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Thanks for the reports.....
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Before I write my full report, I've now identified the mystery young kid practicing with Ginepri & others as wild card Alex Clayton (winner, USTA National Boys' 18 Clay Court Championships).
 

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Tuesday, August 2nd:

I arrived on the grounds today around noon. As I entered I passed by the tent where James Blake & the Bryans were doing a literacy program with some of the WTEF kids. I peeped in the door, but the kids were all making so much noise it wasn't worth trying to listen in. I checked the practice court schedule. No one was in the stadium right then, so I went to the outer courts & found Sebastian Grosjean practicing with his coach Brad Stine on Court 1. Stine was hitting volleys at Grosjean & he kept trying to pummel him with the returns. Arnaud Clement & the mystery French guy (Dutch-boy haircut) were sitting in the front row of the stands jeering Grosjean in French whenever he missed. I walked around the back of the court to get to the other end of the bleachers & saw that Paul Goldstein & his coach were doing some sort of ball tossing drill on the end of the court Stine was on. There were some doubles guys I didn't recognize in the grandstand. As I was leaving the grandstand, a Bryan came rushing by & when he saw me coming off that court asked me if I had seen his brother. When I said he wasn't on those courts, he went rushing into court 2. I went in there too, & sure enough there was the other Bryan waiting for the three doubles guys on that court to get off. When they were one minute over their time, the Bryans & Kevin Ullyett (Black must never practice) ran onto the court & started playing three on three.

I peeked in the stadium where Robby Ginepri was practicing with his coach. I then walked around to court 3 (the one with bleachers in the shade) & found James Blake practicing with Phillip Simmonds (& both their coaches). A camera crew & several photographers were there to shoot Blake. Boy were they annoying. They kept getting their equipment closer & closer to the court. Blake finally told them they might want to back up so they wouldn't get hit & they acted all annoyed. Some of them were out on the bleachers with me & a few WTEF kids wondered in at one point. Some random guy asked one of the camera crew people who Blake was practicing with & they were clueless. When I identified Simmonds, the guy sitting next to me spoke up & introduced himself as Simmonds's father. He was excited that I knew who his son was & said I had been rooting for him during his match. Blake & Simmonds were in the middle of their drills when I arrived, then they played a practice set. The obnoxious camera crew was at one point about a foot away from Simmonds while he was trying to serve (so they could shoot Blake). Blake's coach finally told them they needed to get back outside the fence & wait until the practice was over. They played a good practice set. (I really like this kid.) Simmonds has tremendous potential & when he grows into his height, he will be even better. Toward the end of their practice, Jim Thomas walked up & started opening balls & stretching (I guess he was next on the court). Then James Blake's mother walked up & asked if it was okay if she sat there. I looked in the stadium again on my way back & saw Paradorn practicing with a Japanese guy that I had seen around but didn't think was a player.

I then ran into the person who was organizing the Andy Roddick No Compromise bracelet giveaway & she gave me one early. I went to the lounge to get a drink & check the later practice schedule. In the hallway, I saw Dominik Hrbaty reading a book & Jonas Bjorkman talking on a cell phone. I ran into a guy I know who said he had watched Phillippoussis practicing in the stadium earlier in the morning. I asked him if he saw the child-fiancee & he said she was on the court being the ball girl during the practice.

When matches got underway at 4:00, I watched a little bit of Clement v. Lapentti in the grandstand, then went to the stadium & watched Ginepri v. Kim. I stepped out to watch Andy Roddick's practice session on one of the practice courts. Roddick was just hitting with his coach Dean Goldfine & his trainer Doug Spreen was retrieving balls. Roddick was running Goldfine from side-to-side mercilessly & finally Goldfine yelled out "I thought I was supposed to be dictating play!" Goldfine came to the front court & was hitting volleys that Roddick was just drilling back at his body. Goldfine got back about ten before he jumped out of the way (which was impressive given how hard he was hitting). Someone in the crowd yelled out "take it easy on him Andy" to which he replied "you would have been back by the fence sitting down after one." (He also practiced left-handed overheads for some reason.) Later he did a neat trick catching the ball spinning it around his outer rim of his racket causing the crowd to gasp. Roddick made a funny face & so did Doug Spreen who looked surprised. Roddick said "Doug just walk it off like I do it all the time." When the practice was over (Bhupathi had come in & chatted with Roddick), Roddick finished off one of the bottled waters in one drink (more gasps from the crowd), prompting the woman standing next to me to tell her son, "see Andy drinks water when he's playing & you should too." Three security guards had to come out to clear a path so Roddick could get out (he signed autographs on his way out, but had a mob around him in five seconds blocking movement).

