Legg Mason reports (& no photos) [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Legg Mason reports (& no photos)

07-30-2005, 09:00 PM
Saturday, July 30th:

I was at the qualifying all day (& will be at the tournament the rest of the week). I'll try to write a little report each day. I'm not really a photo person so any pictures I do take (with my disposable non-digital camera) won't be available for uploading anytime soon.

The most exciting part of my day was finding out that my credential entitled me to use the same transportation as the players. On the way there, I shared a car with Bianca, Giovanni Lapentti's girlfriend, who had just flown in from NYC. She was very nice (& happy to hear that we thought her English was very good). I almost ended up in a car with Max Mirnyi on the way there, but he had a baby & a lot of luggage so I took the next car (w. Bianca). Coincidentally, Lapentti came in & sat down right behind me at the Oudsema/Smeets match a few hours later. On the way home, I shared a car with Kevin Ullyett. He was very nice & we talked the whole way (it's a fairly long ride) about the Metro (which he rode for the first time last week even though he's been coming to DC for 12 years), how to get to the Canadian embassy (to get a visa for Montreal), his holiday after Wimbledon, my trip to India, etc. When I was at the transportation office to get a car home, Tim Henman came by with Paul Annacone to make arrangements for the next day.

Didn't see much of the first round qualifying matches since I was mostly walking around & watching practice sessions. I saw Radek Stepanek, Kenneth Carlsen, Karol Beck, Wayne Arthurs, Alexander Popp, Sebastien Grosjean, & some unidentified other players. I also heard a bunch of coaches discussing how Taylor Dent was wasting his talent by not being in shape.

I watched some of the de Chaunac v. King (Q2) match (mostly because it was in the stadium thus I could sit in the shade), but it was such a drubbing (by de Chaunac) that I left at the beginning of the 2nd set.

I watched the entirety of Oudsema v. Smeets (Q2). I was sitting right at the baseline (about two feet from the players). Both players were playing pretty solidly with only one break point in the first set. In the second set, there was drama when a ball girl collapsed from the heat & had to be wheeled off the court by EMS. Oudsema seemed to be a little distracted after the delay & was broken on his first break point of the set. Oudsema saved some break points later in the set, but couldn't break Smeets who held on to win.(Smeets only faced one break point the whole match.) I hadn't seen much of either of these players before. Smeets, perhaps as an homage to Clement, wore sunglasses the entire match. Oudsema has a really powerful down the line forehand, but just got too distracted & started missing a lot of first serves. (Polo must not manufacture tennis shoes since Oudsema, Polo's new poster boy, was wearing Reebok shoes & Nike socks.)

There was a lot of cheering coming from the grandstand where Heuberger was playing van der Merwe, but I forgot to check the score before I left so I don't know what it was about.

07-30-2005, 09:03 PM
Thanks smucav :D

07-31-2005, 01:10 AM
Thanks S! What are you doing for the tournament this week? Will you be able to see more matches or will they make you slave away some place where you can't see anything? Have fun and keep us posted!

07-31-2005, 01:49 AM
Thanks S! What are you doing for the tournament this week?Watching tennis.Will you be able to see more matches or will they make you slave away some place where you can't see anything?What?! Why would they do that?Have fun and keep us posted!Will try on both accounts.

07-31-2005, 01:51 AM
I'm going too, maybe I'll spot you (even though I don't know what you look like). I'll be there from Monday until whenever Karol and Paul lose, most likely.

You saw Karol :D

I'm not much of a picture person either, but I want to try to get a picture of myself with Karol and Paul so I bought a really cheap camera ;)

07-31-2005, 01:52 AM
I hope I get to see Karol practicing so I can bug him a little. ;)

07-31-2005, 01:54 AM
You saw Karol :DHe was on one of the practice courts with Kenneth Carlsen. Carlsen was going for a half-volley, but nearly crashed into (& over) the net instead. Everyone cheered when he was able to keep his balance.

07-31-2005, 02:27 AM
A misunderstanding on my part, I thought you were working for or volunteering at the tournament this week. I sped over the bit that says you have a credential. I'll read slower next time.

07-31-2005, 02:43 AM
He was on one of the practice courts with Kenneth Carlsen. Carlsen was going for a half-volley, but nearly crashed into (& over) the net instead. Everyone cheered when he was able to keep his balance.

Heh, the great Dane is such an odd guy, but I'm happy he didn't fall and/or get hurt!

07-31-2005, 04:28 AM
thanks heaps smucav!

cant wait to give you guys some reports when the tour reaches adelaide next year!!!

ae wowww
07-31-2005, 08:54 AM
Yeah I thought you told me you were working as well, S? Anyway, have a brilliant time-looking forward to reading some more reports... you write so well :) Have fun!

07-31-2005, 05:31 PM
Wow, I really should have stuck around for the rest of the Smeets match - I missed the drama and Giovanni Lapentti! Those sunglasses are indeed awesome.

07-31-2005, 08:11 PM
Thanks for the report. Fun to read.

07-31-2005, 08:33 PM
Sunday, July 31st:

Today was a shorter day, but better weather-wise (overcast w. a cool breeze). No players in my car today (just sponsors). The matches didn't start until later today so we picked up coffee from the lounge & just walked around. The guy I was with would ask me "who's that?" every time he saw anyone tall. We saw Wesley Moodie, Alexander Popp, Ivo Heuberger & some unidentified guys (one of them might have been Paul Hanley). There was supposed to be a Mardy Fish signing in the morning, but since he withdrew last night they were scrambling for a replacement & ended up w. Tomas Berdych.

We checked the practice schedule posted in the lounge. We had missed Tim Henman (who apparently only practiced with his coach), but found out Roddick was practicing at 11:00 a.m. on the grandstand so we headed out there. Scott Oudsema & Phillip Simmonds were finishing up their practice when Roddick (w. Dean Goldfine & Doug Spreen) & Sebastien Grosjean (w. Brad Stine & Lola) walked on the court. When Oudsema & Simmonds finished, they & their coaches all got in a big discussion with Roddick et al before walking off. We were the only people out there for a while, so we were sitting right behind the players chairs (about two feet away from the players). Lola was sitting in one of the chairs & seemed quite bored with the tennis. (She was mostly playing with her new pink hat which Roddick complimented her on during one of the changeovers.) The tension on the first racket Roddick was using was messed up, so Goldfine spent the rest of the session standing on top of the racket bouncing up & down trying to adjust it. (He asked some awe-struck kid in the stands if she wanted to come down & bounce for him, but she didn't take him up on it.) Stine spent most of the session retrieving balls. Roddick & Grosjean just hit for a while then took turns practicing volleys before playing a practice set. Roddick at one point had his head turned to side talking to Goldfine (& not even looking at Grosjean), but still managed to kept up his end of a 40 shot rally. Grosjean was the one who finally missed & Stine said "what happened, he's not even looking at the ball." They both were striking the ball well throughout the practice set. Grosjean was trying to be flashy & hit behind the back shots, but missed most of them. Roddick hit a let so hard at one point that he knocked one of the inside net posts over & Stine had to repair it. Roddick & Goldfine would chat with us everytime they came back to the chairs. Spreen & Stine mostly stayed in the backcourt & Grosjean was mostly chatting with Lola & Roddick: they got in a discussion at one point about Grosjean's shorts & how Roddick thought they were better than his. Later Grosjean asked Roddick how much sleep he got last night & said that he [Grosjean] slept for 11 hours & "it was good." Grosjean was feigning that he was upset that Lola was offering Roddick a towel when he came over & was ignoring Grosjean ("why are you giving Andy a towel? No towel for me?"). Once when Grosjean missed a return, he waited quite a while & yelled "out" jokingly which got a big laugh from the crowd (which is probably why he continued to do it everytime he missed the rest of the practice). When Roddick was serving 5-1 (30-0) he asked Grosjean "the loser of this set is buying dinner, right?" Grosjean just shook his head & laughed. Roddick also had a running commentary going with Goldfine about whether or not he had his wallet today (presumably to pay for the dinner if he lost the practice set.) They practiced well over an hour & by that time, the stands were full (at first, only the seating on the side Roddick was on was full--on both sides of the bleachers--but when more people arrived they eventually filled up the other side.) When they were finished they sat in the chairs talking for a while, then started packing up. Lola handed her hot pink purse to daddy for him to carry. Roddick got his sharpie out of his bag & signed a ton of autographs. (I saw the ball girl who collapsed yesterday in the huddle so she must have recovered overnight.) The security guy finally had to come out & clear a path for them to get out. Roddick was scheduled to practice again at 3:00 p.m with James Blake (& Paradorn was on after that), but I ended up leaving earlier since this is the one day there aren't any late matches.

