The Madness and Fleeting Ecstasy of Annie’s Weekend
(DC Russia-USA 2006 semifinal report)
I think I have to start telling the story with the night before. I got back from Zagreb where I was on a business trip at around 1 am on Friday and with luggage hassles and all wasn’t home until 2 am. The trip came very unexpectedly, as many of you know so I had absolutely no time to even do the Message Book. The Book itself was a rather adventurous experience because the album I essentially wanted to use for it ended up being too small for all our messages so I spent a good hour running around Zagreb bookshops trying to find something decent. I stumbled across that green notebook which I used at the end of the day and then all of a sudden I saw one with Sergio Tacchini’s ad on it and that is where I cut out “Tennis and Beyond” part from to use it for the cover. Anyway, by about 4.30 am the book was done and I decided it might be a good idea to get some rest before a Super Weekend.
I had set at alarm for 10 am but I was up at 8.30 not able to hold the excitement
. Couldn’t eat, so I just sat home watching the Tennis Channel where they were showing pre-DC clips and interviews, etc. Then got all geared up with flags and tickets and camera and I was off. Unfortunately Friday I was all on my own, but I am kinda used to that, hubby is not much of a tennis fan so I do this quite often. Anyhow, I arrived at 12.30, half an hour before it all began and the first person I saw was Mitya with his manager, then some more people like Kafelnikov, Rausa, some of our commentators. Suddenly I see Sasha Volkov come out and start shouting, “Mitya, for crying out loud, where the hell are you? Everyone is lined up waiting”
and Mitya ran to the locker rooms. I took my seat and got ready for the show.
Marat and Roddick were up first, Marat in red, full of determination and very very serious – what can be better!!!!!!!! He controlled the situation from the second they started, Andy couldn’t do much, I was screaming like mad as always and truly enjoyed that match. It wasn’t an easy walk in the park but it was too obvious Marat was much stronger that day. He got a bit frustrated when he couldn’t receive well at certain points but managed to gracefully supress his anger and finish the job off even though with a little choke in the third set. So 2 and a half hours later it was Russia 1 – USA 0. Good start if you ask me
I went straight to the exit from the courts, where the players come out to try and see whether I could take some pics or maybe even try to sign something. I spent half an hour there because he just wouldn’t come out due to numerous interviews he had to give after the match and after he did come out it was one big disappointment – 5 bodyguards around him, he didn’t stop for a second, went straight to the locker rooms. Due to the fact that I stayed there waiting for him, all the bars had enormous queues at the time and I couldn’t even get myself a bottle of water after all the screaming. So very frustrated and thirsty I went for the second game
Misha started off badly..was 0.3 down and it didn’t look good…however a few minutes later the crowd got wilder, Misha got more confident and won the first set 7.5, this was looking good
Not for long though because the second set was totally tanked but after that – he was having none of this nonsense LOL. 2.0 lead after Day 1..what more can you want??? But turned out there was much more to come.
I went out and started looking around, I was getting very tired at that point, I hadn’t eaten, hadn’t slept and all the energy was slowly draining from me. I saw Sasha Volkov and contemplated giving him the Message Book to pass it on to Marat but then thought that I still had two days, so gonna hold on to it and if I don’t manage till Sunday – will give it through Volkov. I bought some magazines and decided I was too tired to hang around more and started heading towards the exit. I was approaching the locker rooms, which are on the way to the exit and BINGO!!!!
He emerged with a bodyguard, wearing jeans, t-shirt and a cardigan and with his rackets bag walking towards the exit. I decided that this was my chance. I hopped after him and luckily managed to catch up, took a deep breath, levelled with him from the side where there was no security, tapped on his arm and said:
- Marat I am terribly sorry to disturb you but this is only gonna take three seconds.
He looked at me and stopped
. At that moment I was close to collapsing but I pulled myself together and continued:
- I administer one of your unofficial English Language sites on the web and your fans have sent in messages, which I have put into a book and would like you to have it. There are almost 50 messages here from all over the world and they are filled with tons of positive energy
He took the book, looked at the cover, looked at me, gave me THE smile and said:
- Thank you, thank you sooooo much. This is really sweet. Thank you.
Then he stuck out his hand to me smiling and I shook it. He grinned again and walked off.
Refusing to believe I did what I had done seconds before I went out for some fresh air, he remained inside talking to some people. Then he got out and was immediately surrounded by fans asking to sign and take pics, I was all alone so there was noone to take a pic of me even though it might have been a good one because he was in a really good mood and smiling
I was however a bit nervous at the point because the book was nowhere to be seen anymore. “That was quick. He dumped it already”, - I thought to myself. My camera was already flat out by then and I took a pic with my phone
Suddenly a little boy came up to him and asked to sign a tennis ball and turned out he had nothing to sign it with, so Auntie Anna played a kind Auntie and passed her marker to Marat
Then I got a DC booklet signed by him and said “Thanks”, he looked at me, smiled and said “Not at all. Thank YOU”, and tapped on the bag and that is when I saw our book sticking out of his bag
He signed a few more things and started heading towards his car, I was standing a bit aside just looking at him, suddenly he saw me, grinned and in a really funny baby voice said something like “Bu Byeee sheeee youuu tomowwow” (for Ma, Ira and Vass "До швидания, до жавтра" ) ROTFLMFAO!!!!!!!!!!
I laughed and waved bye, he winked, got into his car and that was it
Day 1 roundup
. Russia 2 – USA 0. Smiles from Marat – at least 10. Handshakes with Marat – 1. Autographs from Marat – 1. Delivered Message Books – 1. Hell YESSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!