I slept only five hours last night, I was getting all my pictures ready for the players to sign if I got lucky and saw them. I woke up, got all ready, had all my food, and Mom and me left.
So we arrive, we go around in the boutiques and get all those awful freebies (they’re awful because my Mom insists on going back as many times as possible without being recognized…) then we went to buy tickets for Center Court (my tickets didn’t get us there, but we really wanted to see Grosjean play, so we got cheap tickets)
I bought the book, which is nice as always… I went off to see the practice courts. I saw Djokovic getting there – he took his shirt off as he got there, don’t even know why he bothered to bring one… Chela was practicing with his coach. It was nice to notice how players ‘warm up’. They start slow and increase the pace as they go along… Chela and his coach had such long rallies – they probably only missed twice in ten minutes. I met a girl from work, which was awkward, because I was taking pictures of shirtless Djokovic, but anyways.
I went off to see who else was there. I got to a heavenly spot: in front of me was Melzer practicing with Bjorkman, Aspelin practicing with Knowle, and Nieminen practicing with an American I don’t know. I quite enjoyed watching Simon and Julian warm up – Simon has such a big forehand. Julian has two-handed volleys, which seem awkward but are very effective – they’re fast, low, and don’t bounce much. They proceeded to hit second serves and returns… I was shocked when Knowle said, “OK, I’ll start serving first serves now” because I was sure their second serves were first serves! They were so fast!! I stayed there for an hour watching these players practice, and as they left I got out a collage I had made of them. Julian looks at a picture of Simon serving and says, “Who’s that guy?” with a chuckle. Simon was intrigued and started to laugh when he saw the pictures. Julian signed it once, and then Simon signed too – he was asking Julian were one of the pictures was taken (Auckland, he said) and then before leaving Julian signed it again!! I was laughing… and he complemented the pictures and left J
Then I was chasing Bjorkman – which isn’t easy with flipflops on – and he also liked the collage. He took his time to sign, which made me feel good… he was very kind to me.
Nieminen had already gone when I returned to the courts – and what do I hear but Brad Gilbert and Andy Murray. The first thing I heard Brad say was the F word… talking about weather or something. Murray was practicing with Juan Martin Del Potro, who is just so impressive to see in person… massive!
Then Dancevic came around, and he was bending over right beside me… and I was like, still in shock, I guess – at all these players. There was a camera crew filming him. He was playing against Radek Stepanek – and he was getting frustrated, it seemed to me.
I went to Center Court to see the end of Duclos – Lopez. Duclos just got on a roll – he started being aggressive, coming to the net, fist pumping… really amazing. Lopez seemed a bit out of it, but he was just being beaten – not beating himself.
Then we went to see Blake practicing with Ginepri… but I was more interested in Clement and Baghdatis practicing nearby. They were speaking French to each other, kind of surprising me. These two are really intense and fun to watch practice. I chased down Clement to get him to sign for me – it was a picture of him and Llodra after winning Wimbledon – and I was so like, awe-struck! I managed to congratulate him for the doubles victory, but it sounded really shy – as it was. But he was very humble and nice J
Canas and Gonzalez were practicing, as were Nadal and Hewitt – there were so many people watching these two it was crazy! I felt bad for Ljubicic and Moya nearby with only like two old people watching them.
Some guy told me they were done soon, so I waited in line to get an autograph, and Hewitt left nearly a half-hour later and didn’t sign any, and Nadal came an hour after that. And when he came the hundreds there went WILD. I was afraid not to get one after all that waiting. It was awkward as he was sitting in a cart, but I managed to push my way through (which is hard, considering all the little kids and stuff)
Then I watched the end of Nishikori-Gabashvili. Kei was just out of it after that first set. His serve went away, and, to be honest, I thought he was a bad returner. Gabashvili had no trouble taking advantage off the return, even on second serves. The cart guy wouldn’t slow down, so Kei didn’t sign for me… oh well, he’s young
I forget exactly what I did after – I returned to the practice courts to see Jarkko Nieminen practicing his serve. Jamie Murray was also practicing to a rather large crowd, and his brother arrived later. Tursunov practiced with Melzer, and signed for anyone who asked – he even said “You’re welcome” to everyone who said thanks. Jarkko took the time to do each autograph correctly – he was really sweet.
Jarkko threw a ball over the alleyway to try and hit Dmitry, but missed by a bit. Dmitry retaliated by throwing the ball high in the air – really strong – and missed Jarkko by inches. It was so funny!!
Mikhail Youzhny was also there practicing, and signed for me too. Gonzalez and Soderling signed as they walked on by. I was like, just, awe-struck. They’re all such big guys.
All the players were really nice to me, and to everyone, really. It was a nice atmosphere out there today. I finished off my day by watching Grosjean smoke King on Center Court. There were some nice rallies in this match, but Grosjean came out on top most of the time. We did the boutiques another time and went home early.
Can’t wait to go back tomorrow and hopefully watch more matches than I did today – today I really autograph hunted and watched practices. They just make it look SO easy.