Not long after the match I ran into Goldfine near the lounge talking on his cell phone. Grosjean & Lola were also in that area waiting for someone to come out of the office. I ran into Goldfine again in the hallway on my way out. He smiled & said "we meet again." Popp was sitting out in the hallway the whole time fiddling with a blackberry.

When we were leaving the practice session to walk over to the stadium, we walked by the practice courts & saw Kenneth Carlsen with some random guy (only women on the other practice courts). A guy told us he had just left the stadium & said the first match (de Chaunac v. Smeets) was almost over (de Chaunac up a set & a break) so we went to get lunch from the kids picnic day that was going on. On our way there we saw Radek Stepanek & Tomas Berdych (speaking in Czech with a coach) & Jenny Hopkins (wearing some hot pink Golovin short shorts).

We took our lunch in the stadium to catch the next match (Simmonds v. Delgado), but low & behold Smeets (sans sunglasses) had made a comeback & he & de Chaunac were starting a 3rd set. The first game of that set took nearly 20 minutes as de Chaunac stood at the net & argued a call then made some hand gestures & taunts toward Smeets before getting in a long discussion with the umpire. After that de Chaunac started questioning every call by going up to the umpire chair. Smeets to his credit ignored the antics & just continued to play solidly while de Chaunac unraveled. We left when it was 4-1, but I've seen that Smeets won. Not long before we left the stadium, they announced that a Karol Beck signing was starting "right now." As we left to go home it looked like there were about 30 people in line.

The transportation office was really backed up (a shortage of drivers) so instead of waiting we just took the regular shuttle home. Overall the tournament is running smoothly so far. I've seen the tournament director just walking around checking in on matches a number of times so no apparent crises.

A guy I know told me a funny story about something that happened with Phillippoussis & his child-fiancee yesterday after I left, but since I didn't witness it myself I hesitate to repeat it here. I'll be on the lookout for a repeat occurance (which seems inevitable if his report is accurate).

[Off-topic: after watching Oudsema & Simmonds & some of the other young Americans over the last two days, it's even more appalling that Donald Young has received six main draw wild cards this year, while these other promising players are left up a creek without a paddle.]

07-31-2005, 08:47 PM
Grosjean loves hitting the goofy shots in practice, he sent a few shots over the fence on a couple mis-hits :lol: guess he's got to keep his daughter entertained with those...

Go Smeets! He's now in the main draw!

07-31-2005, 08:59 PM
Yeah I thought you told me you were working as well, S? Anyway, have a brilliant time-looking forward to reading some more reports... you write so well :) Have fun!I was thinking about volunteering since I still hadn't heard from the guy who gives me tickets every year a few weeks before the tournament. It turned out he was on vacation when the tickets were sent so he was just delayed in getting them to me. In the past he gave me 4 reserved tickets for each session (so I was able to divy them up amongst friends, colleagues, & interns), but this year after I told him I could go to every session, he gave me 2 box tickets for each session & put me on the list for credentials. All in all, fewer tickets for my friends, but more perks for me. Since there is no such thing as a "free lunch" in Washington, I did tell him I would go to all the sponsor functions & schmooze a few names he gave me, but in this case the benefits definitely outweigh the cost. (Today I managed to score 2 comp reserved tickets for the first semifinal from another sponsor. Now I just have decide who gets to sit with me up close for that match & who gets the cheap seats. Everyone else is on their own.)Go Smeets! He's now in the main draw!I think a lot of people were cheering for him today just because de Chaunac was behaving so poorly.

07-31-2005, 09:04 PM
Simmonds v. Delgado

Anyone know the score yet?


07-31-2005, 10:49 PM
Sunday, July 31st:
A guy I know told me a funny story about something that happened with Phillippoussis & his child-fiancee yesterday after I left, but since I didn't witness it myself I hesitate to repeat it here. I'll be on the lookout for a repeat occurance (which seems inevitable if his report is accurate).

c'mon share! lol, you cant say that and then not tell. what happened?? god i hope its not too embarassing!

if u dont want to post it can u private message me,... considering id be the only one that cares, lol!

07-31-2005, 11:07 PM
No we all want to know... flip-fan...:)
Have fun smucav!! Tell us everything you see over there!

07-31-2005, 11:39 PM
Thanks S. Any info you want to share about Flip is appreciated, especially if it tells us anything about his game these days. Come back Flip....

08-01-2005, 12:50 AM
aww isn't Lola just the cutest girl. she's so pretty. Thanks smucav :)

08-01-2005, 01:12 AM
:yeah: smucav, thank you very much for so detailed reports (esp. about Grosjean ;) )!!.. An excellent job. Have so great time there every day! And what a pity that there're no photos...

08-01-2005, 07:42 AM
thanks again smucav!

loved your chat about the roddick/grosjean practice set!

08-01-2005, 12:50 PM
Now that you mentioned that something happened with Flip you have to spill it! You cant just say something happened and leave it at that! :p

08-01-2005, 08:04 PM
Thanks for the updates Smucav.....they are greatly appreciated!

08-02-2005, 03:40 AM
c'mon share! lol, you cant say that and then not tell. what happened?? god i hope its not too embarassing!

if u dont want to post it can u private message me,... considering id be the only one that cares, lol!

I saw Flip practicing today. He looked OK. Missing a ton of serves. That girl was with him.... what a diva. A bit over the top.

08-02-2005, 04:03 AM
I saw Flip practicing today. He looked OK. Missing a ton of serves. That girl was with him.... what a diva. A bit over the top.

lol, what was she wearing? alexis has a habit of over-dressing for the tennis... in january she looked ok because she wore jeans and a singlet top but since then she's pulled out the designer dresses and high heels, hahaha..

oh well, its better he have an off-day serving in practice, then in his match... i hope!

08-02-2005, 04:19 AM
Monday, August 1st:

[Epilogue to Sunday: I found out I missed some drama after I left yesterday. During the later Roddick-Blake practice session on the grandstand, some guy in the upper deck of the stadium kept heckling both players, yelling out between serves & screaming "Blake you suck" every time he missed a return. Roddick got really mad at the guy & Dean Goldfine told the heckler to be quiet. He kept it up & Roddick told him to be quiet. The guy started yelling that he was going to come down there & "show them how to really play." Finally a security guard hauled him out of there. It turns out he was stinking drunk & had to be escorted off the grounds. (Why/how would someone come to watch four qualifying matches & a kids picnic & get that drunk?)]

I got up to the tennis center around 12:30 today. I immediately checked the practice schedule in the lounge & found out that Roddick had already practiced in the stadium, but got the schedule for the rest of the day. No one I recognized was on the outer practice courts but I saw Greg Rusedski walking around as well as Alexander Popp (who seems to be everywhere I go) & Jenny Hopkins. Since the gates don't open until later in the day, there were probably less than a hundred people in walking around the whole tennis center.

