On Friday last week I went to Wimbledon again!
The weather was fortunately much better than on Tuesday, when I didn't see Amélie's match due to the rain
managed to miss her practice session too!!
. As Amélie was on Court 2 this time I didn't have to be there quite so early, so I got in the queue at 5am!! By 10am I was in possession of my front row Court 2 ticket!!
As soon as they opened the grounds I headed to the practice courts to see who was there!! After half an hour or so, I spotted Amélie at the end of the terrace at the Aorangi Pavilion. Amélie waited around for a few minutes and then went down the steps to the practice courts, but went onto one of the practice courts that you can't see from the public area.
Drat, no luck again!!
So I went back up to where people wait for the players to come in and out of their practice sessions; there's always a big crowd of people there hoping for autographs and photos. At the front of the crowd there were a couple of ladies with photos they had taken in previous years that they were trying to get signed. Whenever a player came past they were asking 'Who's that?' and then calling out their name, with varying reactions from the players!!
Some came over and signed a few autographs and smiled (eg. Tim & Greg), some came over but looked a bit uneasy (eg. Sylvia Farina Elia and Igor Andreev) and some totally ignored everyone (eg. Maria Sharapova!!
) Anyway, the two ladies had a photo of Amélie that they wanted to get signed, and after about half an hour on the practice court, Amélie appeared and walked back along the terrace of the pavillion. The two ladies starting calling out 'Amélieeee!! Amélieeee!!' to her!!
Amélie came over to the crowd smiling (and looking like she found the situation quite amusing!!
) Then she signed quite a few autographs and walked off towards the 'Henman Hill' picnic area and 'big T.V. screen', through the crowd!!
(sorry about the lovely litter bin in this pic!!
Amélie's match was second up on Court Two after Andy Roddick. I hadn't seen Jennifer Hopkins play before, but she has a good serve and goes for her shots. It was quite close at first and it seemed like Jennifer was pretty much matching Amélie in the rallies. Then at about 2/2 in the first set it seemed to me like Amélie decided to go forward a lot more, and as soon as she did that, she began to take control of the match!!
Of course it was great to see Amélie play 'live' again, and especially on grass, because I think she has a great natural grasscourt game when she goes forward and volleys!!
I don't know what the match stats were but I hope she can improve her 1st serve % as the tournament goes on!!
Later in the afternoon I was watching Ai Sugiyama play Marion Bartoli on an outside court. It was really sunny and I was feeling very tired after getting up at 2.30am!!
I was thinking that after the match I must go and get a cup of coffee!!
But during the second set I started thinking that I should go up to the practice courts again to see who was there. After the match I set off; almost stopped for a coffee on the way there, but decided to go to the practice courts first. As I approached the Aorangi Pavilion and practice court area, I could see a large queue at the 'Autograph Island'. (Actually, it's not an 'island' at all - it's a tent!!
) Basically, three or four players do an 'Autograph signing' each day, but you usually don't know who will be there; the officials just put up a notice shortly before it starts. I couldn't see who's name was on the notice, so walked a bit closer; then I could: 'Amélie Mauresmo - 4.15pm'.
I looked at my watch:
it was exactly 4.15pm!!
What a stroke of good luck
(I was so glad that I had postponed stopping for that coffee!!
) Well, as I had already got an autograph signed by Amélie at the Open Gaz de France earlier this year, I decided not to queue for another, but to take some photos instead!!
As you can see from the pics, Amélie smiles at everyone
and seems to enjoy doing 'autograph signings'. One girl tripped over the platform that Amélie was on as she went up, and Amélie just laughed, but in such a way (ie. 'laughed with her' not 'at her') that the girl didn't need to feel embarressed about tripping
. After about 15 minutes, the LTA Official that had accompanied Amélie said 'That's it folks, we have to have a cut off point.' and put the barrier across so that no-one else could go up and Amélie could leave. But Amélie came out of the tent to the barrier and signed lots more autographs for people, and was still signing as she walked back to the Aorangi Pavilion!!
Needless to say, after the excitement, I abandoned thoughts of a cup of coffee, and decided that I needed a large Pimms instead.....