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Hola,

I didn't have the time to post here, but since Monte-Carlo, I have been very busy. Two weeks after Monte-Carlo, I went to Rome for a long week-end, I've been to the qualies and the first day of the tournament. I like the city of Rome, so I also did some sightseeing. Unfortunately, not enough time but it was nice :)

My report from Rome (you can see the pics on Gonzalez forum) :

My week-end flew very fast. I took the night train on friday evening from Paris (at 8pm) and I arrived at 10.am to Roma Termini (central station). Well, a long trip, next time I come to Rome (sure I'll be back at least to visit the city again). So, from the Termini station, you have to take the subway (only two lines in Roma), the red one and stopped at Flaminio station, then I took the Tram n°2 and stopped at the terminus of the line, then, crossed the bridge to arrive to the Olympic stadium.

The tennis club is close to the Olympic Stadium, it's a very small place with two main courts and grounds (you saw on the video)

For the qualies, the ticket is at 10 eur, so it's ok comparing to Roland-Garros or Monte-Carlo. The big problem the first day was to buy a ticket, because Italian didn't speak a word of English. So, just before me, there was an English couple who have been waiting for 1 hour to have their tickets and it was so complicated. The queue was not long, but I think I've waited for one hour to get mine. Then, I had to ask my tickets in Italian, hopefully they understood me Maybe, it's better to buy it on the internet before and to pick up on spot. But if you book them in advance, you have a booking fee to pay (1 eur per ticket), but the good thing is that you can buy the ticket day by day, it's not like in Monte-Carlo, the tournament was sold out. During the qualies, you don't have access to the main court, but on saturday, they made a mistake and we could watch some practrices on the Centre court, so I saw Grosjean and Srichapan, Federer and Wawrinka (didn't know that he was the future opponent of Fernando). Then, the guys told us to leave the court before the end of Federer's practrice. That day was not "great" for me cause I haven't seen my faves

The good thing for the players in Rome, is that they can't be harrassed by the fans because there are some barriers, so for the fans who are used to speak with the players, it's better to choose Monte-Carlo, even if sometimes, it's the mess. But, of course, some players stopped to sign autographes and took pictures. I remember that Blake's brother, signed many autographes for the children, I think they thought he was James. And, he signed until the last child, I was laughing and I thought it was very nice from him

Sunday :
In the morning, I decided to visit the Vatican, just to give me some hopes for today at the tennis And, it worked I saw the player I always see in the tournament, Paul-Henri Mathieu (I have the big radar), if I see him, the day is great. And, on the court next to him : Fernando !!!!

There's a player lounge which has a view on the grounds. So, during all the day, you can see the players walking and walking. I saw Fernando many times on sunday. He practriced in the morning with Chela, and Verdasco was on the same court, then Lopez came to talk with them, not to practrice and then, I saw him walking, checking his trainings times and coming back. He was sometimes lonely, sometimes with a friend, and I thought he would have practriced a second time, but many during the evening. Well, finally, on sunday, I stayed at the same place all the day, got sunburnt and I think I got an exposure (of the sun) because I collapsed in the train when I came back to Paris yesterday During that day, I also saw Carlos arrived in the afternoon (around 6pm). I think I saw everyone at that place. Well, a strategic place, but you have to bring your cap and your sun lotion. The problem is that the weather forecasts were not good for last week-end, so I didn't bring the cap and the lotion It was supposed to rain in Rome !!

The bad thing in the qualies is that when the last match is other, they put people outside the stadium, so on sunday, I was watching Carlos' practrice, and they put the people outside I was very sad !! So, at around 6.30 pm.

On monday, was the first round, the matches started at 1pm but they opened the gates at 10.30 am, was among the first ones. Unfortunately, Fernando already trained at that time. And, when I arrived, the grounds were still closed, but we could stay outside, and there was the players' entrance, so I saw Thomas Johansson who was picking up his rackets, Monfils' coach. Then, I found a place where I could see the trainings (there was a hole), I saw Massu, but didn't know who was with him, finally, it was his coach. He has a physical trainer who looks like to Carlos Burgos. I thought it was him, I was a bit confused. They opened the gates about 10 minutes before the end of this practrice session. I watched a little bit Ferrer / Robredo's practrice, and then, Tommy Haas', I had a mission to take pics of him for two friends of mine It was just Fernando's match, so everything was perfect regarding the timing. Then, they stopped the training at 12.50 and I started to go to Court 5 to find a good seat for THE match. Was very happy to see him, as I had to come back to Paris with the night train. I think I have been very lucky because I didn't expect that a second. Well, It's a good year for me

A few words about the match :
The beginning of the match was not good because both players lost their serves, so it was strange. I thought Fernando still got problems with his shoulder. But apparently, it was ok. Personally, I haven't been impressed by Fernando in that match, I have been much impressed in Monte-Carlo. I was so happy for his victory and that the match was not very long. At one moment, he got a new racquet and there was a problem with it, so he said something to the umpire but was very angry, he then talked to Carlos B. to tell him to bring the racquet. So, not Carlos but the other person who was with him took the racquet. He played some great points. Wawrinka didn't play so well and was strange because he practriced a lot, it's not reason why a player should win..(I saw most of his practrice, didn't really want to, but it was like that, sometimes I have a radar with some players). Fernando communicated a lot with Carlos B. during the match, I have to admit. But, I have not seen the new potential coach, and no girl around
Again, I enjoyed watching his speed, his backhand, the way he fights on the court. I'd have liked to watch the match against Youzhny because in that type of match, he's even better to watch I put the match point of the first round in the video section. He was very happy with his victory cause the match could have turned. At the end of the match, he signed autographes and left.

