So today was the last day. We left late, and got there with time to spare.
They were taking away the stuff from the practice courts (the ice things for water, the recycling bins, the scoreboards). It marked the end of the tournament, really; the night before they had removed all wiring and cameras from the Banque Nationale Court. It saddened me in a way to realize my week was over.
But, it wasn’t really over: three matches remained.
We didn’t need to wait long for Hanley, Ullyett, Knowles and Nestor to arrive on court. They were so cute, all matching and stuff. We sat in front of the same people we had been in front of all week, and as usual they didn’t shut up. Gah, I have a funny story about those idiots later on. Hanley & Ullyett’s coach was sitting nearby, and kept saying stuff to his players, but I couldn’t understand it. I figured he was Australian, but maybe he’s from Zimbabwe? I don’t really know. When he spoke to me yesterday, he sounded Australian. Hm.
The match itself was good. The crowd was asleep, though, and applauded only for Nestor’s points, obviously. But Paul and Kevin were playing amazing. They hit a number of winning returns, and made a number of points using the I formation. They really have that down to an art: it’s amazing to watch them use the I formation as often as they do. The first set was so tight; in fact, the set point was rather lucky (but I don’t remember way, unfortunately).
Nestor and Knowles played well throughout, but their opponents were just one notch higher. Even the crowd’s attempts to get them into the match were all in vain. I felt bad for Paul and Kevin though: in their first match, they were against the crowd since they were playing Djokovic, and again today against the crowd. However, they just play amazingly! They’re great fun to watch. My mom, their coach and me were the only ones applauding their winners for the most part
We were in the first row behind the players, but we still couldn’t understand a word of their strategy. It’s almost as if they whisper, don’t hear each other but still understand what’s going on. Or, you know, after 14 years, Knowles and Nestor have developed ESP. Their lips barely move when they speak, it’s as if they weren’t speaking at all. We were quite amazed at this.
When Paul and Kevin won, Kevin’s arms went up in the air. He was really, really happy about the win: it was visible. Maybe a turn-around win for their season, which has been average so far?
Knowles looked disheartened when he lost, and left before Nestor – they both signed a number of autographs, though. That was nice. Paul and Kevin signed the picture of us which was great, and I wish I had had the guts to tell them how amazing they played, but alas I didn’t have the guts.
So, the first match was a success: a closely contested doubles match that featured great doubles play.
Bjorkman, Mirnyi, Erlich and Ram arrived quite soon after the other match ended. People flooded in from center court, since Roddick had just lost to Djokovic at that time.
Mirnyi played awful at the start. Couldn’t get a first serve in, didn’t get any returns in, missed a lot of volleys. Jonas had a lot of pressure on his shoulders. They did get some bad breaks, though, on sudden-death deuce points. Erlich and Ram were cheered on loudly (and obnoxiously… cheering on Ues) by these four Israeli women. I remember one of them from last year, she was cheering on Shahar Peer, and she was so annoying. Again today. Even at 5-1, she was cheering on Mirnyi’s mistakes.
The crowd was pro-Max and Jonas, though, and were cheering them on whenever something seemed to come together.
In the second set, things came together more. Less mistakes from Mirnyi, Jonas was very solid, Erlich & Ram quite aggressive. Jonas missed a volley at 5-5 Deuce, though, and that was the one that really decided the match. Had he not missed it (and it wasn’t a hard one either) they may have won. It’s ironic, in a way: Jonas was solid the entire way, but he wasn’t solid on the one that “counted the most”.
There was quite something on Match Point. Erlich hits a ball on a second serve point, and it was good, but it was called long, and they replayed the point. Bjorkman was complaining, saying it was out and that now it should be deuce. But alas, they replayed the point. And Erlich got a first serve. It was kind of unfair, I guess, but I wasn’t on the right end to judge the ball.
