I’m still going to write up the final, I swear it. But since I don’t have any pics from Sunday, I thought I could post these now.
I’m not a photographer—certainly not on the level of Urklerlay or Shooter or Tratree or any of the other super-talents here. And I was using my sister-in-law’s camera, one of those auto-everything jobs with a million settings but nothing manual. Having grown up with a Canon A1, I felt clueless with the newfangled technology, and many times I wished for something that weighed ten times as much but had manual focus and non-automatic settings on it. Night shots were the worst—even with ample lighting, the camera still insisted on using its flash, which meant no in-match shots; I wasn’t going to distract the players during play. Most of the night shots turned out blurry, too, even though I had the camera set for the occasion.
To make matters worse, I had an entire roll (36 exposures) that was defective. I’d intended to take shots of every match I watched, but several matches (Bammer/Uberoi, Peschke/Panova, and Cho/Jidkova among them) have no surviving "footage," and as a result, some of the players are underrepresented.
So these aren’t great. You’ll notice that I have no real "action shots," and that’s for an aesthetic reason, as well as a practical one— a), I’m just not good enough with a camera to take interesting action shots; and b), I prefer getting pictures that say something about who the players are. Personality is the hardest thing to capture in a shot of a player smashing the ball, and I’d rather take shots that have a little bit of the players’ personalities in them. Given the choice between a shot of Patty Schnyder in mid-swing with the ball frozen smooshed against her racquet strings (a shot I lacked the technique to capture, in any case) and a shot of her signing an autograph or goofing with the crowd, I would opt for the latter any time. (Besides—my action photography would have paled against, say, Urklerlay’s or Shooter’s stuff from BotW a week later.
I’ve included sections of my previously-written reports with these, in bold,
to put the pictures in context, with a few wise-ass post-tournament digressions thrown in, in plain text. These are also 1/2 size; I have higher quality versions if anyone really wants them, as well as some redundant shots of some of the players.
Enjoy! I’ll try to do better next year.
On the court next to Shaughnessy and Drake were two blonde girls I didn’t recognize—hardly a surprise, as I haven’t had television for a few years, and have seen perhaps five tennis matches since making the temporary move from Alaska to Illinois eighteen months ago. Adding to the problem is the fact that few of the players here are household names outside their own households. I’m sure I’ll misidentify more than a few in these write-ups, so bear with me. As I uncapped my camera, one of the blondes struck a couple of poses, so I obliged her modeling instincts.
If anyone knows who this is, I’d love to know.
Meilen Tu, who somehow got left out of my report.
On the court just behind the two blondes, Hantuchova had joined Sugiyama for practice.
Now and then, a fan would interrupt for an autograph and Hantuchova would come over and sign; at one point, a kid no taller than her waist asked for an autograph, and she signed, bending over with her hands on her knees to talk to him face-to-face, laughing at something he said.
This was the kid she bent down to talk to—I thought I had a picture of that, but I evidently missed it.
As Schnyder waited for Drake and Shaughnessy to finish up with their gear, a mentally-challenged man in his twenties approached her with one of those oversized "autograph balls" and a pen. "Patty, can I have your autograph, please?" She smiled at him. "Yeah, sure." And she signed the ball and posed for a picture with him.
The handicapped guy is off to the left. He seemed like he knew every one of the players.
As she and Hoffman took the court, the challenged guy approached Drake: "Maureen—can I get a picture with you?" Drake laughed. "Nobody ever wants a picture with me," she said, and stood for several pictures, maybe grateful that she’d been recognized amid the crowd of better-known players.
Again, I didn’t know this was Drake; the handicapped guy tipped me off by asking for the picture.
This was Drake’s practice partner—obviously, it isn’t Meghan Shaughnessy. (I was smoking some good
stuff that day.) Anyone know who this is?
The guy Schnyder was practicing with wasn’t Hoffman—I hadn’t seen RH before, but made the incorrect assumption that it was him. I don’t know who her practice partner was, but she worked with him for the whole tournament.
Bethanie Mattek vs. Liga Dekmeijere
Mattek led 6-2. 4-2 on Center, and finished the final games quickly, to a smattering of applause from the fifty or so fans watching. Her real reward was to be stopped and interviewed by Luke "Slap-Head" Jensen courtside, and put on the spot when she confessed she hadn’t been to Cincinnati yet, only the tennis center.
Some days, I’m just brain-dead—that’s not Luke, it’s Murphy. D’oh!
Over on the practice courts, another small crowd had gathered—Sania Mirza and her Forehand of Doom were practicing against yet another tall, slender, pretty blonde girl I didn’t know. Both of Mirza’s ankles were in braces, but she didn’t seem encumbered or hesitant in her movement. Unlike the other girls, who looked taller and stronger in pictures, Mirza seemed smaller, more delicate; in fact, she looked like she’d lost a great deal of weight, although whether she actually was heavier before or that extra weight was illusory I don’t know. Having heard a lot about her, I sat in the stands and watched her practice, the other girl’s coach giving both advice. An older Indian lady managed their equipment, doling out racquets and tennis balls.
Mirza really is smaller than she looks in photos, and I was surprised at how lightweight she looked (having heard comments that she was overweight). About twenty people watched her practice here, and you could hear the whole group gasp when she teed off on that forehand of hers.
I took a number of pictures of both, although at one point Mirza looked at me as if to say, "Oh, God—not another stalker." She’s quite beautiful, so I imagine she’s getting leery of being snapped everywhere she goes, and obviously very good-natured, as she hammed it up a bit for those watching. I quit taking pictures, so as not to disrupt her practice or her mood.
"You lookin’ at me?
Caroline Wozniacki. At the time, I didn’t know that’s who this was.
I left to check out the food court; when I came by ten minutes later, Mirza and her partner were still sitting courtside, chatting away.
I love this picture for some reason. You can just hear the teen angst:
SM: Well, there’s this guy I really like, but he doesn’t know I exist beyond a bunch of tabloid clippings. What should I say to him?
CW: ‘Stop breaking into my house or I’ll set the dogs loose.’
"Oh, look—the old hippy with the camera didn’t get the hint."
Chanda finished her practice. As she left the court, a number of autograph hounds were waiting; if she missed a held-out program or poster, her coach would point it out. As she passed where I was standing, she looked up. "Good luck," I said.
:sigh: Can’t believe I forgot Benny Sims’ name.