First up, Julian Knowle and Alex Peya came out. Alex had a hat on, so I don’t know how the hair is going. They trained for half an hour, then Jurgen and Marco came out. They jumped over the fence (between court and seating area) and sat in the shade before their practice session (between 3-4pm). I wonder if he will wear a hat or bandanna!? LOL I miss the bandannas.
I spoke to Jurgen before he had a hit:
**Partial devastation when I learnt that Oliver Marach wouldn't be there!! I probably should have taken Oliver’s word for it, when he told me he wouldn't!
**Jurgen's ankle is fine. He wore one of those ankle brace things on his (left?) ankle just to prevent anything.
** I mentioned that he received a book from Barbara, and asked what was in it... He said it was amazing, and had all this stuff in it from 1999. He thought it was great how much effort she’d put in, and along with the card! He wished he could have done more for her.
**I mentioned Wayne Arthurs finally getting a title. JM was happy for him and thinks he's a nice guy.
**I mentioned another player who, it turns out, he's not too fond of. Ask me if you want to know who :P
**Thomas Muster REALLY does sound Aussie!
**Alex was hitting beautifully while I was watching him. Julian Knowle was hitting a few into the net, and didn't seem extremely confident.
**Jurgen was yelling at himself a bit... but he'd always come back and hit a great shot. It gave me confidence, so I hope it gave him some too!
The guys were wearing white t-shirts with "tele ring" as the front logo. Jurgen changed out of his adidas gear to get into it. My friend Arthur was looking at me waiting for me to take a photo. He hassled me about it so I just told him it was a mental-picture
I was there between 2-4.15, and got pics with Jurgen/Thomas. Jurgen had just finished training and without thinking I put my arm around to give him a hug for the photo, and I soon took my arm away! I dont know if I've ever seen anyone sweat so much! LMAO it was rather funny and gross at the same time
K:Ohh.... that's umm....
JM: Yeah I'm very sweaty (laughing/grimacing)
K: Ok well I won’t hug you now! hehehe...
I wish I'd seen Thomas when he was playing! How do I say this delicately... he's ahh...in very good shape for a past player! Quite buff looking in my opinion.
I gave letters to Jurgen from fans. What I did for each of them was include a piece of paper, with the petition on one side, and a general letter of support to all of them (on behalf of their fans). I also gave each of them a CD with Australian music on it... just as a sort of welcome to the country
Margaret and I went to training today. Jurgen trained with Julian Knowle (I arrived as they were about to leave), and Marco was with Peya. Both are in good form. Peya's serve is great, Marco's got a wicked drop-shot, and both are volleying and seem to be playing with a cool confidence. I didn't have a chance to speak to Jurgen (I had nothing to say anyway!?) so just gave him a wave as he was leaving the stadium.
I took a few photos of Alex today, and I think I got a good one of Mirnegg smiling. I also took one or two of Thomas Muster. I will take more during the matches. I asked Thomas if he had an idea of the doubles team yet He said he'd see after tomorrows matches. He also explained the role of the captain in DC to me briefly. I never would have thought that I'd have the Austrians sitting right up there with the Swedes, but they are. I think we can thank the Austrian wheelchair players for this ;o)
**The Austrians allocated 50 tickets to Austrian tennis players//supporters who play for clubs in Sydney
As of today, I learned:
**Alexander Popp has strained something in his leg. Typical! Jurgen and I both had some very unimpressed expressions... But JM said that Alexander is practicing again, so that's all I need to know right now
**Marco Mirnegg seemed to have some form of treatment on his leg
If Wayne had left his serve at home, then Jürgen would have stood a chance. I mean, he played well, but Wayne's serving/volleying was out of this world. It was like watching the same point over and over again. Wayne serves and runs to the net, Jurgen is barely able to get to the bloody thing, and then Wayne hits a nice volley right past Jurgen. It annoyed the hell out of me, but it was good quality tennis.
Nevertheless, I had a great birthday, being able to see my future #1 player fighting for his country. He really did fight. Of course there were times when he looked less than enthusiastic to be out there, but he didn't have a lot of opportunities (Damn Arthurs serve!). He did well with what he had. Plus, the 50 Austrian fans were in a little section of the centre, behind the Austrian players. They were SO cute! I took almost an entire roll of Peya! My camera's batteries died when Jurgen was finishing his match. I had to manually adjust the zoom, so hopefully those last few pics turn out ok!)
What I'm about to write is surely going to earn Jürgen more brownie points. Today he showed tremendous class and sportsmanship.
In the final set, at 5-all, Jurgen was serving, and had break point to Arthurs. JM served a double fault. At this point, I forgot I was sitting near older women and let out "F****ck!" not too loudly, but it was passionate. Actually I didn't really care. They were so patriotic and had double standards, so if they want to miss out on Jurgen that's their problem! Wayne then served a love game (or 15-40) to win the match. What happens next was the saddest, sweetest part of it all.
