I went to Birmingham yesterday and today and decided to share my day with you all. (Sunday and Monday)
I had a good time. Two of my friends came with me who like tennis and play it, but don't follow it lots. On Qualifying we didn't do much, just watched small parts of matches and practices and the weather was very hot.
The British tennis players and their matches
I watched a good match which featured Naomi Cavaday
on Centre Court. In the second set, after bageling Craybas
, she came down from 0-3. She was really good and at times played like a top 100 player, overpowering Craybas from the back. If Naomi plays like that, she will be dangerous at Wimbledon. I also loved Naomi's lefty forehand. It was a powerful shot. After the first set, Craybas made a few small adjustments to her game, but Cavaday kept dictating play. Amanda Elliott
also really impressed me, winning two matches on Sunday and troubling Rezai the next day. I saw a small part of her match against Schultz-McCarthy
and she has an entertaining game, and isn't afraid to serve and volley which I like in a player. I hope she gets a wildcard to Wimbledon. I also found Naomi Broady
very striking. She has such an interesting game, with her one handed backhand and strong serve. She is also extremely attractive, and if she makes it big, she will have a large fanbase on tennisforum. After losing to Ruutel, she left the court crying and looking sad.
I also saw Elena Baltacha
walking around the venue several times and she looked pretty good
. I saw her once at Antwerp a few years ago, but now she looks to be more in shape and fitter in my opinion. I wasn't very impressed with Anna Fitzpatrick.
She lost to Melanie South
in straight sets and Anna didn't make much of an impression on me, I found her quite forgettable. Broady
impressed me more.
The British fans, including the infamous Mr Bean and Mr Clappy
A few days before I left, I was reading a thread about the infamous Mr Bean
and Mr Clappy
, possibly some of the most famous tennis fans on tennisforum.com, with that long popular thread about them and encounters. One of the first people I saw on Monday was Mr Bean.
My friends and I headed to the catering tent just past mid-day to get some coffee and I saw Mr Clappy there, wearing a straw cowboy hat
. And a few moments later, Mr Bean (what is his name actually?) stormed in and shouted out loudly “Who is Alla Kudryavtseva?” I also eavesdropped a bit on their conversation. Mr Clappy wants to see a Dechy vs Vaidisova final
, to which Mr. Bean exclaimed in his nasally voice “but Dechy is awful”
In general, I found the British fans some of the nicest out of all the tournaments I have been to, as I was queuing for my seat in Centre Court, I talked to a nice elderly lady who goes here every year, which was interesting and another fan I liked was an elderly man watching Yanina play. Every time she hit the ball he would comment on it “good!” or “good shot!” or “well done” or “excellent” or pretty much anything complimentary towards Yanina. It was really funny.
The crêpe Shop
It seems the favourite hangout for the players here in Birmingham, is the “crêpe” shop/wagon place, which I heard about before hand. During my two days there, I saw so many players waiting in line for crêpes. On Sunday, Michaella Krajicek
was lining up for one and today, after her loss Morita
had one, with a cup of coffee, obviously to drown her sorrows
, as did Rika Fujiwara, Aiko Nakamura and Chia-Jung Chuang.
My friends had told me how good they were, and although I don't like pancakes normally, I decided to try one and I can see why they are popular. As I was queuing, Sybille Bammer
was behind me and had the same one as me.
However, the funniest moment of the day was without a doubt while I was watching Wickmayer vs Fedossova.
walked past with not one, but two! crêpes in her hand and proceeded to taking a seat and watching the doubles match which featured the Bondarenko sisters. I saw her eating one, and she was holding the other in her hand. She was alone also, so I presume she was going to have the other one for herself also.
I have now given a bitt of gossip, so I decided to talk more about matches, which I guess interests some of you more. During the qualifying day, Ruutel
really impressed me. I think she will be a danger in the main draw and Wimbledon qualifying, she has a good game for Grass and I will be keeping an eye out for her name in the Grass tournaments. In her match against Broady, she was hitting the balls deep into the court. I was looking forward to watching Kops-Jones
as I heard she had a good game for grass. But unfortunately I arrived very late and by the time I found the courts, I only managed to see the last few points and wasn't how I expected her to be, she was pretty bland and couldn't do much against Gajdosova
who was playing really well, and serving very well also. From the small bit I saw of Schultz-McCarthy
against Elliott, it seemed Brenda's serve isn't as it was a few years ago at the Ordina Open, when I watched her beat Granville, so after seeing her play, I realised why she was getting poor results this year. I saw small parts of Morita vs Cirstea
and Ayumi was just terrible. She lacks any “oomph” in her shots and didn't even look that sad by her loss. To me, it was a really sad sight when you take into account that last year she made the 3rd round, defeating Sugiyama and Craybas en-route. She just didn't really look that sad by her loss also.
and something needs to be done, I think. She has now lost 7 or 8 consecutive matches and I didn't enjoy watching her at all, her beautiful double handed ground strokes were a mess, as was her serve. I saw the majority of Nakamura vs Obziler
and Aiko played very well, dictating play and being consistent with her two handed groundstrokes. Obziler was so bitchy and complained so much.
Aiko has had a few poor losses lately and had trouble closing out the sets and needed a lot of help to do so, but managed to, thanks to Obziler's errors. I am thinking that with more wins, Aiko will become more confident and won't have troule doing this. Aiko also had a really good attitude, she didn't get down on herself and seemed really focused on the match. Often pumping her fist and saying “Come on!” After losing the 1st set, 60, Olaru
took a bathroom break.
and I could hear her screaming and complaining from a different court. Wickmayer
really impressed me against Fedossova
. She was down a break in the second and was hitting the ball really hard. She also volleyed a few times, which is good in my opinion. I think Yanina will have a good grass season. Fedossova wasn't bad also, she got lots of Yanina's shots back, but made some errors at the crucial points. She has a pretty nice forehand also and I liked watching Fedossova. The doubles match with Chuang and Fujiwara
against Raymond and Stosur
was also good. I saw Raymond around several times on Sunday and it took me a while to realise who she was. She has put on some weight since last time I have seen her. Chia-Jung and Rika are a very good team and could go a long way in the doubles tournament, their two styles of play compliment each other well. All 4 of them are experienced doubles players, as I remember Fujiwara made the YEC in doubles quite some time ago, so the 4 players are all good doubles players and shouldn't have met in the first round. Chuang served well and was really strong from the baseline, whilst Rika was better at the net with some good finesse shots. The Taiwanese/Japanese pairing started slowly, down 1-4 or so, in the first set before levelling it and winning the set. I think the slow start was perhaps because they aren't used to playing together much. Stosur and Raymond were the weaker team and a shadow of their former self a few years ago when they pretty much dominated the doubles tour. I saw small parts of other matches also, such as Shvedova vs Amanmuradova, and Shvedova
seems to be serving well and had a good attitude, she was pumped and really wanted to win. I can't remember much. I should probably take a notebook and take notes.