AO2011 Day One: Fortune Favours the Stalkers (by PJ)
Hola, y’all, this is PJ descending upon the most celebrated Fence again, in the Australian Open 2011 season. Although it all officially began today, I’ve already been feeling the AO mood since Saturday when I attended the 3rd day of Qualifying. I honestly had a LOT of fun during qualies and will definitely be looking at going again next year if I’m in the country. It’s super awesome for player stalkerage plus the top players do their pre-tourney interviews on that day, means chances for photos and autographs. For the record, I got Djokovic’s and Rafa’s, but missed Federer by a breadth. If only I had not stuck around watching Schoorel and Koubek both trying NOT to win the set. FML.
And Rally for Relief. Hilarious antics by Djokovic and Roddick, Fedal doubles and Fedal giggles, and pure smashing girl power. What more could we ask for?
My original plan on Day 1 was to go for the night session, but crap scheduling meant that I ended up buying myself a Ground Pass, and LJ helped to get us both upgraded sessions for a Day Session in Rod Laver Arena where Roger was slanted to play the first match.
Lots of time before that so I saw lots of tennis!
My day actually began fantastically when after seeing Clijsters’ practice session, I ran into a group of fans in red and white, and then I saw this guy entering the practice courts. Whaddaya know, he’s Swiss and all.
Roger’s hitting partner today was Papa Ljubs, and they seemed to get along well, having a chat and a laugh before they started hitting. I unfortunately was at the end of the court where Roger was NOT practicing. My telepathic to lure him over to our side failed so I didn’t manage to get super good photos. But here’s some of them anyway.
Both me and LJ didn’t expect him to sign autographs today because the norm for Rog is that if he is to play that day, he doesn’t sign autographs. But to every stalker’s delight and squeeage, he jogged over, firstly to talk the huge, enthusiastic group – the RF Brigade, who handed him gifts and the Red Envelope. Fed took pictures with them, chatted and signed all their memorabilia before moving on to the other fans.
I was lucky to get my Bear signed, and LJ her cap.
As Roger moved away from us, I thought about asking him for a photo, but we both thought we may have missed our chance. Then again, as he walked back towards our direction to pack up and go, on a whim, I called out and asked him for a photo. He looked at us, and the big Swiss flag LJ managed to borrow from her friend, smiled and gestured for his physio to take my camera.
And this is the result.
MuhahhahahhahaAHAHAHHAHHAHA OUR LIVES ARE TOTEZ COMPLETED 4EVERZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Might I also add we showed very graceful and commendable restraint by not grabbing him, molesting him, or trying to steal his pants.
After that, we moved on to the show courts, but honestly, we were all giddy and giggly and glompy over each other…random skipping and hugging. The things Federer do to us and our mental states! We managed to calm down enough to get into Nishikori Kei v Fabio Fognini.
It was actually an entertaining match, except both guys couldn’t drop shot to save their lives. Each attempt was quite a spectacle of fail. We started watching when Kei was up two sets to love, and choked away two mini-breaks to lose the third set. He ended up winning the match anyway, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-4.
LJ totally find Fognini doable, by the way. Me? Not so.
After that, we tried to get into Davydenko v Mayer, but it was very full. Nevertheless, LJ opted to wait while I head off to Querrey v Kubot. Kolya ended up losing (WTF Kolya!??! I know Mayer can be good but WTF REALLY KOLYA?!?!??!) and Querrey ended up losing, 8-6 in the final set. It was quite competitive in the 5th set…both guys had chances on each other’s serve, but ended up shanking them away until that one break point when Kubot pounced for the win.
In between matches, we saw Rafa, but because we wasn’t stalkerish enough to know beforehand, there was no way we could even get a spot for decent photos. Boo hoo.
And oh, Bobby Sod practiced after Rafa.
And then it’s YAY FEDY TIME. We got like second-to-last row seats but hell, we didn’t even care. Besides, there’re no REALLY BAD seats in Rod Laver. Because the arena wasn’t super-ass huge, we can still see pretty clearly. My camera didn’t quite cut it, but LJ’s…wooosh.
Thank goodness we can see pretty clearly, because my oh my, what a pretty show from Mr. Federer. He was on from the moment go, providing a clean, sharp display of OMGWTF BBQMG shots – blistering forehands, crisp backhands, OH MAH GAH dropshots and shots that just seemed to work in the most ridiculous way – to go two sets up to love. Seriously, some of the shots were unbelievable and I was just like HOW THE FUCK DID HE DO THAT HOW THE FUCK WAS THAT IN IS HE A FUCKING ALIEN?!!?! Yeah, it was that good. I think at one point Lacko wanted to throw a tennis ball at him and not in a friendly, haha way either.
Lacko stepped it up in the third set but Feddykins has never lost when he was up two sets to love and he wasn’t about to make today the day, breaking Lacko in the 9th game and eventually winning 6-1, 6-1, 6-4.
And then we joined Jodi for Mahut v Dabul. Boy, both these guys have some cracking forehands and cracking shots. Mahut held it together to edge out with a straight sets win. I gotta say, everyone’s new favourite Frenchie is just quite a sight on court, suitably pumped and suitably gritty. You can see his determination – it was as intense as his hair (which did not move an inch for the entire match, I swear).
I caught a bit of Ewok Wawrinka and Gabashvili as well. The Ewok may be a total douchebag in the aspects of his personal life but he does have a very pretty backhand. He won comfortably anyway.
I then wandered to check out Fed’s potential second-round opponents, just to freak myself out. Lu Yen-Hsun was playing Giles Simon and whoa, the Asian brigade was out in full force, yelling in Mandarin and decked out in Taiwanese flags and Chinese signs. Support not enough for Lu though – after winning an intense tiebreaker in the first set, he fizzed away to lose in 4. But Simon was looking solid. A bit head-casey, but good.
So Federer v Simon is set for Round 2. You may begin frazzling now.
After that it was Rod Laver Arena for some snooze fest matches. Thank goodness the second set of Wickmayer and Groth was actually quite a display of solid hitting from both girls…so I got something out of my ticket. I then got dragged out to watch Verdasco – in one of the most horrendous shirts I’ve ever seen – play Schuttler. Seriously, Nando’s shirt was BAD. I’m rather positive that the designer is colour-blind. It then began raining, so back to RLA we go.
Djokovic v Granola Bar was…BLARGGHHHH. Djokovic was decent but he didn’t need to play well, as Granola Bar evidently forgot to eat himself – he was flat and low in energy and didn’t put up too much of a fight. He fought to earn back a break in the second set, but promptly got broken again to lose the set. In which my friend now owes me twenty bucks.
To sum it up, here’s the most interesting thing in the entire match:
Guy behind me to his friends, and he was rooting for Granola Bar, said: “I always, ALWAYS root for the underdog except when it comes to Federer. His game is too beautiful to go against.”
Anyway, bring on Day 2! More stalking, more stories, more tennis! Yahoo! And killer night matches 🙂
Now I need to sleep.
P.S. All photos from the camera of yours truly, moi.