I looked in again on Ginepri v. Kim & the outer courts. I briefly saw the no longer unknown Alex Clayton playing Bobby Reynolds on court 1. On the way to meet my guest I ran into Paradorn, who held a door open for me, & walked by Tim Henman talking instensely on a cell phone (he was there for quite a while). We went & got dinner from hospitality. By this time we saw on the jumbotron that Phillippoussis was down a set & a break to Luis Horna so we rushed in the stadium to see the end of that match. We briefly went to one of the special events (Night at the Net) held in a separate tent outside. People had purchased separate tickets for this event, but it wasn't really that exciting. We got gift bags from Mercedes & were about to leave when they announced the special guest was arriving. It turned out to be Robby Ginepri. They asked him to say a few words which was probably not the best idea since he is no public speaker. He mumbled a few words about how much he likes coming to Washington & then they asked if anyone had any questions for him. Of course the first question was if he had a girlfriend. The Mercedes person could see the whole thing was going downhill fast & quickly ended the questions with some other announcement.

We checked in on court 1 where Paul Goldstein & Scott Oudsema were thrashing Beck & Berdych--who do I see again, but Phillips Simmonds with his mother & some friends standing behind the bleachers watching his buddy Oudsema--then saw Gilles Muller finish off Sanguinetti (Muller looked really tired & was questioning every single service call). We then went to the stadium to watch Andy Roddick v. Giovanni Lapentti. I had never seen Lapentti play before. He was rather flashy, but tried to be a little too cute by hitting all these little soft drop shots which Roddick was able to hit winners off of pretty easily. In the second set there was one great rally with both players making several crazy shots. Lapentti finally finished it off with another wild shot & gave a little hand gesture acknowledging the applauding crowd. Lapentti took quiet a tumble at the baseline later in the set, landing flat on his back. At first he looked like he was hurt, but he eventually got up. The last point of the match was another long rally that Roddick finished off with a cute drop shot of his own. The two spent quite a bit of time chatting during the handshake, both laughing several times. One thing I really like is that the announcer always acknowledges both players after the match "let's have a big hand for Giovanni Lapentti" as he's walking off. Lapentti got a lot of applause. Roddick stayed on the court & did a little game for JetBlue with Wayne Bryan & three fans. All of them won the game (landing little airplanes onto mats on the court) pretty easily, putting some pressure on Roddick to do the same, but he got it on the first try.

We next ventured out to court 1, where the previously cruising Goldstein & Oudsema were now down a break in the 3rd & subsequently lost the match. There was a lull of matches then (Ivo Karlovic & Max Mirnyi were just warming up) so we just walked around a bit. I ran into someone I knew & when we were done with them (& the time it took to navigate around the massive bottleneck from the mob waiting for Roddick outside the locker-room exit) we wanted to go back into the Karlovic v. Miryni match but it was packed so we went to Hernych v. de Chaunac on court 1. De Chaunac twice served for the set & was broken. The second time he thought he got a bad call & started acting up just like he did during the qualifying: standing at the net & making hand gestures to the umpire. He hit a ball out of the court & got a code violation (warning) for ball abuse. When they switched ends during the tiebreak, de Chaunac got right in the face of the lineswoman he thought made the bad call earlier & started screaming "what were you looking out." I thought he would tossed right there, but the umpire let it go. After Hernych had won the set, de Chaunac continued loudly yelling at the umpire who gave him another code violation (point penalty) for verbal abuse. Of course this set him off again & the ATP supervisor soon arrived & had a long talk with de Chaunac near his chair. After he left de Chaunac seemed calmer, but still held up play by changing his shirt & just being generally slow. After he tanked the second set, he refused to shake hands with the umpire.