Nicolas Kiefer was supposed to be practicing in the stadium at 1:00, but he wasn't there so I went to the grandstand where Robby Ginepri was practicing with some young American kid who I've seen around the last few days, but don't recognize. Other than Ginepri's coach Francisco Montana (& another guy who I think was his trainer) & the young kid's coach or agent (who I first thought was a reporter), I was literally the only person watching the practice session. It was super hot at that time, but Ginepri & the kid were really practicing hard, running down everything. Ginepri was shirtless & he really is one of the fittest players I've seen up close. Ginepri was really hitting & moving well, but would scream expletives whenever he missed a return. At one point during the match, a camera crew came in & started shooting Ginepri. I don't think he noticed until Montana whispered to him, "look out, cameras are here." (Maybe so he wouldn't swear?) Whoever this kid is, he has a really nice serve (he aced Ginepri a few times) & a nice looking one-handed backhand. Montana was doing all the ball retrieving, while the trainer just sat in the umpire chair. The kid's coach/agent whoever spent the whole practice session on his cell phone yelling at someone, barely paying attention to the practice. Ginepri & Montana were both yelling out "good shot" whenever the kid hit a winner which seemed to give him a lot of confidence. From the conversation they all had at the end of the practice, it seemed like they had just met the kid this week & this was their first practice. When the session was over, I waited a minute or so (only one other person came in during the whole session) to leave so I wouldn't be right behind them, but of course they stopped to talk to some girl Ginepri knew (an attractive blonde who might have been Ashley Harkleroad) so I ended up right behind them anyway.

I walked around a little bit & watched some of the practices on outer courts (does Kenneth Carlsen practice six times a day or what? he's always on the practice courts). I saw Andy Roddick coming out of the media tent with about five reporters trailing after him. They had to really hustle to keep up.

Then it was time to meet my guest. When play started, we went to the Popp v. Phau match on the grandstand (the height differential in that match was hilarious). Popp got up an early break in the first, then Phau broke back, but lost the first set tiebreak. In the second set, Phau started hitting passing shots everytime Popp moved in which the big guy had no chance of getting to. Popp got the early break in the third & that was all she wrote.

Paradorn was having a signing, but we didn't care about that (there were lots of Srichaphans on site with their red t-shirts today though). We went to get dinner from hospitality (Red, Hot, & Blue tonight) & went into the stadium where the second set of the Goldstein v. Falla match was starting. Goldstein was on fire, scrambling all over the court, & getting lots of support from the crowd.

When that was over, we went back to the grandstand where local kid Phillip Simmonds (playing in his first ATP main draw match after qualifying) had already bageled Wayne Arthurs in the first. I asked around, but no one had seen the first set so I don't know if Simmonds was playing great or Arthurs was terrible. Simmonds, who I saw a little bit of during the qualifying & practicing, is a former top ten ITF junior who was getting a lot of support from the crowd. It seemed like a lot of people came out just to see him after reading a story about him in today's Washington Post. He fought hard in the second, but Arthurs took the set. Arthurs was really cursing everytime he missed a return. Simmonds got down a break early in the third, but had break points against Arthurs in the next game. When he failed to convert, he really got deflated & was broken again. He seems like a nice kid & I hope to see more of him.

Hernych & Delgado were just warming up, so we just walked around a little & came back & watched the first few games of Karlovic v. Carlsen in the grandstand mainly so I could check out Karlovic's height in person. Carlsen got broken in his first service game.

We went to the stadium where the second set of the James Blake v. Lisnard match was starting. Lisnard was actually playing better than I expected based on his reputation & was making all sorts of passing shots & extending all of Blake's service games. Finally serving at 3-4 Lisnard got what he thought was a bad call to give Blake a break point which he converted & served out the match. Lisnard walked up to the umpire (Steve Ullrich) & instead of shaking hands just put his hand up to the umpire's face & walked off.

Next we headed out to the practice courts (three courts side-by-side with one fence around them.) On the left court, Nicolas Massu (with a giant headband & unusual looking top-knot ponytail) was practicing with Paradorn with Paradorn's brother/coach & a blonde guy who appeared to be Massu's coach standing by. In the middle court, two random players (my friend thought one of them was really cute & was upset I couldn't identify him) were practicing. On the right court the Bryans were practicing with my car buddy from the other day, Kevin Ullyett, with Wayne Bryan retrieving balls. (I had heard earlier in the day that the Bryans only arrived late today after going to airport on Sunday & finding out they didn't have a reservation). The Bryans/Ullyett were doing some sort of drill where they were playing two on one & would rotate after odd games. Ullyett actually did a fairly good job of covering the whole court when the Bryans were double-teaming him. Mr. Bryan got bored after a while & just sat in a chair on the side of the court.

When we went back to the stadium, the second set of Jonas Bjorkman v. Jeff Morrison was beginning. Bjorkman broke early, but both players were getting in some good ralleys at the net. Morrison broke back which amped up the crowd, but Bjorkman eventually took the set & the match.

After being on site for nearly ten hours, there was no more tennis to be seen (at least until tomorrow).

08-02-2005, 04:24 AM
Seems like we did different things.

I think that the young American kid you're referring to is the same one that sat beside me (yes, in the cheap seats!) during Paul's match. I recognized him but couldn't remember his name. He was talking to some red-headed guy that I'm fairly certain is some big American player's coach or something. They just blab-blab-blabbed the entire time. I almost asked them to be quiet but I didn't want to be mean to a player. :p Still, I'm not sure why they went up there if they were just going to talk, they didn't watch the match.

08-02-2005, 04:32 AM
The kid I'm referring to shorter than Ginepri (probably about 5'9") but about Ginepri's build. He had a backwards cap with what appeared to be blonde hair peeking out. All the times I saw him practicing this week he was wearing a blue sleeveless shirt (couldn't tell the brand). He looks like he's about 16, but all the young guys playing qualifying lost already (except Simmonds) so I don't know why they would be hanging around. The coach/agent guy with him today was really short, but not red-headed. I guess when I actually see him play a match I'll figure out who he is.

08-02-2005, 04:37 AM
Well the guy I'm speaking of has blond hair and a backwards cap, and I don't think he knew the red-headed guy that well, because of how they were talking. He did look to be about 16 years old. Pretty tan though... I don't know about the height really.

He also mentioned that he was just there as a practice partner for someone.

08-02-2005, 04:43 AM
Sometimes the players bring friends who play (like Andy and Tres Davis or Mardy and Bo Hodge) as practice partners, or they even sometimes hire someone. So it may not even be anyone who's "anyone"

Anyway, thanks for the report. Sounds like everyone had a nice day :) Glad to hear Lisnard played better than it sounded like he did against Andre last week (when he could barely keep a ball in play or get his serve over the net). I was worried about James's prospects for his next match(es) just watching the scores tick away.

08-02-2005, 05:34 AM
could be a friend or a junior or someone they heard was in the area, and asked to practice with them, could be absolutely anyone.

08-02-2005, 05:36 AM
Sometimes the players bring friends who play (like Andy and Tres Davis or Mardy and Bo Hodge) as practice partners, or they even sometimes hire someone. So it may not even be anyone who's "anyone"

Anyway, thanks for the report. Sounds like everyone had a nice day :) Glad to hear Lisnard played better than it sounded like he did against Andre last week (when he could barely keep a ball in play or get his serve over the net). I was worried about James's prospects for his next match(es) just watching the scores tick away.

:awww: i miss tres :sad: i used to love watching him in the juniors

08-02-2005, 05:42 AM
Lisnard walked up to the umpire (Steve Ullrich) & instead of shaking hands just put his hand up to the umpire's face & walked off.

08-02-2005, 06:18 AM
The red-headed coach could be Steve Devries, Robby's old coach. He's with the USTA and I think he's coaching Rajeev Ram now (or maybe it was Amer Delic, can't remember).

