OK It is late so I was thinking about not writing the report, but I feel somewhat obliged to do so
So here it goes..
Today I went with a friend from my former school, who is not really into tennis, and I also met up with fellow posters Dutchie & Legolas
It was very much the day of the Meet & Greet with Roger Federer.. More about that later! First who I saw today:
Karol Beck (Scott, I just saw him walking past me. No chance of a picture. But he's still in doubles, so maybe on Wednesday!)
Thomas Johansson (Siobhan, took a pic of him)
Juan Carlos Ferrero
Jim Thomas (Yes Andrew, I took a pic)
And former WTA Miroslava Vavrinec.. Girlfriend of Roger Federer
Then how the day went:
I got there before we were allowed to go in, so I had to wait a bit. Then I was one of the first to get in and I went to Court 1 and the practice courts immediately. On Court 1, Cyril Suk, Pavel Vizner, Thomas Johansson & Björn Phau were practising. Vizner's serves constantly went outside the court and came in my direction and one time they almost hit my friend. Cyril was very funny and cheery today (he's never been like that, all of the times I saw him.. and I have seen him quite a bit!) and immediately made Pavel the scapegoat by pointing at him
He said thank you too.. He was a happy camper today
Björn is also extremely friendly and I made portrait pics of Björn, Cyril and Thomas.
On Court 2 at that time, Hrbaty was practising with Nicolas Kiefer. Andreas Seppi was on Court 3. After that, some other players came to the court, including Srichaphan, Andreev, Davydenko, Grosjean, Llodra.. Then I went to watch the doubles match between Knowle / Pala and W. Black / Ullyett. It wasn't a very interesting match. At 1-0 for the Zimbabwean duo, Pala already had to call for the trainer for a hand injury. And Julian was complaining about the music to the referee Carl Baldwin a lot too. He was very grumpy and I didn't like his attitude at all. Wayne and Kevin were far from spectacular, but they were extremely solid and could step up their game when it was required of them. I guess that is what makes them one of the top teams in the world right now, and the winners of the Australian Open too. Julian and Petr never had a real chance to win, though they managed to keep up until 6-2 4-4. Then they couldn't hold serve and it was over. I wasn't impressed at all with Julian or Petr.
I also saw Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich practising on Court 3. I got Andy to pose and sign and I also had this picture of Rosmalen that I asked Jonathan to sign. He asked me where it was taken. Both of them were really friendly and they are just great players. I want them to take the title here in Rotterdam.
Also, Robbie Koenig and Jim Thomas practised, but I lost track of when they played. Anyways, the picture of Robbie will be quite a funny one. Thumbs up
, is all I'll say. You will just have to wait for it. Jim was very much a gentleman. Very friendly. Later on, he went to watch some of Grosjean / Llodra - Suk / Vizner and no one recognized him. He doesn't look like a tennis player at all. Even less now, than was the case in Rosmalen last year. But he's a cool bloke.
After that on Court 1 was the doubles match between Sébastien Grosjean and Michael Llodra against Pavel Vizner and Cyril Suk. I watched the first set of this match, which was full of spectacular tennis. Great rallies. I was extremely pleased with Pavel's performance. He hit some very nice shots and really gave his all out there. Sébastien did well in this match, which was a bit of a comeback for him. The Czech tandem was slightly better in that first set and deserved to win the set, but the Frenchies didn't falter and made it to the tie-break, in which they had two set points at 6-4. Then Pavel and Cyril got back into the set and after both teams had had some set points, Michael had already thrown his racquet on the court and yelled Merde
(French for shit), the team that deserved to win the set took it with 12-10 in the tie-break. I really wanted to see the second set of this match and I would have, if it hadn't been for the players practising on Court 3!
On Court 3, there was Björn Phau together with Marco Chiudinelli
I was really happy to see Marco there again. On Court 2, by the way, I saw Taylor Dent and Olivier Rochus, but that was not so important to me. I then watched Marco practise and after that he thanked Yvo and me for the support we had given him this week. When I asked him if he'd still be there tomorrow, he said that he would leave tomorrow
Anyways, I'll be cheering for him in the Davis Cup (against The Netherlands!). I also got another picture with him and I think it will be a good one. I thought it'd be the last time that I had seen him in Rotterdam this year, but I would be proven wrong a few hours later.
