1. Roger Federer live
I have an announcement to make: I have finally found religion. It is Roger Federer.
I'm not kidding or exaggerating at all when I say that I felt my heart racing and my breathing becoming rather short when His Royal Highness sauntered out of the player's entrance and took the court. I could not believe that he was there, in the flesh, breathing almost the same air as me.
Half the pictures that I took today were of him. He hit a backhand cross-court winner in first game of the match and I felt like I could cry.
Unfortunately, his match was the first night match which was at 7 p.m. and I had been watching tennis pretty much from 12.30 p.m. non-stop before that, so halfway through I got extremely sleepy. It was utterly blasphemous of me; but I am only human, unable to resist the temptation of the tiredness of the flesh.
That said, because this was Federer first round grand slam match, it was not without his usual lapse of concentration and walkabouts. Up an early break in the third set, he played a couple of shit games and finally came up with shit so bad that he got broken back. I was literally facepalming (to myself - can you imagine how stupid I looked?) at every forehand error, backhand sailed long, shanked backhand, in those two games. At that point, he'd definitely snapped me out of my sleepiness.
The end was anti-climatic - his opponent, some Russian qualifier whose name is impossible to spell, hit a forehand long on match point. And just like that, it was over.
I noticed after a while that sound of the ball coming off his strings was distinctly different than the sound produced by his opponent's racquet. It was softer, gentler; I was half-wondering why his shots didn't seem as powerful as his opponent's, until I remembered 1) how tightly he strings his racquets; 2) that he uses natural gut strings; and 3) his racquet head is one of the smallest on the tour. I also finally understood what people meant when they say that players have to hear the ball to anticipate what spin the opponent has put on it - Roger's shots sounded different even though it's the same stroke.
Grah this entry sucks so bad. I'm really tired, so I'll just finish the rest of it:
2. I watched the end of the Nicolas Almagro/Lukas Kubot match - Almagro looks a lot hotter in person than on TV. His eyelashes, for instance - so pretty.
3. Tommy Haas - oh my god, this man is sex on two legs. He looked over at us a couple of times and I swore he made eye contact with me twice. I nearly melted; no wonder Adrian is so gay for him. It was really funny watching this match with Adrian and Andy (the other guy from the forum) - they were making inappropriate noises at virtually every backhand that Haas hit. I couldn't stop laughing.
4. I left after the first set of Haas/American qualifier to watch the fifth set of Tomic/Verdasco in Rod Laver Arena, simultaneously justifying my puchase of the RLA ticket. All I can say is that 1) I'm never going to watch an Australian player play in Australia live ever again; and 2) Fernando Verdasco the fucking Fiasco, I don't even know what to say about his brilliant performance. Up two sets to love and lost in the fifth - it wasn't even like Tomic did anything special. Fiasco double-faulted a bunch of times, hit a bunch of errors on easy shots, gestured to himself; and eventually lost. Thanks for a laugh.
5. Went back to Haas after that, who won pretty quickly after dropping set 2 and winning the next one 6-0. Randomly sat down to watch Grigor Dimitrov/Jeremy Chardy in a 5th set, laughed pretty hard when Chardy lost the match on a double fault.
6. It was then time for Lu Yen-Hsun!!! I only knew that he was coming on court because I heard a very loud "Lu Yen-Hsun, jiayou" from behind me.
I gotta talk about this more in detail. I did not expect such a strong Taiwanese support. The outside courts have very limited seats - small bleacher by the side of maybe 5 rows of seats, then a couple of rows on the other side. The bleacher was almost filled with Taiwanese fans - I saw 3 Taiwanese flags at least and a bunch of face-painted people. It was pretty amazing. It was even more amazing when, after Roger finished and I got bored of Wozniacki after 3 games, I saw that Lu was in a fifth set. I went back to the court - it was at the other end of Melbourne Park - and it was filled with people. I sat down on the steps as there weren't any available seats, amongst the huge Taiwanese contingent, and as Lu served for the match, the Taiwanese girl next to me kept telling her friend how nervous she was.
When he finally won, the reaction from the Taiwanese crowd was both amazing and scary at the same time. They were really into it. They nearly all rushed down the steps to get close to him. I was sitting on the steps and I was slightly afraid of being crushed.
I was at a few outside matches today and Lu definitely had the most vocal home support. It was amazing, really. It was pretty much the closest that I can ever get to experiencing what it's like to support a homegrown player with your fellow countrymen.
Too bad I couldn't find my Taiwan cap.
Lastly, I must say that I love watching matches on the outside courts. They are just so much more intimate. RLA is huge and my seat was amazing (pretty close to the court and behind the baseline which is what I prefer) but you don't get as close to the players as you do in the outside courts. I wish I could see Roger play on one of these courts but obviously his time on small courts has long since passed.
I'm really tired so I'm going to stop. Oh yeah I dragged Adrian to watch two games of Hantuchova with me. When he told Andy, Andy went, "That's torture."
I don't understand how Adrian can find Wozniacki pretty but Hantuchova with no sex appeal. He has amazing taste in men(Tommy Haas omg, what a hottie), but in women? Er, not so much.