Thanks for the reports. If you keep running into Alexander Popp, say hello to him for me (just kidding, he doesn't know my name).

08-02-2005, 07:04 AM
thanks for the reports smucav :)

08-02-2005, 09:18 AM
I enjoyed the reports that I've read so far, looking forward to some more.

08-02-2005, 02:24 PM
The only 16 year old I can think of is Tyler Hochwalt, who lost in the last round of qualies, and was skinnier and paler than you mentioned.

Sounds like a practice partner, just like Pequery, the mystery French guy I kept seeing.

08-02-2005, 05:29 PM
Thanks for the reports smucav.

08-02-2005, 07:28 PM
Thanks for the reports.....

08-03-2005, 12:59 AM
thanx for the reports :)

08-03-2005, 02:49 AM
Thanks for the reports, smucav! Look forward to reading more. :)

08-03-2005, 04:12 AM
Before I write my full report, I've now identified the mystery young kid practicing with Ginepri & others as wild card Alex Clayton (winner, USTA National Boys' 18 Clay Court Championships).

08-03-2005, 04:39 AM
That's not the same kid I saw ;)

08-03-2005, 06:08 AM
Tuesday, August 2nd:

I arrived on the grounds today around noon. As I entered I passed by the tent where James Blake & the Bryans were doing a literacy program with some of the WTEF kids. I peeped in the door, but the kids were all making so much noise it wasn't worth trying to listen in. I checked the practice court schedule. No one was in the stadium right then, so I went to the outer courts & found Sebastian Grosjean practicing with his coach Brad Stine on Court 1. Stine was hitting volleys at Grosjean & he kept trying to pummel him with the returns. Arnaud Clement & the mystery French guy (Dutch-boy haircut) were sitting in the front row of the stands jeering Grosjean in French whenever he missed. I walked around the back of the court to get to the other end of the bleachers & saw that Paul Goldstein & his coach were doing some sort of ball tossing drill on the end of the court Stine was on. There were some doubles guys I didn't recognize in the grandstand. As I was leaving the grandstand, a Bryan came rushing by & when he saw me coming off that court asked me if I had seen his brother. When I said he wasn't on those courts, he went rushing into court 2. I went in there too, & sure enough there was the other Bryan waiting for the three doubles guys on that court to get off. When they were one minute over their time, the Bryans & Kevin Ullyett (Black must never practice) ran onto the court & started playing three on three.

I peeked in the stadium where Robby Ginepri was practicing with his coach. I then walked around to court 3 (the one with bleachers in the shade) & found James Blake practicing with Phillip Simmonds (& both their coaches). A camera crew & several photographers were there to shoot Blake. Boy were they annoying. They kept getting their equipment closer & closer to the court. Blake finally told them they might want to back up so they wouldn't get hit & they acted all annoyed. Some of them were out on the bleachers with me & a few WTEF kids wondered in at one point. Some random guy asked one of the camera crew people who Blake was practicing with & they were clueless. When I identified Simmonds, the guy sitting next to me spoke up & introduced himself as Simmonds's father. He was excited that I knew who his son was & said I had been rooting for him during his match. Blake & Simmonds were in the middle of their drills when I arrived, then they played a practice set. The obnoxious camera crew was at one point about a foot away from Simmonds while he was trying to serve (so they could shoot Blake). Blake's coach finally told them they needed to get back outside the fence & wait until the practice was over. They played a good practice set. (I really like this kid.) Simmonds has tremendous potential & when he grows into his height, he will be even better. Toward the end of their practice, Jim Thomas walked up & started opening balls & stretching (I guess he was next on the court). Then James Blake's mother walked up & asked if it was okay if she sat there. I looked in the stadium again on my way back & saw Paradorn practicing with a Japanese guy that I had seen around but didn't think was a player.

I then ran into the person who was organizing the Andy Roddick No Compromise bracelet giveaway & she gave me one early. I went to the lounge to get a drink & check the later practice schedule. In the hallway, I saw Dominik Hrbaty reading a book & Jonas Bjorkman talking on a cell phone. I ran into a guy I know who said he had watched Phillippoussis practicing in the stadium earlier in the morning. I asked him if he saw the child-fiancee & he said she was on the court being the ball girl during the practice.

When matches got underway at 4:00, I watched a little bit of Clement v. Lapentti in the grandstand, then went to the stadium & watched Ginepri v. Kim. I stepped out to watch Andy Roddick's practice session on one of the practice courts. Roddick was just hitting with his coach Dean Goldfine & his trainer Doug Spreen was retrieving balls. Roddick was running Goldfine from side-to-side mercilessly & finally Goldfine yelled out "I thought I was supposed to be dictating play!" Goldfine came to the front court & was hitting volleys that Roddick was just drilling back at his body. Goldfine got back about ten before he jumped out of the way (which was impressive given how hard he was hitting). Someone in the crowd yelled out "take it easy on him Andy" to which he replied "you would have been back by the fence sitting down after one." (He also practiced left-handed overheads for some reason.) Later he did a neat trick catching the ball spinning it around his outer rim of his racket causing the crowd to gasp. Roddick made a funny face & so did Doug Spreen who looked surprised. Roddick said "Doug just walk it off like I do it all the time." When the practice was over (Bhupathi had come in & chatted with Roddick), Roddick finished off one of the bottled waters in one drink (more gasps from the crowd), prompting the woman standing next to me to tell her son, "see Andy drinks water when he's playing & you should too." Three security guards had to come out to clear a path so Roddick could get out (he signed autographs on his way out, but had a mob around him in five seconds blocking movement).

I looked in again on Ginepri v. Kim & the outer courts. I briefly saw the no longer unknown Alex Clayton playing Bobby Reynolds on court 1. On the way to meet my guest I ran into Paradorn, who held a door open for me, & walked by Tim Henman talking instensely on a cell phone (he was there for quite a while). We went & got dinner from hospitality. By this time we saw on the jumbotron that Phillippoussis was down a set & a break to Luis Horna so we rushed in the stadium to see the end of that match. We briefly went to one of the special events (Night at the Net) held in a separate tent outside. People had purchased separate tickets for this event, but it wasn't really that exciting. We got gift bags from Mercedes & were about to leave when they announced the special guest was arriving. It turned out to be Robby Ginepri. They asked him to say a few words which was probably not the best idea since he is no public speaker. He mumbled a few words about how much he likes coming to Washington & then they asked if anyone had any questions for him. Of course the first question was if he had a girlfriend. The Mercedes person could see the whole thing was going downhill fast & quickly ended the questions with some other announcement.

We checked in on court 1 where Paul Goldstein & Scott Oudsema were thrashing Beck & Berdych--who do I see again, but Phillips Simmonds with his mother & some friends standing behind the bleachers watching his buddy Oudsema--then saw Gilles Muller finish off Sanguinetti (Muller looked really tired & was questioning every single service call). We then went to the stadium to watch Andy Roddick v. Giovanni Lapentti. I had never seen Lapentti play before. He was rather flashy, but tried to be a little too cute by hitting all these little soft drop shots which Roddick was able to hit winners off of pretty easily. In the second set there was one great rally with both players making several crazy shots. Lapentti finally finished it off with another wild shot & gave a little hand gesture acknowledging the applauding crowd. Lapentti took quiet a tumble at the baseline later in the set, landing flat on his back. At first he looked like he was hurt, but he eventually got up. The last point of the match was another long rally that Roddick finished off with a cute drop shot of his own. The two spent quite a bit of time chatting during the handshake, both laughing several times. One thing I really like is that the announcer always acknowledges both players after the match "let's have a big hand for Giovanni Lapentti" as he's walking off. Lapentti got a lot of applause. Roddick stayed on the court & did a little game for JetBlue with Wayne Bryan & three fans. All of them won the game (landing little airplanes onto mats on the court) pretty easily, putting some pressure on Roddick to do the same, but he got it on the first try.

