. Wang is talented, yet annoying to watch. Not a very subtle player; he hasn't got the touch
that I like in players.
- Sébastien Grosjean is playing
I didn't expect him to, cause he withdrew from Marseille and there were doubts about his fitness. But he was practising hard with his coach and seemed to be enjoying himself. When I asked him, he said he hadn't fully recovered yet, but almost. He obviously acknowledged that he was very sad about not having been able to play in his home city
By the way, a funny story is that this small boy asked him "Sir, what's your name?" (I mean.. come on..). And he was very dry in his reply.. "Sébastien, and what's yours?" That was very funny
- Thomas Johansson was practising with coach and a young Swede, about 16-years-old.. This boy is quite talented and had great groundies! I have no idea what his name was, but maybe someone here has an idea (long blonde hair).
- Julian Knowle & Björn Phau practised together. Not much interesting to say about this.
- Andrei Pavel was practising too, together with his coach
This was during the Vico match, so I didn't watch most if it, but when he was getting ready to leave the court, I quickly headed in that direction. I got him to sign two of my A4-size pictures
Cause Yvo was holding my Romanian flag, he asked her if she was Romanian
She didn't even understand.. First he said it in Romanian, then in French and she just didn't reply LOL So I told him I was just a fan. Then I asked him if it was insulting in Romania if people sign their country's flag, and he said it wasn't, so he signed it! I also asked him if he was going to play doubles, and he said he was going to try to, with Berdych. The doubles draw is out now and obviously they managed to get in. Very happy about that and I am looking forward to seeing them, though I fear they will be put on centre court
- Just when we were leaving, we saw Tim Henman practising with Roger Federer! That was interesting, cause there were quite some people present and also players and umpires were still lingering around. I saw Andreas Seppi, Julian Knowle, Nicolas Kiefer, Robin Söderling, Andrei Pavel there
Oh I also got Richard Krajicek to sign my copy of the book he wrote, "Harde ballen" which is Dutch for "Hard balls"
If you are planning on buying this book (It will be translated to English later), only do so if you want to read some nice anecdotes. There is no real storyline, the book is not very logical, structurally speaking and well it's not a real biography either, for he speaks about other players too often. He did choose for that approach on purpose, but in my opinion it just didn't pay off.
Anyways, tomorrow we will be going again! Just four matches then. I will definitely be watching Marco's match against Yeu-Tzuoo Wang. It will be tough for him, but I really really hope he manages to win that match. Hopefully our support can help him, right Yvo? : lol : Will see some other MTFers too tomorrow! Really looking forward to tomorrow, cause today was a blast
PS: Pictures will be posted later. Have some portrait shots, but the roll is not full yet and pics need to be developed. I am sure Legolas can get pictures sooner. She also has a better camera to zoom with, so she will have more action shots.
Had to 'disable' some smileys, cause I used too many !