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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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.
 

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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!
 

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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 ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
KarolBeckFan said:
You saw Karol :D
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.
 

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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.
 

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smucav said:
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!
 

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thanks heaps smucav!

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

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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!
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
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.]
 

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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!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
ae wowww said:
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.)
SwissMister1 said:
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.
 

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smucav said:
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!
 

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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....
 
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