Then, it was my turn to leave the tournament. I decided to visit the Colosseum in Roma, and then went to the train station to wait for my train which was supposed to leave at 6.45 pm but left at 7pm. I arrived in Paris at 9.30 pm on tuesday morning and went to work directly


Then, last week-end, I went to Dusseldorf. My first time in Germany and I spent a very nice time. I have been very lucky, first because it was supposed to rain all the week-end and it rained only on saturday.

I arrived in Dusseldorf on friday evening. I got my flight from Paris, at 21.30, I booked an Air Berlin flight, only one hour to go to Dusseldorf :)
I arrived, took the airport shuttle (2 €) and in less than 15 mins, I was in the central train station. My hotel (Ibis Hotel) was at 200 meters from the train station, so it was ok. For your information, there's also one Ibis hotel inside the central station (very interesting to know).

On saturday, I visited Dusseldorf, because it was raining. When I go to a tournament, even if it's for a short period, I like to visit the place. I work in tourism so for me it's obvious. I'd feel stupid to not take the time to visit the city. I liked a lot the city, it reminded me a bit the scandinavian countries, the architecture. The tramway is a great invention. In Paris, we are going to have our first tramway very soon, it will be interesting to have one. To travel inside the city, you can buy for one day, a travel card and you can take many times the public transports, it costs 4.70 €. To go to the Rochus Club, you have two trams to take, it takes about 30 mins or less. And, then, you have to walk 5 mins approximatively. It's easy to reach and it's indicated. The club is very nice, many trees and green spaces. It's a small club. Two main courts and smaller courts for the trainings. On saturday afternoon, I went there but it wasn't interesting, because it rained a bit. I just visited, was interesting. I discovered the different courts. Then, there was a big storm and I had to stay somewhere to avoid the rain. In fact, I was in a place favorable to see the players. I saw mainly the Italians (Sanguinetti, Volandri), Verdasco (still nice with people) and Ferrer, Kiefer. But, no chileans :(
Before leaving the stadium, I saw M. (I met her last year in Kitz, and this year in Monte-Carlo) and her friends, we looked at the OP and saw that Chile was playing on sunday :banana:

I think I was very lucky because the only day I come to watch tennis, and I have Chile :) Well, as my friend Aurélie said, I should buy a ticket for the lottery :lol: At the moment, regarding tennis, I'm very lucky. In the evening, I saw B., she often travels with Maria, and with their friends H. and A., we ate in an Italian restaurant, was good :) We had spent a nice evening.

Sunday... THE DAY and I crossed my fingers to not have the rain. I would have been mad. Hopefully, no rain during the day :) I was again very happy. The doors opened around 10.30, and the matches started at 1pm. At the practrice courts, there were Massu and Garcia who were practricing, then, the spanish players arrived and Gaudio, but he trained in a court we didn't have access, so his fans saw him from very far. I had Gonzalez on another court, and maybe the best court of the training, very accessible and great to take pictures :) So, again, very lucky !! So, I saw his training and then, went to the first match. Massu/Verdasco, and Massu won. Then, Gonzalez/Ferrer, good match but a bit stressy. Hopefully, Fernando won :banana: Gonzo was a bit nervous because of the court. And, Gaby Markus tried to calm him. It was funny to watch, I had the chance (again) to have a ticket just behing the Chilean team (thanks M. for the tip :hug:). It was great to see the atmosphere in the Chilean Team, and the chilean fans were great, they sang the song i love :) These matches were on court 2, so a good court, because we can see very well the player. The double was played on court 1, maybe because it was a better one. We had to chance to sit where we wanted, so we were on the vip seats. So, for example, Massu and Ferrer were not so far from us :) They were often bothered by the tennis fans for signing autographs during the match. Ferrer has been very patient because there were many kids. Massu was also nice as well even if it's difficult for him to offer a smile :)

Well, after, with B, M. H, and S, we had dinner in a Mexican restaurant, very good :)

Then, it was time to say good bye :crying: On monday morning, I had to get up very early 4am to take the airport shuttle and go to the airport.

Monday

Get up at 4am. At 5am, I left the hotel and went to the train station to take my train to the airport. Unfortunately, I took the wrong train because the train I took didn't go inside the airport, but outside, so a shuttle to take after and I was not really in advance to tell the truth.

Then, I checked in and I had to go through the security and I was a bit afraid because the alarm rang, it was because of my belt, but the woman saw my passport and decided to excavate me :( Then, they put my shoes in the X ray. Well, it was not funny because I was about to miss my flight to Paris, and I had to go directly to work after :( :(
Finally, they decided to let me go and I ran til the boarding gate and the hostess was calling me :lol: Finally, I went in the plane, and I was veyr happy and wanted to arrive very fast in Paris.
We finally arrived with 30 minutes delay (not because of me) and then, had to go to work by the RER.

To sum up, I will be back to Dusseldorf, because I really liked the atmosphere and the friends I met. The city is nice and I liked Germany, didn't think I would have liked. I have never had an attraction for this country before. Well, I was surprised. But, as I like the scandinavian countries, I think it's a bit logical to like a country like Germany. As I said, some things are similar.

Now, Roland-Garros is coming up, I go on sat to Benny Berthet day, and then, the first round. I'll try to write something each evening !!

See ya
 

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Miss Fabray
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Nice report Val! :yeah:
 
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