I wasted all morning with the computer guy, and my computer still has the same problem tonight, even though it appeared to be fixed this morning.
Long story short: I missed getting to the site first thing in the morning, and I felt a bit rushed and discombobulated all the rest of the day. I never felt I was in sync with the matches etc.
First the bad news, and for those of you who love the outer courts it really kind of sucks. First, they have abolished the BEST seats on the outer courts. The south bleachers at Court 4 where you could get some shade by sitting up against the back wall during mid-day and also stand up on the changeovers and catch some of the match on Court 5 --- They are GONE! They’ve put up some bleachers on the east side of Court four and gotten some extra seats on Court 4 like that. BUT there are NO bleachers on Court 5 at all. NONE. Also there aren’t any bleachers at all on courts 7 and 8. That’s going to be a total mess once the men’s qualies get started. I don’t know where everyone is going to be. Some volunteer told me that they have eliminated a THOUSAND seats from the outer courts.
Also the really great seats at the north and south ends of Stadium 2 are GONE. Now you can’t get a seat right behind the back stop. There’s a gap. Stadium 3 on the south side has the same sort of set up as it used to…. Sort of… but there are fewer seats there too and the entry into the bleachers there too. It’s really kind of sad because year after year, the outer courts are getting to be a little less fun.
As for the tennis: The best match I saw all day was Kirilenko vs. Pisnik. It was extremely entertaining until Pisnik had to retire.
Tina (and where has she been for so long?) was mixing it up with a lot of one-handed backhand slices, and Maria was making a concerted effort to come into the net as much as she could. The third game of the match was a portent of things to come. It went about 8 deuces. The rest of the set was equally as entertaining. This pattern happened about 7 or 8 times during the first set: Maria comes to the net; Tina hits a crafty lob; Maria races back to the base line and gets the ball in play; Tina hits a drop shot; Maria can’t get there in time. Great stuff. Or Tina comes to the net and sticks a volley, or gets passed. Tina had great disguise on her drop shot and Maria didn’t get to a single one until the second set.
Maria managed to break at 5 all, but Tina broke right back, Tiebreak. Wooo… It seems it will be close, but no. It’s not close. Tina races out to a 6-1 lead. Maria gets it back to 6-4, but Tina closes it out. Of course, only one thing can happen at that point. You guessed it! Maria takes a bathroom break.
The first set took more than an hour. The second set where Maria managed to win 6-3 also took about an hour. There were so many games with multiple deuces. Tina was fighting like a mad woman the whole match. She was scrambling and huffing and puffing, but managing to get to impossible balls and putting them away for winners too! Oh, and by the way, she is wearing her hair in dreadlocks. Yes, dreadlocks. Bleached blond dreadlocks. Her girlfriend was sitting right behind us and was talking to her the whole time in Slovenian, and sometimes Tina would look up at her and talk to her too. We would get to see her beautiful blue green eyes then.
But sadly, Tina had to retire in the third set because of a neck problem. By that time she was two breaks down. I was impressed with both girls. (except for the bathroom break thingy) Maria was intent on coming into the net. She’s a graceful player, but so very small, I don’t see how her game can stand up against the big girls.
Also I saw some of Dokic. She looks very slender and fit although her thigh was strapped. She looked quite intense on the court. Not happy, but not unhappy. Just very serious. She played a sloppy first set with a lot of errors and deservedly lost. She tightened up her game in the second set.
I finally saw Beygelzimer in person. I have doubts about her just based on her appearance. She had practically no calf muscles. Her lower legs are extremely thin. I’ve never seen a top player (man or woman) who didn’t have well developed calves. Even the girls who are quite slender and fragile looking have these terrific thighs and calves.
I was really disappointed because I wanted to see Shikha Uberoi. I went to Court 3. Antoinella was there waiting… patiently and then more impatiently, and then the other player arrived. I thought to myself…. Hmmmm Uberoi looks a lot different in person. She’s not nearly as deeply tan as I thought she would be. Her face is particularly fair. And…. Well, I just saw her that one time…. So maybe I forgot what she looks like. Ha! It was Alves! I didn’t’ realize it until the umpire introduced her. They never even changed the scoreboard for the first three games. Alves, I now know, is a lefty. For a while I thought Uberoi was a lefty.
Ok… For sightings. I saw KIM!!
She looked slimmer to me. She also looks a bit more mature in the face ( or maybe it is just my imagination) She walked right by me. So we are just a few feet apart. She didn’t say hi or anything.
Someone I know who has membership in the tennis club there said she walked into the club last week and saw Kim, and almost went up to her and started talking because she felt she knew her….. but was surprised to see her there so unexpectedly. But she limited herself to saying: “It’s nice to see you back,” to which Kim replied, “Thank you.”
Oh, and these people told me that they had to resurface some of the courts three times!!! THREE times! Think of the expense. Normally they resurface starting around November/December and are finished sometime in January/February. But this time the weather was so very very wet (12” of rain in Palm Springs since the beginning of the year when they haven’t had a total of 12” of rain for a whole 5 year period before that) anyway… so wet that the sand under the concrete slab of the courts got wet and activated the alkaline acid in the sand which ate through the concrete in places and caused bubbles in the surfaces of some of the courts. Later a tournament official who was sitting with Pisnik’s girlfriend confirmed this account. He said they were getting very nervous. But the expense must have been enormous.
Ok… back to sightings…. Labadze… somebody I thought was Ivan L., but wasn’t. Elena DementedServe. Mauresmo. Oh…. And Mary Pierce standing all by herself in front of the credentialing trailer reading some announcements (at least I think that’s what she was doing… if not, she has an unnatural interest in the sides of trailers) Lots of players I couldn’t identify. And also there is a picture of some gorgeous boy wiping off the sweat from his brow on the Fila tent…. REALLY big picture. I don’t know who it is, but he is beautiful.
Oh, and I saw Wayne Arthurs! I thought: How did you get here so damn fast? But it was definitely him. He must have hopped on a plane immediately after the tie.