Anyways, in the mean time Grosjean / Llodra had crashed out to the Czechs (7-6 6-3), but I missed all of the second set. We went to Centre Court to see something of Sluiter - Coría. Sluiter had great trouble keeping his service games, while Coría was breezing through them. It was so clear that Raemon could never win. I couldn't watch much of this match, because I had to go to the Nike Shop in Rotterdam, for the Meet & Greet with none other than Roger Federer! I was really excited
When we got there, we had to wait before we could go to the room where it would all take place. First we had to listen to people with boring stories on Nike's new technology in shoes
(Well, the shoe part was worse than the shirt part, cause the inventor of the shirt was there to speak about it and he was a young guy who spoke with much zeal about what he had helped to develop). And then.. there he was.. Roger!! I took a lot of pictures here, obviously! First we had the chance to ask him some questions. If you had won the prize contest, you could have sent in a question and if you were lucky enough, your question was selected and you could ask Roger it. My question did get selected, but the woman on stage with him asked it too
So I didn't get to ask it, but that was fine with me. I listened to Roger's replies on the questions and I had my voice recorder there as well. Only turned it on too late, so I may have missed one or two questions. When I have time, I will post the transcript of this, but for now I am just tired and don't have the time.
OK After that, Roger went away somewhere for an interview. I did see Miroslava Vavrinec (Mirka) there. I asked her for an autograph, cause she was a professional player too once. She doesn't really like to sign, and I could imagine why after I asked her if she missed the Tour. She really really misses it and would love to make a comeback, but she has a chronic foot injury that prohibits her from making this step. I didn't know about her injury, but I guess when people ask her for a picture or an autograph, she is confronted with this and this saddens her. She was nice enough though! There was also some luxury food (salmon, filet americain, other stuff
) and there were drinks. I didn't want to try the food, cause I am too picky. I did have orange juice from a bottle, while pondering how salmon and cheap orange juice go together.
Then Roger came back and it was time for us to get in line. He was going to sign for us and we could also take pictures. I went to the back of the line on purpose. He signed the Nike Dri-Fit shirt that I got for winning
I also got two red Nike wristbands. My mother also won a Meet & Greet, so she has a shirt too
If you are wondering, this is what the shirt looks like:
I also got him to sign a card for a friend of mine, and a picture I had taken in a previous year. And I took a picture of him! After that Yvo gave him the red envelope with messages of fans. Yes, we got the envelope across! He told her to say hi to everyone. Since she isn't there now, I will do this... MTF Roger Fans.. Roger says hi!
Well, then I grabbed a bite somewhere and went to the Monday evening session, for which I had won two tickets. I was planning on going to watch Ferrero - Schüttler, but when I checked on Court 1, I saw that Marco was practising there with.. Roger! Roger was extremely fast in getting back to Ahoy. On Court 2, Uros Vico and Ivan Ljubicic were practising. Later, Fernando Verdasco + Coach were on Court 3. Well, I watched almost all of the practising! Marco played better than he did in his match against Wang and his backhand was actually good. His coach wasn't really happy with the quality of play of both players and told Marco that Roger was playing genau so slecht wie du
. That means that he thought Roger was playing just as bad as he was. There was also this really funny tiny kid with a huge afro hairdo.. He went to ask Mirka for a pen, which was funny enough. She gave him a pen and asked him to return it later (the kid wasn't Dutch, probably American) and she also gave him a card of Roger. He then went to Roger, who was just about to get back to practise with Marco. Mirka yelled 'Rogi' and gestured that he should sign for the kid. The kid was so sweet : lol : Later, he came back with a tennis ball and Roger said that he could sit on the bench on court. After Marco and Roger were done, he was even allowed to hit some balls with Roger and, frankly, he didn't do bad at all! It was really sweet of Roger; he's great with kids!
I wasn't really looking forward to watching Davydenko - Verdasco, and I only managed to catch seven games of this rather boring match. So I went home
Tomorrow, there is a long long day ahead of me and even more sleep deprivation awaits me. I am still excited though... If anyone is there, I will be the one with the Romanian flag, cheering for Andrei & Tomas in the middle of a Dutch crowd that is massively rooting for Peter & Raemon in doubles!
OK That is it from me for now.. Have to head to bed now!
BTW: I hate the smileys maximum MTF gives you.. I had to go and delete some again.