We went to the stadium to find Tim Henman down a set, but up a break to Wesley Moodie. Henman was playing horrible. He immediately was down triple break point & was broken back. Moodie was holding serve easily & winning the rallys while Henman couldn't get any first serves in & was down triple break point in his next two service games. He finally held in the first game & looked like he might take it to a tiebreak, but he just couldn't stop hitting returns into the net & was broken again for the match. Boo!

We went to the grandstand where Massu & Horna were down a set & 0-3 in the second to Knowles/Stepanek. This was one of the most hilarious matches I've seen as Horna seemed to be having the time of his life, smiling all the time, while Massu appeared to want to get out of there as quickly as possible. They lost about 10 straight points with Massu not even attempting returns he could have easily made. Meanwhile Horna still had the same goofy grin on his face. In the last game, now down triple match point, there's a incredibly long rally with Horna doing all the returning to both Knowles & Stepanek from both sides of the court while Massu is standing stationary twirling his racket. Finally Massu has had enough & jumps in front of Horna & attempts to hit a behind the back shot that goes into the net. I think he just wanted to go home.

After nearly twelve hours of tennis today, my bracelet, my Mercedes gift bag, & I were ready to go home.
 

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smucav said:
Roddick finished off one of the bottled waters in one drink (more gasps from the crowd), prompting the woman standing next to me to tell her son, "see Andy drinks water when he's playing & you should too."
i liked this bit. :worship:
 

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Sounds like an exciting day smucav.
 

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I think the French guy no-one has recognised is Jean-Michael Pequery?
 

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superpinkone37 said:
yeah I don't know why Andy practices left handed overheads, I have seen him do that at two separate practice sessions before. I think he just likes to show off ;) :lol:
Yeah, he also likes to lighten up his practices too ;) Plus, his left arm isn't as god-awful as it used to be so he can probably use it a little :lol: no, I kid.

Thanks smucav, sounds like another nice day in DC. I agree with you about acknolwedging both players - I noticed in LA that a lot of times, the losing player got more applause and cheers than the winning player. lol
 

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Maybe it just warms up his leftie for ball toss and 2 handed backhand :)
 

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Thanks again Smucav!!!! It is great to get your report!!!
 

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is mystery french guy with arnaud mean by any chance? coz he was with someone at queens who just plain rude, so much in fact that arnaud appologised to me the next time i saw him.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
Wednesday, August 3rd:

Today was the longest day so far with nearly every match going the distance.

Again I arrived around noon, but just sat outside & made some calls for a while (Andy Roddick & his coach & trainer walked right by me while I was sitting there). When I went inside someone had just dropped off the cutest little lunches. After I ate, I went around & checked to see who was practicing. Phillip Simmonds & Kevin Kim were on court 2 & doubles guys in the grandstand. Andy Roddick was practicing in the stadium with his coach & trainer (other than a security guard & a photographer, I was the only person watching the practice). After they did all the drills (& had a debriefing on the stats from the second round match) they decided to play some sort of baseball game & spent an inordinate amount of time devising the scoring system. They needed four people, so the photographer got in the action. This went on for nearly 30 minutes (Doug Spreen was the most consistent pitcher & hitter) & they were still going when I left. Paul Goldstein came in during this & started retrieving balls for them. As I left the stadium I passed by Wayne Bryan running some clinic on the clay courts. Robby Ginepri was with his coach on court 1. When I took another lap around later, James Blake was now in the stadium practicing with Scott Oudsema.

