I GOT AN UNCONDITIONAL OFFER FROM LSE.
OH MY BLOODY FED I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS.
LSE IS MY FIRST NON-CAMBRIDGE CHOICE.
OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD. I'M IN SHOCK RIGHT NOW.
In Australian Open news, objectively speaking my trip has been fucked up so far for the following reasons:
1. After spending about 4K (a conservative estimate) to come here to watch Roger Federer play live, I will be leaving on Sunday having watched only one match. This is all thanks to his fucking opponent, Andreas Beck, the biggest fucking gimp of all fucking time, who fucking withdrew from his second-round match. I didn't even know who this guy was; but all thanks to him, I was robbed of my only other opportunity to watch Roger. To make matters worse, all thanks to Australia's obsession with freaking Bernard Tomic (some Aussie guy), Tomic was given a night match on RLA (versus SAM BLOODY QUERREY. What an awful shit match) and Nadal was also put on RLA - which meant they bumped Roger to Hisense. My RLA ticket didn't allow access to Hisense - so I had to buy another bloody Hisense ticket. Okay, in reality Adrian bought a Hisense for me and I swapped my RLA with his Hisense (Nadal played Haas on RLA and he went to watch his hero lose) but it still sucked that extra money was pretty much spent on nothing. Goddamn you Andreas Beck - no idea who the hell you are still, but I hate you forever. Biggest bloody gimp of all time.
2. Roger plays odd days and I wanted to buy a ticket to watch him tomorrow, but when I was at the box office this evening, I was told that a) only last row seats were left; b) a Rod Laver Arena ticket was going for AUD107; and c) his opponent is Ivo Karlovic. I really enjoy Dr Ivo's tweets and his sense of humour, but really, bloody FUCKED if I'm gonna pay 107 x 1.38 or whatever the ridiculous exchange rate is, just to sit at the last row to watch Roger play an all-serve gimp. I love Roger, but - no. Just no. If the seat was better I might consider; but not last freaking row. I'd get a much better view on TV and that's free.
3. I watched the last match of my Australian Open experience tonight - Andy Roddick versus Lleyton Hewitt, last night match on Rod Laver Arena. It was amazing for 3 sets, and although I started the match not really caring who won as I liked both players, after the score was 1 set all and Roddick started losing in the third set, I started really wanting him to win. He was one my favourite players before his game went completely awry while I didn't really like Lleyton that much, just had a soft spot for him because he's from Roger's generation. It got really exciting when I started rooting for Andy - so much so that every single bloody time he approached the net with his shit slice backhand approach/random topspin approach, I knew he was going to get passed, and when he did get passed, I didn't even care that I was surrounded by a bunch of Aussies all rooting for Lleyton. I facepalmed. Hard. And I started sinking lower and lower in my seat. When Andy hit some miraculously winners when Lleyton served for the third set to set up break points, I clapped like I'd never clapped before.
Then Lleyton served like a beast, erased his break points, went on to nab the third set.
And then Andy retired from the match. Apparently he had a groin injury but I couldn't tell at all from watching him play. He was better than Lleyton. Granted, they were both pretty much on the same subpar level, but Andy was slightly less subpar than Lleyton. I'm pretty sure that if he'd won the third set he wouldn't have retired (seems like simple logic, but seriously, I hate it when a tennis player retires from a match just because he's losing. He should only retire when he's REALLY injured and can't move anymore). He really murdered me with his fucking shit approaches; he really, really, really did. Everytime he missed a first serve on break point I just wanted to clobber him. And I felt very sad to see that he could hardly get free points off his serve, while Lleyton was the one serving much better on the big points.
I think Andy Roddick should just retire. I don't see how staying on the tour is gonna help. Actually, both Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt should retire. They're both not the players they used to be, especially Andy. I really hate seeing his serve, his main weapon, get neutralised so often these days by his opponents. It used to be just Roger who could read his serve like an open book; nowadays it seems to be virtually any random gimp. It's very sad.