We next ventured out to court 1, where the previously cruising Goldstein & Oudsema were now down a break in the 3rd & subsequently lost the match. There was a lull of matches then (Ivo Karlovic & Max Mirnyi were just warming up) so we just walked around a bit. I ran into someone I knew & when we were done with them (& the time it took to navigate around the massive bottleneck from the mob waiting for Roddick outside the locker-room exit) we wanted to go back into the Karlovic v. Miryni match but it was packed so we went to Hernych v. de Chaunac on court 1. De Chaunac twice served for the set & was broken. The second time he thought he got a bad call & started acting up just like he did during the qualifying: standing at the net & making hand gestures to the umpire. He hit a ball out of the court & got a code violation (warning) for ball abuse. When they switched ends during the tiebreak, de Chaunac got right in the face of the lineswoman he thought made the bad call earlier & started screaming "what were you looking out." I thought he would tossed right there, but the umpire let it go. After Hernych had won the set, de Chaunac continued loudly yelling at the umpire who gave him another code violation (point penalty) for verbal abuse. Of course this set him off again & the ATP supervisor soon arrived & had a long talk with de Chaunac near his chair. After he left de Chaunac seemed calmer, but still held up play by changing his shirt & just being generally slow. After he tanked the second set, he refused to shake hands with the umpire.

We went to the stadium to find Tim Henman down a set, but up a break to Wesley Moodie. Henman was playing horrible. He immediately was down triple break point & was broken back. Moodie was holding serve easily & winning the rallys while Henman couldn't get any first serves in & was down triple break point in his next two service games. He finally held in the first game & looked like he might take it to a tiebreak, but he just couldn't stop hitting returns into the net & was broken again for the match. Boo!

We went to the grandstand where Massu & Horna were down a set & 0-3 in the second to Knowles/Stepanek. This was one of the most hilarious matches I've seen as Horna seemed to be having the time of his life, smiling all the time, while Massu appeared to want to get out of there as quickly as possible. They lost about 10 straight points with Massu not even attempting returns he could have easily made. Meanwhile Horna still had the same goofy grin on his face. In the last game, now down triple match point, there's a incredibly long rally with Horna doing all the returning to both Knowles & Stepanek from both sides of the court while Massu is standing stationary twirling his racket. Finally Massu has had enough & jumps in front of Horna & attempts to hit a behind the back shot that goes into the net. I think he just wanted to go home.

After nearly twelve hours of tennis today, my bracelet, my Mercedes gift bag, & I were ready to go home.

08-03-2005, 06:34 AM
Roddick finished off one of the bottled waters in one drink (more gasps from the crowd), prompting the woman standing next to me to tell her son, "see Andy drinks water when he's playing & you should too."
i liked this bit. :worship:

08-03-2005, 07:49 AM
thanks smucav :)

yeah I don't know why Andy practices left handed overheads, I have seen him do that at two separate practice sessions before. I think he just likes to show off ;) :lol:

08-03-2005, 07:50 AM
i liked this bit. :worship:

Me too. Andy is a real role model for the kiddies.

08-03-2005, 01:38 PM
Sounds like an exciting day smucav.

ae wowww
08-03-2005, 02:34 PM
I think the French guy no-one has recognised is Jean-Michael Pequery?

08-03-2005, 02:53 PM
thanks smucav

08-03-2005, 03:38 PM
yeah I don't know why Andy practices left handed overheads, I have seen him do that at two separate practice sessions before. I think he just likes to show off ;) :lol:Yeah, he also likes to lighten up his practices too ;) Plus, his left arm isn't as god-awful as it used to be so he can probably use it a little :lol: no, I kid.

Thanks smucav, sounds like another nice day in DC. I agree with you about acknolwedging both players - I noticed in LA that a lot of times, the losing player got more applause and cheers than the winning player. lol

ae wowww
08-03-2005, 03:42 PM
Maybe it just warms up his leftie for ball toss and 2 handed backhand :)

08-04-2005, 12:52 AM
Thanks again Smucav!!!! It is great to get your report!!!

08-04-2005, 01:48 AM
is mystery french guy with arnaud mean by any chance? coz he was with someone at queens who just plain rude, so much in fact that arnaud appologised to me the next time i saw him.

08-04-2005, 06:12 AM
Wednesday, August 3rd:

Today was the longest day so far with nearly every match going the distance.

Again I arrived around noon, but just sat outside & made some calls for a while (Andy Roddick & his coach & trainer walked right by me while I was sitting there). When I went inside someone had just dropped off the cutest little lunches. After I ate, I went around & checked to see who was practicing. Phillip Simmonds & Kevin Kim were on court 2 & doubles guys in the grandstand. Andy Roddick was practicing in the stadium with his coach & trainer (other than a security guard & a photographer, I was the only person watching the practice). After they did all the drills (& had a debriefing on the stats from the second round match) they decided to play some sort of baseball game & spent an inordinate amount of time devising the scoring system. They needed four people, so the photographer got in the action. This went on for nearly 30 minutes (Doug Spreen was the most consistent pitcher & hitter) & they were still going when I left. Paul Goldstein came in during this & started retrieving balls for them. As I left the stadium I passed by Wayne Bryan running some clinic on the clay courts. Robby Ginepri was with his coach on court 1. When I took another lap around later, James Blake was now in the stadium practicing with Scott Oudsema.

When it was time for matches to begin, I watched most of Ginepri v. Beck in the grandstand. As he has been throughout the week, Ginepri was on fire, just really striking the ball well. I've heard a lot of people (both with the tournament & fans) talking about Ginepri as a darkhorse to win the title. (Yes, he really has looked that good.) At one point I noticed that Lars Graf was standing next to me watching the match. One of the funniest things I've seen all week was a girl walking up to Graf & asking him if she could take a picture of him (not with him). He seemed delighted & started smiling & posing near the fence.

I looked in on the Clement v. Bloomfield match where Clement seemed to be dominating. I went to meet my guest & we had an early dinner & watched the second set of Muller v. Massu. (On the way there, we saw Ivo Karlovic practicing sliding from side-to-side on the clay courts, with his girlfriend & coach looking on.) Massu was certainly putting in more effort than he did in that doubles match, but Muller just served too well. On the way back, we looked in on all the matches on the outer courts. Reynolds v. Mello (just as Reynolds broke for the match) & Grosjean v. Popp (Grosjean dominating).

The most entertaining match of the day had to be Clement v. Bloomfield. They were deadlocked in the third. Bloomfield, a pale skinny English kid, was bombing in the serves & was painting the corners with his returns. Clement could not believe he was now in a third set (& eventually a tiebreak) with this guy. He was really carrying on, yelling out in French, bossing around the ball kids, jumping in the face of linesmen. After a while I noticed that de Chaunac & the other French guy were sitting in one end of the stands, fervently cheering/coaching Clement. There were some incredibly exciting rallies (including the diminutive Clement leaping about three feet in the air to make an overhead without much trajectory--quite a sight--only to be lobbed on his way back down). Clement had several MPs before finally converting.

Grosjean had finished off Popp already (I later saw both Gregory Carraz & Popp going in the tournament office to pick up their loser prize money) so we watched Rusedski v. Healey in the grandstand. Healey hung in there for a while, but lost some momentum when he lost the tiebreak. (Throughout all of this we fully intended to make it into the stadium for Blake v. Stepanek, but never did.) We watched a little of Horna v. Hrbaty (both of them were cursing at the umpire) before going into the stadium for Paradorn v. Goldstein.