They all walked to the net, shook hands with each other/umpire/the opponents captain. Jurgen and Julian walked back to their chair. Julian leans back, while Jurgen is slumped forward, with a towel covering his head. Thomas walked over and gave him a pat on the back to reassure him. It was incredibly heart-wrenching, and it brought a tear to my eye. So sad to see Jurgen looking so unbelievably disappointed.
Almost everyone-including Marco, Alex etc, left the stadium after the Aussies had been interviewed. After this, the Austrians were doing interviews with ORF (German-speaking program - the announcer kept telling us this, but we couldnt hear it anyway). Once the interviews were finished, Jurgen went over to the small crowd of fans that had gathered. He signed everything they put in front of him. He chatted and even had photos taken with them. And to think that only moments before, he had his head in his hands, needing Thomas to console him. Very nice guy.
"Geneve" and I waited at the players entrance with the Austrian flag draped over the fence. We gave him a clap and said "next time..Jurgen". He smiled back at us, despite his loss. He smiiiled...after losing the crucial DC rubber.
I am so proud of him. I included this in the messages I gave to 'him' today. I think we all did! I got to the tennis centre early, hoping to find the Austrians practicing. I was too late, but while I was wandering around I saw a guy who I think is Alex Peya's trainer (I recognised him from practice. He's very cute). So I walked up to him, and said "Excuse me...you're Austrian, right?" and so I asked him if he could do me a huge favour and pass them on to Jurgen. He said it was fine, so I would assume he delivered them. I wanted to take any chance to make sure Jurgen would get them, and was worried I might not see JM later on.
Some notes from today:
The boys played really well. You're gonna love Marco Mirnegg if he ever plays on the ATP tour!! He's so animated on court. He'd be two metres away from a ball kid, and throw the towel to them in a cute way (just by the way he'd scrunch it up, and toss it over)
**Jurgen once again took the time to stop and chat/sign/pose with fans after losing the tie 0-5. Top guy. I'm so glad I noticed his ponytail all those (3) years ago... LOL
**Press Conference: Jurgen, Alex, Marco and Thomas rushed there, but Julian stood outside signing heaps of stuff for the fans. Then, he was the last to leave. Alex was doing an interview and as Julian walked past he rolled up some papers and poked Alex in the ass to put him off. Marco then raced up behind Julian and practically jumped on him, massaging his shoulders, before some Aussies yelled out to him and he came over to sign things.
**I waited for Jurgen while he (again!) posed with fans. Called him over and he signed my hat first so I played "20 questions" as usual. Firstly I asked if he got the letters, and he did. He thanked us for them I told him the team did ok; even though the score wasn't so great. He smiled and said "Yeah, but we can’t be happy with 5-0". I told him we were proud of him all the same ("thanks") and wished him all the best if they came up against Sweden in the play-offs. He laughed. Maybe he remembered that my ultimate oldie all-time favourite player is Jonas!? (He's my Edberg, he got me into tennis)
It was kind of like deja vu, the first tennis event I went to, was DC in Sydney, between Sweden and Aus. Sweden lost 1-4, and... Jurgen used the same pen to sign my hat that Jonas used in 2001. I know it sounds stupid, but back then I was SO excited that Jonas was there (I couldn't even speak to him! I was panicking so much!) That I ended up writing the letter "J" on the end of the pen. hehe...and just like back in 2001, I am extremely proud of the way our guy/s fought . The Jurgen-fest this weekend was brilliant. The best way I can think of describing it is like a great movie, that you don't want to end. You kinda want it to go on a few more hours. Sunday came way too quickly, but I made the most of it with the training sessions!
Now I'm intending to go to the AUS vs. ARG tie in July (in Sydney). I'm not an avid fan of Argentina, but you know how I feel about Australian players
Jurgen was fair when it came to line calls. There were a few close calls when Wayne served, and he would just walk to the other side of the court. He apologised when he hit a ball 'too close to comfort' at his opponents, and he clapped some of their winners.
Stuff I forgot to write down earlier:
Wayne DF Jurgen
-JM questioned some line calls (and rightly so), and was heckled by the Aussies. He didn't make a big deal about it. Just walked to the line/ball mark, looked at the umpire and walked back. At the end of the match the interviewer said that Wayne had defeated Jurgen a few weeks back. An Aussie fan (one of the Fanatics) screamed out "and you thumped him again!". I just thought that particular call made our country seem like a place that breeds w@nkers who are rather cocky when it comes to sport.
The crowd was very nice today. I sat with my friend Arthur, and Geneve from MTF. We were right next to The Fanatics and cheered hard for our guys. The older women were all around us today (I only swore once, when Marco was broken for the final time!). Actually, I lie! I said "F*ck me!" because I was quoting something Todd Woodbridge screamed out. The lady nearby quickly told me to wash my mouth out, jokingly. The ladies around us were so nice! They actually said "So, did you travel here for this, or do you work here?" and we all had to come clean, admitting we were Aussies, and weren't going to re-direct our support, just because our countrymen were against Jurgen. They TOTALLY understood! I think more retired women should come to tennis tournaments.