So, It's the off-season and I have a little spare time, so I thought I'ld post my story on the YEC.
First of all, my trip was very brief. We left (me and a friend who also loves tennis) on nov. 5 (evening) and came back nov 8 (noon). So, we only had 2 whole days of Madrid.
The tournament ion itself is a great "formula", I think. Why? Because matches are played in the evening, so during the day, you have all the time in the world to visit the city of Madrid (which we did).
So we stayed at a youth hostel, whoch wasn't really stellar. At all. In fact, it stunk (almost literally). It was't expensive, but it wasn't really cheap either. The problem is that we probably payed for the location, which was really in the absolute center (Puerta del Sol) of Madrid.
So one "tip" for all of you. I think you're better off booking a hostel somechat out of the center, and maybe paying less, or either booking a "real hotel" which is out of center and costs you the same.
The metro (subway) in Madrid is very userfriendly, I think and you can reach every place "in a heartbeat" so that's not a problem.
Now, I'm afraid I don't have too much tennisplayer stories to tell, because, well... we only went to the tournie (which is a bit out of town) at night to see the matches. This means we wern't there while the players were practicising and stuff. We felt like we better takes ome of Madrid's cultural heritage than to troll the grounds at the YEC. (am I a real WTAWorld'er?! )
But anyhow. We saw the first 6 matches on thuesday and wednesday.
Now hounestly, I don't think ther's a bad seat in the whole venue. We were located right under the commentators boxes. But it still felt rather "close". And, we speifically chose these places because they give the vieuw I like best. I.e; a bit like when you watch tennis on TV. You see the court "vertically", you know what i mean
So, we sat right in front of the Eurosport commentators. Jo Durie e.o. I think?
A little to our left was the Flemish crew with Sabine Appelmans
. Now, I have to say: Sabine lookes radiant in "real life". She looked really good.
Lol, so after the first match day there was some confusion wether Ju would play on wednesday, since there wasn't an official schedule to be found. So I motioned to Sabine (inher glass box) and mouthed "Speelt Justine morgen??!!" (does Ju play tomorrow) and she mouthed back (with a lot of hand gestures) "Ja, morgen om 6 uur" (Yes, tomorrow at six).
Lol, that was quite funny moment I thought. It's strange when you see thes "famous people" You feel you know them, and they should know you. Which of course, isn't true, but still Sabine was nice.
That first day we saw Ju-Chacky, which was a ratty match. Anna just made too many errors, and Ju was, well,... I'll leave this one to Cecilja
The crowd LOVED Justine, Ana and Maria, I noticed. Not exactly "the underdog", but just the 3 players who showed the most spectacular shots and who showed the most emotions on the court. People love it when players fistpump and shout etc. ...
We were surrounded by Spaniard, and the firt time Ju yelled "Allez". They all went "Olé?! Olé?!" it was too funny!
Ana and Maria are impressive live, I think. There strokes seem like 2x as fast as Ju's.
However, Ju's game (live) is just SO different from all the other players. The effect she puts on her strokes. The way she moves and constructs points; Sometimes it's like watching a different sport.
So the next day we saw all the beautifull parks surrounding Madrid and at night, we returned to the YEC.
Ju played Jankovic. The match was very nce from Justine's point of view; But it was a bit dissapointing that JJ didn't play better and didn't put up a fight either. The audience seemed a bit discouraged.
Than came Serena, who withdrew; i don't know what to say. Serena's strokes are impressive. Her serve is a joy to behold; But her movement and attitude were awfull. She did have a lot of crowd support too however. There were some dissapointed whistles when she retired...Venus was there too, saw her in the stands; And Serena was VERY pissed off at her box for some reason. Her rackets were strung wrongly or something? So that new sparringpartner she has, had to run for new ones, but then she had to retire so it didn't matter
The last match was, thank God, a really good one, I thought. Between Ivanovic and Sveta I think ; A lot of tension and nice rallies. Audience really getting into it.
Now, I've already told this to some. During this last day, Marion bartoli
was sitting right behind us in the commentator boot of Europsort (France). She looked ok (could only see her upper body+head) and well, we sat at maybe 3 metres away from her. So, I could take a pic of her without even having to ask; But i thought "Let's be polite and asked". So after a match (or in between changeover, don't remmeber) she had taken off her headphone, so I motioned to her "can I take a pic please" (said it in French). She b*tchilly rolled her eyes at me and kinda shrugged and looked at her co-commentator... Tsssss she was really unfriendly. So I mouthed "Never mind then" and walked away. So I'm sorry Bartoli Fans, no pics from Marion.
Oh I forgot: During the first day, when visiting Madrid, we went to have coffee @ Starbucks (sic?). We're just sitting there, and who enters? Long, lean, wearing a sweatsuit and nike air? Yes! Pamela Shriver
. It was funny cuz noone recognised her. So she ordered her coffee and she had to say her name at the lady behind the counter. And then, wehn hercoffee was ready the lady kinda shouted "Pàm" (Spanish way) throughout the shop. It was funny. I didn't take a pic of Pam. Felt a bit paparazzo like if I would start taking pics of >pam ordering coffee. Stil, I recognised you, Pam.
Overall, altho the matches were womewhat dissapointing, YEC is stilla great tournie to visit. Too bad it moves next year. I payed 15€ for 3 matches!!! and my places were good (not stellar) So that's 5€ per match (you canonly buy per 3 though )
So, sorry if I bored you guys (too long?). Nothing spectacular, but I enjoyed it nevertheless