The Srichaphans were out in full force, taking up one whole diagonal section of the stands. Paradorn won the first pretty easily. In the second, Paradorn attempted a return & ended up doing a full split. He started playing poorly & Goldstein broke right after that. Paradorn had the trainer out & after Goldstein won the second, Paradorn left the court with the trainer. We went & looked in on the Hernych/Karlovic v. Thomas/Koening & the Black/Ullyett v. Palmer/Parrott doubles matches. By the time we got back to the stadium, they were on serve in the third. After one really long game, Goldstein finally got a break & served for the match. He had match points, but failed to convert & instead was broken back. Paradorn then broke again & served it out. Fairly pitiful display by Goldstein. Paradorn really went downhill after his injury, but Goldstein couldn't convert & choked away the match. (We later saw him coming out of the media tent & nearly taking out the one kid that was standing there waiting for his autograph.)

We watched the ends of those two doubles matches then went to check in on Berdych v. Arthurs on court 2. A strange occurance during this match: a bat flew in the court & was circling around Berdych while he was trying to serve. Finally a ballkid started running after it with a towel trying to get it out. Back in the stadium, the Bryans were now underway v. Grosjean/Hrbaty. Mike was broken in his first service game, but they cruised after that finishing off the match in less than an hour.

Finally it was 12:20 a.m. & time to head home. Hopefully more great matches tomorrow.

ae wowww
08-04-2005, 10:29 AM
Awesome report, as always S :D!! What court did Jim and Robbie finally get on? And any idea what sort of time ;) Keep enjoying yourself ;)!

08-04-2005, 02:02 PM
Awesome report, as always S :D!! What court did Jim and Robbie finally get on? And any idea what sort of time ;) Keep enjoying yourself ;)!They were on court 1 (which was empty earlier than expected since Moodie retired). I don't know when they started (everything is kind of running together at this point), but they finished not long after the Paradorn v. Goldstein match finished in the stadium (around 11:00 p.m.).

08-04-2005, 02:02 PM
smucav :worship:

thanks so much for sharing your days with us!

08-04-2005, 08:41 PM
I think the French guy no-one has recognised is Jean-Michael Pequery?

it wasn't pequery when i saw him at queens

08-05-2005, 06:20 AM
Thursday, August 4th:

Today was the last day that I'll have the run of the grounds in the daytime without the masses (day sessions on Friday, Saturday, Sunday). I arrived again around noon. Ivo Karlovic & his coach got dropped off right when I did so we walked in at the same time. Since all the singles players had matches today most of them practiced earlier so mostly doubles guys were on all the courts. The exception was Robby Ginepri who always practices at the hottest time of day (1:00 p.m.). Someone who appeared to be Bobby Reynolds (the most anonymous player left in the tournament) was also practicing in the stadium. Wayne Bryan was out on the very dry clay courts running another kids clinic, this time with Travis Parrott. "Travis Parrott is a professional tennis player. He can hit the ball like you've never seen before." Mr. Bryan at one point told the kids that if Parrott couldn't hit back 50 straight returns, he [Parrott] would buy them all lunch from McDonald's. Of course, he was getting them all back & when he was in the 40s the kids started screaming "miss, miss." More impressive is Mr. Bryan's ability to toss the balls & yell into his handheld microphone at the same time.

Later in the day, I watched a little of Muller v. Clement & then Andy's Roddick's practice session on one of the practice courts. Today he was on the left court which is the closest to the main entrance so there was quite a mob there. These two little boys near me weren't convinced it was really Roddick. When they finally agreed that it was, they then argued over whether or not the person he was practicing with was James Blake. (It was Dean Goldfine.) They were having a much more serious practice than any of the other ones I've watched this week. (Roddick did take time to check out the female player who came to practice on the court next to his & stopped practicing to ask the doubles guy that came off that court who she was.) When the practice was over, he totally psyched out the mob waiting for him outside the gate by pretending to retrieve a ball & instead just walking across the other two courts & out the far gate. Just a few minutes later Chela & his team walked by (presumably to use the same court).

I ran into someone I knew & didn't get back to the Clement v. Muller match until it was nearly over. Muller had been up when I left, but Clement came back to win the match. Muller looked very tired all week. I went to meet my guest & we picked up dinner. We looked in on Berdych v. Grosjean. The French guys that had been supporting Clement moved over to cheer for Grosjean, but it wasn't enough.

We settled into the stadium to watch the entire Roddick v. Chela match. Tonight was the fullest I've seen the stadium thus far. (Some of the Srichaphans stuck around & were supporting Roddick.) In the second game of the match, Roddick was 30-0 up in Chela's service game & suddenly stopped playing. The umpire & the crowd were confused for a while (I thought at first it had something to do with the flashes going off), but Roddick had noticed some sort of commotion in the upper deck behind the umpire. It turns out someone was having a seizure & the umpire had to alert the EMS to come & take them out. (Roddick to the rescue again!) The match was a lot more onesided than the score might suggest. Chela was playing fairly poorly & hit a lot of double faults. They had a few good rallies in the 2nd with Roddick really showing some wheels running down Chela's drop shots. Roddick only faced two break points the whole match (both in the first), but one return that was barely out in the tiebreak cost him the 2nd set. He stepped it up a notch in the third & quickly converted a break point (& had five break points to go up a double break) before finishing off the match with a spectacular drop shot. After the match Wayne Bryan got on court again to run another game with Andy for Nautica. It was the return Andy's serve contest I've seen them do before in Washington with the exact same sequence of events: Roddick bombs in the first two serves (garnering gasps from the crowd) & then throws in a 75 mph the contestant can easily get back. When the female contestant has a turn, Mr. Bryan says if she can get it back she wins a date with Roddick so he serves the next serve underhanded.

By this time, the Ginepri v. Horna match was over. A guy who watched it told me that Ginepri seemed to be playing better as the match went on & came back from 2-6 down in the tiebreak only to lose it 8-10. He seems to be a player that gains an advantage by playing at the hottest time of the day so 7:00 p.m. may have taken away his edge.

We watched the first set of the Knowles/Stepanek & Karlovic/Hernych doubles match in the grandstand (& could look over into the other doubles match with Black/Ullyett & Kerr/Oliver). Then it was back to the stadium where James Blake was already up a set on Tomas Zib. It was a fairly short & unremarkable match. More than half the stadium had cleared out, but there were some particularly fervent Blake fans in one section that kept everyone from falling asleep. Blake looked pretty pumped when he broke in the second.

We checked back in on the Knowles/Stepanek & Karlovic/Hernych match to find them now in a third set. It didn't take us long to figure out that the people in front of us were the family of Knowles (parents, wife/girlfriend, & three other friends). They cheered loudly the entire match (particularly Knowles's father). We watched a little of the last doubles match (Bhupathi/Damm v. Beck/Berdych) before heading home for the day.

Tomorrow: quarterfinals!

08-05-2005, 05:42 PM
Thanks for the report smucav :hug:

08-06-2005, 04:59 AM
Friday, August 5th:

Totally different atmosphere today with the short-timers arriving for the big matches on the weekend. There's a different shift as the number of players are dwindling & even the practice partners & what not are heading on to Montreal or elsewhere. (I saw Sebastien Grosjean & his family outside the transportation trailer packing all their stuff into the car.)

I arrived shortly before 12 & watched a bit of the Paradorn v. Horna match. The Srichaphans were at about half there usual number today (maybe they couldn't get off work?) & most of the ones there were younger kids. Horna literally melted down. He had the trainer out there giving him icepacks every changeover (& someone questioned why they don't play day sessions in the early rounds?). I walked around a bit to check out the practice courts. Hanley was jumping rope while Huss practiced with a coach. Jamie Delgado was practicing with a random guy. I met a female player (Stephanie Dubois from Canada) I had met earlier in the week for lunch & we watched the rest of the match on the closed-circuit t.v. It was interesting to hear what life is like for week-in, week-out for a lower-ranked player.

