I wanted to wait til the pics and videos were uploaded before posting this but they're taking forever so I figured I'd post this now and i'll post the link to the pics and vids tomorrow
I have no money so the only tennis I get at the LA tourney this year is the practice day on Sunday. Luckily for me, I saw all the players in the draw I like
I got there around 10:15 and the guy tells me I can't get in and that there are no practices til noon. But I could hear balls being hit. LOL. so I walked up the hill and found they had opened some of the emergency exit gates, so yay. So in the stadium, Fish was practicing with.... I think David Martin. I imagine he wanted to play a lefty to prepare for Falla in the first round. Anyway, nothing exciting here really. Fish's forehand still blows chunks and I have no idea who's coaching him. Oh, and he had a 'harem' of sorts consisting of his fiancee and four older women
I hadn't been to the practice day in a few years - last time I went they wouldn't let us go down the stairs to the grandstand or practice court, but this year they did! Lopez, looking especially metro in this tight brown and pink number, was hitting with someone I know looks very familiar but I need help putting a name to the face.
11:00 rolled around so I figured the courts would be changing (and I saw both Safin and Haas enter the grounds about 15 min before)..... and there they were on the stadium, hitting the crap out of the ball. Really, Haas especially looked great, he was killing his BH down the line. They were playing some kind of practice match/games and Marat kept getting frustrated, what else is new
Oh, and Haas's girlfriend is disgustingly thin. that's all.
Watched them for some time, then checked out the grandstand, where Lopez's unidentified practice partner was now hitting with Grosjean, who somehow missed both Christmas and Christmas in July.... anyway, always nice to see cheerful Seb. So I went back to the stadium, mainly because there was shade there
and watching Haas/Safin was fun anyway.
At noon, John Isner came out with Igor Kunitsyn, which seemed like a bit of an odd pair, but the players don't seem to interact much anyway. They're all cordial to each other and shake hands and say hi when they're coming and going.... except for one poor lonely ignored soul. Poor Vinny Ice (today all decked out in his purple blinged hat with his fro logo
) has no friends - not even his compatriot Isner says hello. Later I heard this guy telling someone on the phone that Spadea's hitting partner didn't show up so he was throwing up balls for himself and hitting shots off them
Anyway, Isner is huge. I know, stating the obvious. But he really is. He's also incredibly nice and was signing autographs and taking pictures with fans on his way in before his practice - the only player I saw do that to that extent.
there was no way in hell I was gonna watch Spadea, so I watched a few min of Malisse practicing with Wayne Odesnik and then sought some shade at the practice court where Verdasco was practicing with Falla. They were really going all out. Verdasco especially got upset whenever he missed. But he looked solid. And good on him, he had a visible layer of sunscreen smeared all over
Unable to be without his dear friend for too long, Lopez was back and went into Verdasco's practice. At 2, the two of them moved to the stadium where they practiced for an hour (so a second hit for each of them). They warmed up and started playing a practice set and the intensity was pretty high. Feli was serving big but Verdasco was pretty much kicking his ass
Then at 3 on the Grandstand Court, Moya was hitting with Safin - I don't know why, but Safin hitting twice in one day sort of amused me. At the same time, Del Potro was hitting on the stadium with.....someone. Del Potro gets the "hitting the absolute shit out of the ball" award today, he was creaming it off both wings.
By now, everyone had heard that Roddick was practicing at 4, so I settled in under some shade. Andy was in an unusually good mood today, joking with his brother and trainer Doug and some buddy that was on court with them. Good news is that his backhand looked really damn good, spot on, low over the net, deep in the court, nice and flat - good angles and down the line in the corners - better than I can remember seeing it, to be honest. Where that is during his matches lately is beyond me. Bad news (for his fans anyway
) is that he didn't hit any
serves or overheads at all, and he didn't even hit many normal forehands - he was slicing and squashing most of them especially after the first few minutes of his practice (see videos). At one point fairly early in the practice he hit a few really oddly like with his left arm still against his body (he was messing around) and he joked with John that the form was terrible but "at least it doesn't hurt when I hit it this way".... He was also talking to Doug during the practice more than I remember him usually doing, and he kinda stretched his neck a few times. so something is still definitely not right
I know he's my favorite so I'm hardly unbiased, but I like a wole lot of the other players I saw today too and I can easily say Roddick is by far the most entertaining player to watch in practice - joking around, interacting with the fans, being in general silly like hitting funny shots to be intentionally funny, and messing around with his team, he's the only one who looks like he's having any fun or who cares that the fans are there.
Anyway, then Malisse came out to practice again and then they kicked us out at 5pm. The pictures and videos are uploading now - I took a lot and they're uploading slowly, but I will ask for ID of a couple players when I have them and will post the links...