My Sunday Report from Washington
Hey, just thought I would share my experiences from the Legg Mason tournament yesterday.
My friend and I got there at about 1030, as the first matches were going on. It cost 10 dollars to park, and then I picked up our general admission tickets, which meant that our seats were way up at the top of the stadium. That really didn't matter, though. We never actually sat in those seats all day. I also bought a program for 5 dollars, and they threw in a copy of DEUCE magazine. Of course, my friend already had a copy as a prize from the ATP tennis fantasy game. Guess the joke is on him. Caught a little of Kendrick beating Haybittel, then headed to Court 1. Got seats right on the court for Takao Suzuki v. Miguel Gallardi Valles. Gallardo Valles seems like the next Rios; he spent most of the match cursing in Spanish and throwing rackets around. Suzuki was interesting to watch, he has a nice serve and he's definitely a gambler, he came to the net a lot, and finished him in straights. I got his autograph after the match. After that, watched Nenad Zimonjic beat Kevin Kim at the stadium. Zimonjic is huge and looks really intimidating, he won fairly easily. After that, watched the end of Trevor Spracklin v. John Paul Fruttero. Fruttero had the David Wheaton flag headband thing going. Spracklin is a local guy who made it through a prequalifying tournament. Spracklin saved five match points to take out the faux Wheaton in a third set tiebreak. After that, we headed to the practice courts. Watched Todd Martin, Alex Corretja, and Dmitry Tursunov warming up. Alex is a really nice guy, I got my picture with him. I also got Dmitry's autograph, but he almost walked off with my pen....We then saw a little of Wes Moodie v. Michael Yani. Both guys are huge servers. For some reason, the group who was conducting some kind of kids day on the outside clay courts was blasting swing music during the match...they did give out free hot dogs though. We then headed back over to the grandstand and saw a little of the guy with the best name in tennis - H'Cone Thompson -too bad he lost to Zack Fleishman. Then, we got a nice surprise as Lleyton Hewitt and Robby Ginepri were practicing on the court behind the grandstand. Lleyton looked in great form. Robby was cursing like a sailor and wasn't doing so well. After this, I watched Michel Kratochvil vs. "Mashiska" Washington. I'm still convinced it was actually Mal out there, looks just like him. Got a great seat in the front row, and actually wound up sitting next to Michel's coach, Bernd Karbacher. Very nice guy - we wound up talking about Michel's game and what they were working on, and his impressions of Washington. The match was very entertaining. "Mashiska" was really working Michel for every point. He was sweating so much that every time they switched sides, Michel would call for the towel boys to wipeup "Mashiska"'s sweat. I guess that's what happens when you spend several years doing commentary, then try to get back into the sport under an assumed name. Lots of good baseline rallies. Michel won in three sets. After this, I saw James Blake warming up on the court behind the grandstand. I got my picture taken with him, although with his hat, sunglasses, and beard, he looks quite different. After this, we went back to the practice courts. Sjeng Schalken was practicing with Alex Corretja (Alex putting in a lot of practice time!) I got there too late though, it was just as they were finishing up. I got Sjeng's autograph, but I did not get the honour of seeing his infamous serve up close. We then headed over to the outside clay courts, where Hewitt, Martin, Ginepri, and Blake put on a little exhibition with some local kids for charity. Why is it that everyone of these charity events involves the players trying to hit shots as they hold some kid's hand? After this, all the matches were done for the day, so we thought we'd see the stadium one last time. Well, to our surprise, Andre was warming up in the stadium with Brian Vahaly. We got to sit in the front row box seats as Andre was putting on a show only a few feet from us. Unbelievable. The crowd gathered there was in awe of a master at work. Funny moment at the end, when he signed an autograph for Vahaly.
Overall, I can't imagine getting more out of a sporting event for a nine dollar ticket. I had a great time, and was really surprised how close the fans and players interact. I hope a lot of fans go to Legg Mason this year, as I think they really did a wonderful job.
~♠ Gasquetaires ♠~
un pour tous, tous pour un
PAW #1 5/22/06
Predict-the-SCORE US Open Champion