I got Erlich to sign for me, but Ram was talking to people from the Embassy (? I couldn’t understand them even if they spoke English) so I couldn’t get his. The crowd, that hadn’t really cheered them on too much, cheered for them a lot when they left. They appreciated it (well, Ram at least)
The last match of the day was entertaining. Paes & Damm against Bhupathi & Vizner. For such a shrimp, Paes has an attitude. He’s very… dominant. Damm is a perfect partner because he just listens and follows what Paes says; he doesn’t mind being bossed around. But he would annoy me, I guess. I just don’t like his personality much, he started hitting balls as hard as he could at one point because he was mad that they missed break points or something, and missed Bhupathi’s face by an inch. I was in shock!
Damm & Paes are up and down, you know, in their temperament. And Bhupathi and Vizner are always on the same level. In the first set, they saved eight set points before winning it in a tiebreaker! It was really amazing.
The second set went by so fast I didn’t see it go by at all.
The annoying people behind me were talking about the two Indians facing off, and then one of them said they were Hindou, and then the other person said, “Well they can’t have two nationalities.” It was hard to retain laughter… but then they actually started discussing where Hindou people came from. “What country starts with H?” it was really, really funny, but also insulting – thank God that neither of the players spoke French. Then they threw native Indians in there, for God knows what reason. Gah, some people are just ignorant. But it was quite funny.
The match tiebreaker was good. Mahesh and Pavel were up 6-3, then lost multiple points in a row to get to 6-8. Paes was pumped up, he yelled out many times in joy (but it was so vicious it seemed like anger…!) when he yells out “out”, by the way, he scares the hell out of me…
Then the next point was PIVOTAL. It was a long rally – they actually had a lot of long rallies in the match – and Damm gets a smash which he mishits a bit and it goes near the line. Now, I was right near it, and I thought it was just inside the line, but Pavel didn’t hit it and let it go. Now, this confused me, and apparently the umpire. The lines judge, a young woman, said it was good, BUT the umpire overruled it. Correction the ball was out. 7-8. Paes just LOST it. Damm accompanied him in arguing but… You can’t top Leander, folks. He was yelling at the umpire and questioning the lines judge. Poor girl. “DID YOU CALL IT GOOD?” I mean, it was good, I think. But he just lost it. Worst time possible to lose it, too. Pavel and Mahesh won the next points really well, and then won the match. They looked so happy, I was happy for them. Paes and Damm argued for minutes after the handshake.
The drama there was amazing, you know, amazing quality drama. The match was good, but overall, I think that the first match was the best of the day – it was a very high quality encounter.
Match of the week for me was Dancevic & Verdasco, and in doubles, the first quarterfinal today.
It was a great week, overall: I got a lot of autographs from players. Nadal, Nieminen, Tursunov, Bjorkman, Mirnyi, Knowles, Nestor, Ullyett, Hanley, Wassen, Gonzalez, Ljubicic, Soderling, Knowle, Aspelin, Paes, Bhupathi, Vizner, Davydenko, Fognini, Jamie Murray, Lee, Fyrstenberg, Matkowski, Erlich, Zimonjic… That’s about it. I got a lot of doubles specialists, though, they’re really nice guys. Actually, all of them are really nice, and I am a fan of most players now. I just have a few that are my favorites, you know, that I wish more luck to than the rest! Haha.
I also got my pictures taken with Nieminen, Bjorkman, Mirnyi, Tursunov, Knowle&Aspelin, Nestor, Hanley&Ullyett. Before the week started, I couldn’t mutter a word to a player, now I’m able to ask for pictures, so I’m proud of myself. Maybe next year, I’ll be able to ask players questions. Still not at that level yet
If I had one disappointment about the tournament, it was that I didn’t get to see Aspelin & Knowle play (and that they lost second round, that was sad, because I wished them well at my tournament) and that I had trouble seeing matches, because I was always tempted by practice courts and such. But I enjoyed my time at the Roger’s Cup thoroughly, it was definitely awesome, and the week passed by so slowly, I got to savour each and every moment. =)
Thanks for reading, everyone. =)