First on was Monfils
of which I saw the first set which was once interrupted for rain for 45 minutes. On both occasions the players came to court, Beck was on time, and Monfils was 5 minutes late. :retard: He also took his time on court arranging his gear and messing with his clothes before the warm-up.
Kudos to Karol for waiting patiently, keeping his cool and not making a fuss about this lack of sportsmanship.
I’m glad that Monfils lost in the end – he behaved like an idiot and the result went the right way for once. Gasquet
watched the start of the match from the stands – the first 2 games. When the covers came on, he tried to find a practise court straight after, and seemed to be quite confused as to why the practise grass courts were being covered as well…it had been raining Richard!
I saw 2 games of Ventura
– that was enough for me to be honest!
Ventura is a nice man (had a brief conversation with him in Spanish earlier) but his tennis was far from nice – it was cringeworthy. His coach left a few games before the end muttering to himself and looking far from pleased…well his man was missing the court by a good foot much too often. Berdych was impressive but hardly needed to do more than keep the ball in at times.
The Battle of Britain between Mackin
was a little disappointing.
Marray played consistently well but Mackin mixed good with horrendous. I also saw the last few games of Dent
– Popp played well in the end but had left a comeback too late. Dent served and volleyed with intent – he was good.
was far from stunning. I thought this could be a close match but Ginepri never turned up. Dominik lived up to his nickname – “Dominator” – and pressured Ginepri into going for fancy winners which landed about 2 feet long with regularity. The Barkers
played very well at the start of their doubles match to take the opening set, but they then succumbed to doublefaultitis and the greater experience of their opponents who produced some crisp volley winners and lovely touches at the net to finish the match comfortably.
The best match of the day by far was Carlsen
Carlsen gave everyone a lesson in how to win service games easily with a high percentage of big first serves and follow-up volley winners or short ball put-aways. Mankad gave an exhibition in how to grind out a point from the baseline – it made for fascinating viewing. Predictably, Carlsen’s bigger game got him through 2 tiebreaks but that wasn’t the only drama. His behaviour was far from good.
I caught up with him hours before his match and he was a gentle giant – humble, gracious and very polite. On court he was far from it. A large number of line calls or lack of calls went against him – he had reason to complain many times though. He got more mad towards the end, at one point screaming to the umpire, “What is wrong with you? What are you doing with your eyes? Are you watching this match at all?
Everyone went silent – you could hear a pin drop. He then lost his rag with the ballkid in charge of his towel a few points later and bellowed “Hellooooo?”
The poor kid had to run about 10 feet to the baseline for him to give him his towel which was snatched from his grasp. It was then thrown back to him and the ballkid returned to his post shaking a little and biting his bottom lip. All the linejudges had looked pretty uneasy for over a set by this point too – he got to everyone! Hopefully he will control himself better next time!
The players / stories.
I saw Ljubicic
practising. I also saw Karlovic
play a practise set against Mirnyi
which was decided on a tiebreak – what a surprise!
Mirnyi seemed to win it off a Karlovic backhand error. Karlovic’s groundies were good, but were mixed with the occasional laughables – a routine backhand that bounced twice before reaching the net was a highlight, and a Karlovic serve that landed over the baseline.
He was nice when meeting fans and spoke some English too us and his conversations with Mirnyi were in English…he didn’t seem to stutter then.
was discussing tactics with his coach for his match tomorrow against Srichaphan…he is coming to the net a lot by the looks of it. That is all very well when you are 6’1, but when you are 5’7…
was a little rude. I said clearly to him “Welcome to Nottingham, I hope you enjoy your stay here and good luck” while he signed my programme but he neither opened his mouth or looked at me at all. Charming, considering I gather he speaks perfectly English.
stopped practise for some lunch and sat on the concrete path (spare chairs were available). He opened a lunchbox and hunched over it while he ate (messy eater and doesn’t close his mouth while he chews!) and had an expression like that of Golam on his face, my precioussssssssssss lunch! Don’t worry Ollie – no one was going to take it away from you! I wanted to approach him but thought he was best left alone...I wouldn't want my lunch to be interrupted either.
was the last player I really took interest in at practise. He has some unique warm-up exercises including throwing a baseball…not sure how that helps but still! He was so eager to get as much practise time as possible out of his court booking that he got changed on the path while he waited for the other players to finish…if only some of the players were as productive as him, namely one Ricardo Mello
who spent a lot of his practise session AFTER his heavy singles defeat playing football with a tennis ball with his coach. Glad to see he is taking the grasscourt season seriously!
Anyway, I’m off to bed now. I’m exhausted after 8 hours of spectating today and I am eager to catch up with Ljubicic
of all the players tomorrow as I only saw 2 minutes of him practising today.