Down Under: Get on UP. When you’re DOWN.
“Roger Federer is the only reason I would get up this early on a Sunday,” declared my friend, as she queued up at Federation Square at 8am this morning to get ourselves some tickets to “Hit for Haiti”.
But boy, it was worth it. For starters, my friend finally realised her dream of making-it-into-Roger-Federer’s-pants-but-failing-that-see-him-live.
You can see why she was the perfect person to go with, hey? (Yes, after many months of solitary confinement, Federbear – “Plonk Plonk” – was let out of the cupboard.)
But beyond that, it was a fun day of tennis, light-hearted banter, spontaneous comedy from the players and most of all – it was for a good cause.
While Roger was only able to get his message out around news time the previous evening, Melbournians (and our visitors) embraced the event. There were a few hundred people lining up at Federation Square early morning, while Rod Laver Arena was filled to a respectable 80%.
They don’t call us the sports capital for nothin’.
The exhibition line-up was divided into two teams
- Team Red: Serena, Sam Stosur, Lleyton and of course, Feddy me teddy.
- Team Blue: Rafa, Djoko, Kimmie, and Randy
- Chair Umpire: Jim “hey-I’m-just-reading-the-scoreboard-like-you-are” Courrier
THEN THIS HAPPENED.
EVEN LLEYTON HEWITT WAS CUTE. STOP FUCKING WITH MY MIND.
Lleyton and Randy left after a few games to go to their actual practice, and Bernard Tomic made a last minute appearance during the tiebreak. Was it a coincidence that he only came on after Lleyton left? Hrrrmmmm.
My own photo. 🙂
The participants were miked up, which became a constant source of comedic amusement. It only took 2 games for Randy to argue with a linesman about a “footfault” and reduce Serena into a fit of giggles; while Roger feigned grumpiness after being told by Randy to challenge a call, declaring to a chuckling crowd that “hawk-eye doesn’t work anyway.”
After a pause, he apologised, “sorry guys. I just had to let it out.”
And didn’t you have ta!
Oh, and he only attempted to ‘the hotdog’ about 50 times.
Rafa had a chance to show his dorky side too, as he went through mock crises of confidence throughout the match. “Too much prrrrrrreesure. You serrrerereve.” He muttered to Kim at 30-all in their service game.
And then there was THIS.
Nole pretended to be a girl, and hence took quite a few hits from Serena, while I’ll never look at Roger Federer the same way again, after some of the disturbing grunts he faked during the match. “ROOAAAAR! ROOOOOZAH! WHEEEEWSH!”
What are you? Five?
For a while, everyone from the Red and Blue teams got on court and they played “mixed triples“!
While play continued, Roger went and sat down treacherously next to Rafa in the Blue Team and the pair had a chat.
Needless to say, the two of them broke my voice, and I broke the ear drum of the person in front of me.
But what I enjoyed the most about the day was the same as what I’ve always enjoyed about going to the tennis – being surrounded by fans of the sport.
Tennis has always been perceived as a somewhat “snooty”, “country-club” type sport. It’s also an individualist sport – even in doubles, you’re only working with one other person. To add to that, we spend so much of our time reading tennis news over the internet and gossiping with the cyber-fandom that sometimes, we forget that tennis fans are all around us.
As always, it was a joy to realise just how much mass-appeal this sport of ours has. Sitting alongside other fans always overwhelm me with a feeling of pride – I loved to listen to their conversations on tennis, and to share with them my opinions and that special feeling of being humbled by the presence of the sporting greats like Federer, Nadal and Serena.
Special mention to fellow Melbournian and Federer fan PJ, who found me because of my gigantic white hat!
Took a picture of the Federer Express Gang. Those guys are getting famous!
Mad props to all the players, in particular to Fed, for their efforts on the eve of a grand slam. That he was able to take the initiative with so little notice and pull it off with such success speaks volumes for his character, leadership and sense of responsibility.
Oh Rog, you know I’m totally your bitch, right?
Likewise, to all the participants – Rafa, Nole, Randy, Lleyton, Sam, Bernie, Serena, Kim – it was refreshing to see all of them put their career concerns aside on such short notice to help those in need.
With the $10 entry fee and the money collected in donation buckets during the match, the event managed to raise around $200,000 for the earthquake ravaged nation of Haiti. The WTA, ATP, Tennis Australia and Maria Sharapova also made donations to the cause.
Would you like to help the people of Haiti? WOULD YOU?! Well here you go!
Cough up, guys – one of my tennis superstitions is to make a donation to charity before a slam. It’s more humane than sacrificing a goat, no? Perhaps you should try it.
Lastly – I know a few of you are coming to the Australian Open this week, I’d love to hear your reports via email or comments! Fan photos for Federporn Friday and other players’ picspams are also welcomed! I’ll be around Melbourne Park every day, so email/DM me and we shall toast to Roger’s puny left arm or Rafa’s ass. Whichever one takes your fancy.
For more of my pictures from today, clickey!
WHEEWWW! I’ll shut up now.