Wednesday in Miami Report
Today was my first day of volunteering as an usher for the box seats in the stadium. When I arrived at the tennis park I ran straight to the practice courts and there were El-Annoyui and Sebastian Grosjean having a nice sweaty hit in the sweltering South Florida humidity. El-Annoyui and Grosjean are such opposites; one's short, one's very tall, one is a scrapper, the other all power. They looked to be having fun and El-Annoyui always has a smile on his face. He is deceptively quick, with those long skinny legs. I got a few pics...see attached.
After watching El-Annoyui/Grosjean I ran to the other practice courts and low and behold, Marat Safin was just finishing up and he walked right passed me. He is v. v. tall. He only signs autographs while briskly moving forward. they all do, otherwise a crowd gathers and they are stuck. Then all of a sudden freaky Marcello Rios storms by and this 45 year old woman runs after him asking for his autograph. He is such a jerk. He flat out said NO! and kept walking. I was embarrassed for the woman who was chasing him, but she was laughing at the whole thing.
By 2pm it was time to report to the crowded volunteer tent. I got there and felt like a spring chicken. The average age of ushers is at least 70! How these older people can stand on their feet for 5 hours in the miami sun/heat/humidity is beyond me. I almost passed out and I do cardio every day. Eeek. They all seem very sweet but jeez, I felt like I was in an episode of the Golden Girls.
Okay, what is with the crazy a-hole spectators that show up to a f*cking tennis tournament wearing actual tennis clothes. Like, are they crazy? It is humiliating. There was one old broad in my section that was wearing the shortest tennis skirt (I think it was old Chris Evert Ellese from the mid eighties) and tennis tank and I swear I coulda died! Hello.
As for the matches. I started my shift as Todd Martin was huffing and puffing to a 6-4, 6-4 win over Mariano Zabelta. I feltTodd was a sure goner, but Mariano hit everything out. Okay i am being too hard on old Toddy, he actually looked & moved very well.
Next up was Svetlana Kuznetsova & Virginia Ruano Pascual. I was semi excited to see Ruano Pascual, as I love her delicate slice backhand, but she played like she did not want to be there. Kuznetsova is someone to watch out for. Often times she was up 40-0 or 40-15 and she would let Virginia back into the game before finally closing it out. She hits a nice flat ball. Kuznetsova won 6-3 6-2, and it was pretty ho-hum.
Pretty boy Jean-Claude Van Gambill was up next in his black socks and shoes. He played Stefan Koubek and looked to be headed back to the bars in South Beach before you could bat a (heavily mascared) eyelash. 6-2 was the score, first set for Koubek.
Luckily it was time for my break so i headed over to the practice courts and got a glimpse of all time great(est) Martina Navratilova practicing. MN looks absolutely amazing. her body is f*cking timeless. She is fitter than Andre!
On my way back to the stadium I saw Ashley Harkleroad hanging in the outdoor players lounge with some man, or, er woman. Is she still in the tourney?
When i got back Jean-Claude had turned up the heat and it actually became a good match. Winners were flying off his racket left and right. Or is it right and left...I can't tell cause he is double handed on both sides. I think this impairs his progress up the rankings. If he is pulled wide he has to resort to a one handed forehand , and like Seles, it seems awkward and pedestrian. After several aces and a few volley winners Gambill won 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
It was my cue to hit the road. i could have stayed for the night matches but they didn't sound too exciting. Besides it was very hot and I think I was a little ripe after sweating like a pig all afternoon.
Tomorrow I work the night matches...Yay, Keifer and Kournikova. Chang's swansong.
Last edited by Mark43; Mar 20th, 2003 at 02:47 PM.