When it was time for matches to begin, I watched most of Ginepri v. Beck in the grandstand. As he has been throughout the week, Ginepri was on fire, just really striking the ball well. I've heard a lot of people (both with the tournament & fans) talking about Ginepri as a darkhorse to win the title. (Yes, he really has looked that good.) At one point I noticed that Lars Graf was standing next to me watching the match. One of the funniest things I've seen all week was a girl walking up to Graf & asking him if she could take a picture of him (not with him). He seemed delighted & started smiling & posing near the fence.

I looked in on the Clement v. Bloomfield match where Clement seemed to be dominating. I went to meet my guest & we had an early dinner & watched the second set of Muller v. Massu. (On the way there, we saw Ivo Karlovic practicing sliding from side-to-side on the clay courts, with his girlfriend & coach looking on.) Massu was certainly putting in more effort than he did in that doubles match, but Muller just served too well. On the way back, we looked in on all the matches on the outer courts. Reynolds v. Mello (just as Reynolds broke for the match) & Grosjean v. Popp (Grosjean dominating).

The most entertaining match of the day had to be Clement v. Bloomfield. They were deadlocked in the third. Bloomfield, a pale skinny English kid, was bombing in the serves & was painting the corners with his returns. Clement could not believe he was now in a third set (& eventually a tiebreak) with this guy. He was really carrying on, yelling out in French, bossing around the ball kids, jumping in the face of linesmen. After a while I noticed that de Chaunac & the other French guy were sitting in one end of the stands, fervently cheering/coaching Clement. There were some incredibly exciting rallies (including the diminutive Clement leaping about three feet in the air to make an overhead without much trajectory--quite a sight--only to be lobbed on his way back down). Clement had several MPs before finally converting.

Grosjean had finished off Popp already (I later saw both Gregory Carraz & Popp going in the tournament office to pick up their loser prize money) so we watched Rusedski v. Healey in the grandstand. Healey hung in there for a while, but lost some momentum when he lost the tiebreak. (Throughout all of this we fully intended to make it into the stadium for Blake v. Stepanek, but never did.) We watched a little of Horna v. Hrbaty (both of them were cursing at the umpire) before going into the stadium for Paradorn v. Goldstein.

The Srichaphans were out in full force, taking up one whole diagonal section of the stands. Paradorn won the first pretty easily. In the second, Paradorn attempted a return & ended up doing a full split. He started playing poorly & Goldstein broke right after that. Paradorn had the trainer out & after Goldstein won the second, Paradorn left the court with the trainer. We went & looked in on the Hernych/Karlovic v. Thomas/Koening & the Black/Ullyett v. Palmer/Parrott doubles matches. By the time we got back to the stadium, they were on serve in the third. After one really long game, Goldstein finally got a break & served for the match. He had match points, but failed to convert & instead was broken back. Paradorn then broke again & served it out. Fairly pitiful display by Goldstein. Paradorn really went downhill after his injury, but Goldstein couldn't convert & choked away the match. (We later saw him coming out of the media tent & nearly taking out the one kid that was standing there waiting for his autograph.)

We watched the ends of those two doubles matches then went to check in on Berdych v. Arthurs on court 2. A strange occurance during this match: a bat flew in the court & was circling around Berdych while he was trying to serve. Finally a ballkid started running after it with a towel trying to get it out. Back in the stadium, the Bryans were now underway v. Grosjean/Hrbaty. Mike was broken in his first service game, but they cruised after that finishing off the match in less than an hour.

Finally it was 12:20 a.m. & time to head home. Hopefully more great matches tomorrow.
 

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Awesome report, as always S :D!! What court did Jim and Robbie finally get on? And any idea what sort of time ;) Keep enjoying yourself ;)!
 

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Discussion Starter #59
ae wowww said:
Awesome report, as always S :D!! What court did Jim and Robbie finally get on? And any idea what sort of time ;) Keep enjoying yourself ;)!
They were on court 1 (which was empty earlier than expected since Moodie retired). I don't know when they started (everything is kind of running together at this point), but they finished not long after the Paradorn v. Goldstein match finished in the stadium (around 11:00 p.m.).
 
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