The main attraction was the Roddick v. Karlovic match. There was actually a pretty good crowd for 3:00 p.m. Karlovic is the worst returner I've ever seen play. It was obvious that he wasn't going to break Roddick. Roddick just had to wait for the break points & converted them when they came. There was just a feeling in that air that Roddick was going to break when he did in the 2nd. The crowd (& Roddick) were pumped & he carried the momentum into the 3rd. Karlovic started wilting in the third & really fooling around between points (he got called for a time violation at one point). For such a serve-fest it was a fairly entertaining match. (I told my friends last Sunday that they would be able to see Roddick with the extra Saturday day session tickets I managed to get for them, so I'm glad I was able to correctly predict both the results & the schedule.)

There was some time to kill before the evening matches so we just walked around & then got dinner. (The meals today were the best all week.) We started off watching the Tomas Berdych v. Bobby Reynolds match in the grandstand. Berdych has looked good all week, but Reynolds was really matching him shot for shot. Very few errors from either player in this match. Both of them were consistently hitting 100+ mph returns. Reynolds finally sailed one return just long to lose the first set tiebreak. (I noticed Dean Goldfine in the stands checking out the competition.)

By that time, James Blake was already up a set on Arnaud Clement in the stadium. (Tonight was the first session that was completely sold out & pretty much every seat was full.) Right as we walked in, Blake broke Clement in the second. Clement was just not serving well & hit a number of double faults on key points. When Blake went up a second break it the third, the crowd went wild. After Blake left the court (signing autographs in the corner for a long time), Wayne Bryan got on the court again & did another game (the exact same one I saw him do with some little kids a few days ago.)

We went back to the grandstand to catch the end of Berdych v. Reynolds. They had traded breaks, but were back on serve & went to another tiebreak. Reynolds came up with some amazing winners to save several match points (Berdych contributed a double fault), but after missing a first serve at 10-11, he tried to throw in a first serve on his second serve & double faulted.

By then, the Bryans v. Hanley/Huss were underway in the stadium. This was a much more entertaining match than the one the other night. Lots of good rallys--Huss had some sharply angled returns--but the Bryans were too good. In the second it looked like a thunderstorm was brewing, but the Bryans managed to break & close out the match right before the rain started.

This is the earliest I've gotten out of there all week. Big day tomorrow.

08-06-2005, 06:02 PM
thank U for nice report :hug:... wish I was there :cool:


08-07-2005, 04:30 AM
Saturday, August 6th:

I arrived around 12:30, had lunch, & walked around. Only the women players were on the practice courts. (There was some sort of band set-up in the autograph signing area). When my guest arrived we walked around a bit & settled in the stadium for the main attraction: Andy Roddick v. Paradorn.

The Scrichaphans were out in full force (but not as many as during the Goldstein match), but they couldn't pull their man through. Roddick served & returned well & as he had all week, showed some wheels & some touch. The first set tiebreak was rather exciting as Roddick was up a mini-break & Paradorn got a lucky netcord to get back on serve. Roddick worked hard on the next point running down several good returns & finally putting away the winner. In the second it just seemed inevitable that a break was coming; it was only a matter of time. When Roddick went up a second break, the Scrichaphans were silenced & Roddick served it out for the win. Andy & Paradorn acknowledged each other warmly at the net (& several times during the match).

An interesting moment occured when Brad Gilbert (who today was serving as ESPN's roving reporter) came on the court to interview Andy. He had been lurking behind the players chairs for majority of the last set & everyone was watching to see any visible tension. The crowd acknowledged Paradorn as he left the court (he's definitely the third most popular player in Washington each year--behind Roddick & Agassi. His fans really add a lot to the tournament sometimes they even stay & cheer for the next match; this year they were supporting Roddick during the Chela match.). Roddick signed a few autographs for the kiddies & Wayne Bryan got on the court (again) for another sponsor game (again it was exactly the same thing he had done during the kids clinics earlier in the week.)

Afterwards we walked around a bit (it's weird when nothing is happening on the outer courts). We did return to the stadium for the women's doubles, but it wasn't a very exciting match in the least. The only drama came when Hopkins's partner had 5 MPs before she could close it out (floating a return long each time). That guest left for the day & before the next one arrived, I got dinner. I ended up talking to the driver that picked up Brad Gilbert & Cliff Drysdale for the Friday ESPN match & he couldn't believe how much BG talked during the ride from the hotel to the tournament (he said the driver that took them back after the match said the same thing.)

I went down to the South gate to wait for my friends that were going to one of the suites. Not a second later, Patrick McEnroe walks right past me, looks me in the eye & says hello (I think he thought I was someone else). When they arrived, we stopped by the suite for a while, but it seemed clear that the people in there were more interested in talking than watching the match, so I eventually left & went back to my regular seat. (One of them came out in about 15 minutes to sit with me & was also irate that the people in there wouldn't shut up & watch the match.) The James Blake v. Thomas Berdych match was pretty good. (I saw PMac in the players' box, so that's where he was headed when he passed me.) Both players were painting the lines with every return, but Blake served amazing & Berdych was barely winning a point on his serve. Berdych got down 0-40 several times on his serve, but was able to hold on by throwing in some bomb aces. When Blake finally broke for the set, Berdych seemed to really go off the rails & Blake never looked back. When Jimmy Arias came on court to interview Blake, you could hear some of it. He's really happy to be in his first final in two years, loves coming to Washington, & will have to try & get some returns back against Roddick to have a chance to win.

I went to meet the other suite people after the match just to walk around & catch up. After I left them again, I immediately passed Thomas Berdych smiling & posing for pictures with fans. He didn't seem too distraught about his loss. The Bryans v. Bhupathi/Paes was fairly entertaining as well (particularly since the people in front of me were huge Bhupathi fans.) There wasn't much between these two teams at all. In the second set, Bob Bryan got down three breaks points & saved them with three aces: 138 mph, 137 mph, & one that didn't register on the gun, but was of a similar speed. Everyone around me was in awe & wondered why Bob doesn't play singles if he can come up with clutch serves like that. When the Bryans finally won the 2nd really exciting tiebreak, the crowd was exuberant.

When I was leaving to meet my other friends for a ride home, I ran into Patrick McEnroe (who was in the players's box again--this time with Arias & Mr. Bryan) leaving the stadium (we were in nearby sections) & he said hello to me again (either he says hello to everyone he sees or he really does think I'm someone else).

Tomorrow: the finals!

08-07-2005, 04:41 AM
thanks as always :)

So, any predictions for the finals? ;)

08-07-2005, 08:04 AM
Thanks again for the great report smucav! :D

Saturday, August 6th:
An interesting moment occured when Brad Gilbert (who today was serving as ESPN's roving reporter) came on the court to interview Andy. He had been lurking behind the players chairs for majority of the last set & everyone was watching to see any visible tension. The crowd acknowledged Paradorn as he left the court (he's definitely the third most popular player in Washington each year--behind Roddick & Agassi. His fans really add a lot to the tournament sometimes they even stay & cheer for the next match; this year they were supporting Roddick during the Chela match.). Roddick signed a few autographs for the kiddies & Wayne Bryan got on the court (again) for another sponsor game (again it was exactly the same thing he had done during the kids clinics earlier in the week.)

So did Andy and Brad seem friendly with each other? I was so surprised to see Brad interviewing him, let alone Andy laughing and seeming not to mind at all. I wonder if they worked out all of their problems because for a while it seemed that ESPN was making a concerted effort to keep them apart. Especially during the AO and Wimbledon, whenever Andy would come into the studio for an interview Brad would suddenly disappear. :shrug:

08-07-2005, 02:47 PM
I thought he looked a bit shifty and uncomfortable. But Andy's like total ADD so it may have just been his fidgety nature...

