Calm Before the Friggin-Stormy-Armageddon so help me GOAT.
Watching Woger serve through my appropriately heart-shaped sunglasses may have been the most orgasmic experience ever.
Rally For Relief. I won’t sum up everything that went on because Tignor has done a great job capturing the highlights.
A year ago, we united for Hit For Haiti in the same arena. It was spontaneously organised. It drew a huge crowd with less than 24 hours’ notice. People lined up last minute and moved swiftly to their seats. It was as chaotic as it was natural. Things just … fell into place.
Rally For Relief this year, despite the amazing response, didn’t quite have the same organisational neatness to it. The atmosphere in Garden Square and Rod Laver Arena was lively and happy, but hours before we were able to go in, there was a Mecca-like human meat jam outside Rod Laver Arena – somewhat appropriate, but totally avoidable.
Despite the organisational clusterfuck, once in the arena, we were immediately treated to Federer’s normally scheduled practice session with Federcone and a young Australian (?) junior. And boy, was he lazy! MOVE YA FRIGGIN FEET!
Half an hour later, McSquishy packed his bags as the capacity crowd broke into a chorus of applause and wolf-whistling. 15,000 people watching a practice session, clapping at your forehands, groaning at the misses?
Even Wogie McFed might find that to be a novel experience.
As for the actual Rally For Relief exhibition: the Djoker joked, Murray moaned, and substitute linesman Aaaaandee Roddick roared “IT WAS YOUR RIGHT FOOT” and foot-faulted Vera Zvonareva.
It was that kinda exho.
All of it was amusing, but none surprising – we all knew that Djokovic reveled in this sort of situation. If tennis were a Shakespearean court, the Djoker would naturally take on the part of the joker, one that waltzes in and offers a round of slapstick entertainment to break up the intensity that often typifies tennis.
And Roddick? We all knew he owns dry humour the way Federer owns hi- ah …
Not to mention Ahndee Mooray’s idea of humour turned out to be trading moans and grunts with Ana Ivanovic. Needless to say, I was immediately turned off having bébés FOREVER.
The real surprises for me came from the girls.
Caroline Wozniacki wiggled her rear-end, strutted her stuff and flicked her hair, all done with cheek of course. But there’s a girl comfortable in her own skin, knowing she’s hot potatoes.
Justine Henin: happy, relaxed, easy-going. It shouldn’t be this shocking but it was. We couldn’t feel much of that lionness-trapped-in-lamb’s-body vibe she normally exudes. And by the crowd’s reaction to her, we’re more appreciative of Henin than perhaps … ever.
The others. Victoria Azarenka missed a tweener so badly that she walked off court in self-mockery and shame. A few points later, Ana Ivanovic attempted another one poorly, “I just missed it to make you feel better.” Miss Muffet has cheek. Who knew?
And who could forget that immortal line offered by Miss Muffet? “Can you stand me behind me?” She said naively to Djoko as she prepared to receive Roddick’s serve. Watch again the fleeting look that crossed Djokovic and Roddick’s faces. A moment later, the crowd got it and started to snigger.
Unintentional, but utterly priceless.
And then there was Stosur. Just a year ago, she was star-struck, quiet and shy as a local favourite in Hit For Haiti. This year, she held her own. Granted, none of the last four doubles players, Kim, Rafa, Roger and Sam, was micced. But there was no longer a sense from Stosur that she didn’t think she belonged, that she wasn’t a “top player” in the same league as Azarenka, or Zvonareva or Kim. She had a new sense of calmness and settlement that just wasn’t evident in her demeanour last year.
Last but not least, the Roger/Rafa doubles pairing. It happened, I eyeballed it. And now my eyeballs are so privileged and priceless I’m considering taking out insurance on them.
But proving that too much of a good thing can lose to Sam Stosur, Wogie and Wafa took turns to see who could fail more spectacularly at an overhead smash. The result was that the girls took away the battle of the sexes, and Kim and Sam did the victorious chestbump to rub it in.
But at the end of the day, let us not forget the purpose of all this stuff and nonsense. The flood waters are receding in Queensland (and the rest of Australia) and people are returning to find their homes destroyed, evidence of their memory drenched and erased forever. The clean-up and rebuilding efforts will cost this country billions, and the emotional toll will be higher.
Rally For Relief raised an amazing $1.8 million today for the cause, and https://rallyforrelief.tennis.com.au/ will continue to accept donations, with QER (corporate) matching every dollar donated. Please do what you can.
PS. Who says Federer and Rafa fans hate each other? It was lovely to meet some Rafanatics pre-match today, and we didn’t even scratch each others’ eyeballs out. Now that’s civility!
PPS. By the way, the rest of my photos from today are here. Practice photos earlier in the week are on the same account.