I'm also very very very sad that my last Australian Open match ended in a retirement.
4. I watched Nalbandian/Isner yesterday. I watched the first set, then left because the sun was killing me, then went back for the fourth after seeing that Nalby was up 2 sets to 1. I could not believe it when he lost the fourth set in a tie-break. I was so irritated with Isner and his stupid huge serve, getting all these ridiculous free points, while Nalby had to actually play tennis to win points. Oh my god, Nalby's backhand was so orgasmic. I swear, everytime he hit it I was dying inside. Everytime he missed a backhand I died even more.
Unfortunately, it got to a fifth set and I left after 5 games because I was damn hungry and I couldn't take it anymore. I reached my hotel to find out that he lost 10-8 in the fifth.
Before that, I randomly chanced upon Nalby practising on one of the outside courts before his match. I was just standing by the fence and before I knew it, I saw him walking towards me...
...to retrieve a tennis ball.
Still, I was so excited because, like, David Nalbandian is my second favourite player, and he was THAT close to me. There aren't many other shotmakers as pure as Nalbandian in the game today. It was really amazing watching him play live despite him losing. You don't really see just how delicate these players' feel and touch are when they hit a drop volley or a drop shot until you see in person how gently precise they stroke the ball to tip it slightly over the net. Nalby's feel was just out of this world. And his backhand, oh my god, his backhand - it's the best double-hander to me. It looks so good. He hits a double-hander and doesn't look gay in the process.
5. I watched Ernests Gulbis versus Michael Lldora on Tuesday too. Honestly I went for this match for Gulbis, whom I think is the hottest tennis player right now. He played great in the first set and won 6-2 but I left after that because, once again, the sun was killing me. I found out when I returned to the hotel that he went on to win a grand total of 3 games in the next 3 sets. What the fuck? Thank goodness I didn't stay for the rest of the match; the sunburn would have been SO not worth it.
Having said all that, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. Yeah I spent a lot of money and only got to watch one Federer match, but there's really nothing like live tennis at a grand slam. The atmosphere is amazing. The outside courts are incredible - you get to see the tennis so close up which is a treat for any true tennis fan (as opposed to strange grandmas who sit in Rod Laver Arena at 11 a.m. doing crossword puzzles. Really don't get this) and it's also way easier to mob the players for autographs after the match ends on these outside courts. (I'm too cool for this shit so I haven't gotten a single autograph or picture with the players. Yeah I didn't stalk Roger; couldn't be arsed, to be honest.)
Viktor Troicki walked past me while I sat down in the shade. I saw Nalbandian practise, del Potro practise, Gasquet practising with Monfils, random WTA players whom I didn't recognise...it was an amazing experience.
I would also like to say that I watched Lu Yen-Hsun's second round match and was utterly embarrassed by the over-zealous Taiwanese crowd. I cannot stand it when fans cheer an opponent's unforced error - it's utterly unsportsmanlike (yes even for fans) and it's just against tennis etiquette. These people were cheering every time Florent Serra or whatever his name is made an error which was just ridiculous. They also did some cheer which, I don't know, I guess it was nice for Lu to feel the support, but I was just quite embarrassed.
He plays del Potro in the third round which means it's the end of the road for him. I'm glad I got to see him at least.
Lastly, after watching so many matches, I still maintain that nothing compares to watching Roger Federer live. Can't even explain it. Watching the way he moves, the way he sets up for his shots, the way he hits his forehand, the trick shots that he plays, hearing the ball bounce off his racquet - nothing can compare, except Roger Federer playing on Court No. 13 or something random like that, for the intimacy. Otherwise, everyone else is a gimp compared to him. He's really absolutely amazing. I really wish I could have seen more of him.
Okay I have to sleep now. It's 1.30 a.m. I don't wanna go back to Singapore at all.
(PS. I think I also got an offer from UCL but it's not official yet.)