But I mean they're grown men and it's been what, 8 months or more? Time to grow up, boys ;)

08-07-2005, 11:25 PM
Sunday, August 7th:

Arrived just in time for the doubles final. Poor Ullyett was having problems serving from the beginning & the crowd tried to cheer them on to have a longer match. The Bryans were too strong & were on cruise control the whole match. (Patrick McEnroe was in the players' box again & he looked like he was even rooting for Black/Ullyett to make some sort of a comeback.) During the trophy ceremony, Ullyett talked about their rivalry & said "Bob & Mike, see you next week" inspiring lots of applause from the crowd. The Bryans both went on a rant about everyone trying to get rid of doubles & thanked the tournament director for being one of the good guys who didn't support the doubles changes. They drew some snickers from the crowd for thanking SFX for getting them lots of cash from Adidas. They also thanked their new coach & said they hope it's not all downhill from here. After the photo session, the Bryans went all around the whole stadium until every single person who wanted an autograph or a photo got one.

Since the doubles was so short, there was an hour and a half to kill before the singles. We went to the Courtside Club for the first time this week. After a week of abstaining, I had just what may have been the best margarita in the world (the air-conditioning certainly helped the taste). After a while, it got way too crowded in there, so we sat in the shade near one of the outer courts until it was time to go back in the stadium.

The stadium was packed (another sold out session) for the singles final. Once the match began & Andy Roddick broke James Blake in the first set of the match, the crowd sensed another one-sided match & tried to cheer Blake on. Blake did his best to hang in there & keep it close, but Roddick was just too strong. Everytime Roddick served an ace, some guy in the crowd would yell out "Andy, give a brother a chance!" The first set point (on Blake's serve) was quite an exciting rally, but the point of the match was in the final game when Blake hit a smash overhead that caused Roddick to duck, but still get back from a crouching position. (Roddick's chair was on the other side today, so Brad Gilbert's courtside seat was even closer than it was yesterday; he was basically right behind his chair, only a few feet away.)

After the tournament director & sponsors made their speeches, Blake made quite a long speech. He thanked the crowd who came out to support him when he was at his lowest point (the Washington tournament last year) & were still here today when he's trying to come back. He thanked his coach for putting up with him when he was a brat, his friends for driving down from Connecticut, & his girlfriend Janet for make him more fulfilled (another snicker from the crowd). He got quite serious & said he was proud of Roddick for all he's accomplished & thanked him for being such a good friend & sticking by him when others gave up hope that he would be able to come back. He said he that watching Roddick week in, week out do what he does makes him proud to be an American & proud to be Roddick's friend. Then he asked the crowd to do him a favor: his mother's birthday is tomorrow & he is bad at picking out presents so could everyone stand & sang happy birthday to his mother Betty. He started it off with the microphone & even Roddick stood up & helped get it going.

After they gave Roddick his trophy (one of the sponsors make a comment about something Roddick said the first time he won Washington & how much he's accomplished since then), he warned everyone that his speech wouldn't be as good as Blake's that normally he [Roddick] thought he was good at making speeches, but Blake "threw him under a bus today." He said he was proud to be a part of a final that helped break the all time weekly attendance record in Washington & considered it a great accomplishment considering what an old tournament it is. (Somewhere in the middle of this, the microphone got a little shaky, & Roddick said " I would like to supersize that please.") He thanked his friends from Washington for entertaining him this week & his buddy from NYC for leaving his job in the "real world" to come down. He will always come back every year since they supported him when he was first starting out (a wild card in 2000 when he was 17 that took him all the way to the QFs) & continue to do such a good job promoting & running the tournament. He also got quite serious when he started talking about Blake saying that he was really worried when Blake was missing, but he knew if anybody could come back from the lowest of the lows, it was Blake. Then he said since he wasn't going to sing, that was all.

They did a longer photo session than the doubles & partway through a section of the crowd started yelling for the ballkids to get a picture. They finally took one of them with both players & these kids who've looked so serious all week were all smiles after that. Both players went around for awhile & signed autographs (the Geico woman was even helping get the kids' items to the players). After they left the court, we decided to take off (sorry women's finalists).

All in all it was a great week of tennis. Perfect weather (no rain delays), lots of great matches, friendly fans & staff. I doubt I'll ever get to do such a total immersion again (even if I get a credential & free tickets again next year, I'll be back at work & not able to get much use out of it), so I'm glad I got to do it at least once (& twice as glad that the tournament & final ended up the way it did.)

08-08-2005, 12:22 AM
Thanks for all the reports :) The stuff with James's speech sounds just "awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww"-worthy. Can't believe ESPN didn't show it :o

08-08-2005, 01:02 AM
Thanx smucav, that whole speech thing sounds so cute :), gald you had a good week :)

DJ dropshot
08-08-2005, 01:04 AM
SMUCAV - I've really enjoyed reading your posts this week. You must have been exhausted after the tournament and still sat down to write those novellas.

Thanks so much!

08-08-2005, 02:08 AM
wow, I'm a bit verklempt reading that. Always touching when two friends play each other, but considering that its those two, and the year that James has had, its must have been very special to be there. Thanks for all of your reports this week.

08-08-2005, 02:58 AM
Very cool reports. What is it like in the Courtside Club - worth going into? It seems like they make a big deal about it over nothing in the brochures I got.

08-08-2005, 03:00 AM
After the photo session, the Bryans went all around the whole stadium until every single person who wanted an autograph or a photo got one.
I love them.

Thanks for all your reports this week smucav :D :hug: James's speech sounds awesome and I would have loved to see those two during the presentation ceremony. ESPN :mad:

08-08-2005, 03:37 AM
I love them. they must be jerks, too. :p

08-08-2005, 03:39 AM
Thanks for the reports smucav :hug:

08-08-2005, 03:23 PM
Andy's speech was great too. (Maybe my description didn't do it justice.) Someone sitting near me said, "I can't believe he's only 22" in the middle of it, because he was so well-spoken.

SMUCAV - I've really enjoyed reading your posts this week. You must have been exhausted after the tournament and still sat down to write those novellas.

Thanks so much!I was tired, but also too wound up to sleep right away. I wanted to write them while everything was still fresh in my mind. (I've since realized even by doing that I forgot a few things.)Very cool reports. What is it like in the Courtside Club - worth going into? It seems like they make a big deal about it over nothing in the brochures I got.Someone told me that all of the food at the tournament (suites, hospitality tent, players lounge, Courtside Club, outside concessions) are all provided by the same catering company. The selling point for the Courtside Club is that if you don't have access to the suites or the lounge inside the building, it's the only option if you're looking for air-conditioning. Also it isn't as crowded as the outside concessions & I believe it's the only place where you can get a real drink (other than the Singha beer that's sold outside).

08-09-2005, 01:35 AM
http://www.peterbodostennisworld.com/I suppose the downside is balanced by the good news out of Washington—make that by two pieces of good news out of the nation’s capital. Andy Roddick beat James Blake in the Legg Mason final. It’s great to see Blake back in the saddle again, and I’m also glad Andy won—somebody has to stay within shouting distance of Roger Federer on hard courts. What about Rafael Nadal, you ask? Well, it will be interesting to see how he holds up during the last, brutal leg of the Grand Slam season. We saw in Miami that he can play on hard courts, but let’s face it—Europeans have a long, rich tradition of packing it in at this stage of the season, when the heat, humidity, and distinctly American flavor of the tour can combine to overwhelm the sensitive Continental soul and psyche.

Americans have traditionally fared very well at the Washington tournament, before and during the Legg Mason phase of sponsorship. It’s been a staple on the calendar for some years now, and it’s played at one of the nicer, more intimate venues on the circuit—right in the heart of Rock Creek Park.

I bet the sponsors would have been a lot happier if I’d written these words a few weeks before rather than after the event, but there it is. Buy tickets for next year now, and make it part of your vacation; Washington D.C. may be the most beautiful city in America, and you’ll have plenty of other things to do there.