I got a late start at going to the tourney yesterday (Psychology class
) I finally got there at 1:30 and went to the practice courts. Stefan Koubek was practising with Jarkko Nieminen and some other dude. On the next court Murray was drillin' Vincent Spadea and on the far court Jamea Jackson was lookin' like a beast on her backhand DTL. I got some pretty good shots of Jarkko and shot to vids of him serving and playing. There were a lot of people watching the practising yesterday. I tried to get and auto from Jarkko, but he must've seen me and went the opposite way
I'LL GET YOU JARKKY!!!
Anyway, when Murray got done, he signed autographs for us and got TOTALLY SWARMED. The Japanese kids were all over him like white on rice
He was like, "Look, I'll sign them all just calm down
" They were ALL OVER HIM. I got a pic of the m3$$. After a few of them scattered, I ran up and he signed my shirt. Andy is so nice. He stayed and signed all the autos while his coack (Brad Gilbert) just ran off
I saw Spadea trying to go around the back so I headed him off and he gave me an auto. I told him that I liked his "rhymes"
His coach had a real laugh at that. I must say, Spadea should really reconsider the long hair and choice of clothing from Wal-mart's fall collection
Oh another note, Andy's serve and groundstrokes are very powerful to come from such a small racquet. He was really pushing Vincent when they were practising.
I kept going and waited for Jackson to finish practising. She was working the backhand like a beast and also tuning up the serve. She jumps really high on the serve and doesn't seem to get much zip on it . I'd really like to see her whack a few. I waited for her for a grip and when she finally came, I said, "Jamea, girl that FedCup win was off the chain!" And she had a good laugh. Such a nice girl and she has a darling of a voice. I took a pic with her (it was kinda dark so I turned on the flash to catch both of us
) and she jogged off drenched in sweat.
On a tucked away court, Schruff was practising her serve and Sugiyama had a crowd of Japanese people watching her serve too. Julia's serve doesn't have much juice on it, but I think her technique is...well....CUTE!!!
I got a pic of her jumping up to hit a serve and she looks absolutely cute. Also Craybas was practising her groundstrokes and getting down and dirty with it
For real, it looks like she gets down real low for her shots. Apparently they then moved Sugiyama to a more obvious practice court and she worked on her serve more there. Her coach/(mom?) was trying to show her something about her hip motion and I snapped a pic that looks like Ai's doing the hokey-pokey. Ai is another complete cutie. Very photogenic.
Next I made my way to the practice courts in the very back and saw Jidkova practising with the girl who Pin took out in qualies day 2. Nothing spectacular there. Ginepri was nearby practising with some other dude and was looking really good on the serve...groundstrokes though were....
Robbie kept looking at me like, "What is a black guy doing here???" Afterwards he and his entourage were leaving and it looked like they were trying to avoid me
I asked for an autograph and I could've sworn I heard his whole entourage say, "NO!"
Robbie stopped while they kept walking and signed me and some Japanese guy
I wish him luck and he left
On to another practice court, Molik was steadily drillin' her coach. Seriously, she was mixing up the serve, coming in, and routinely acing the guy. At one point the coach stopped and said, "Bitch!
" I damned near fell out my seat
Molik has a rather stalky gait to her walk and has a very sexy grunt to her shots. The forehand was looking so good and she was driving through the backhand as well as coming over the top
Lots of variety on the backhand. A couple of the volleys were lackluster, but she kept coming in and hit a very deep, penetrating ones. They were having a really good time until Alicia came in for a short ball and twisted her foot and fell to the court
My heart literally stopped as she rolled around in pain
She got back up though and walked it off for a few seconds and got right back into practice. She said she was okay; I really hope so. After the practice, I took and pic with Alicia and she signed my shirt. I really like her voice and her legs are so fit and predliciously gorgeous.
What next...oh, I ate for a bit and finally realized that I hadn't even gone into the stadium. So I went over and caught the last of the Kirilenko/Morigami match from the nosebleed seats
I must say, it was sad to see Maria let this one get away, but awesome to see Akiko play her heart out in front of her home crowd. Maria was up 5-4 and I yelled, "Come on Maria at 30-30," but she couldn't get it together. Akiko worked her way up to 6-5 and hit some amazing shots to get there. Nothing to great, but a lot of heart was put into every shot. Actually, the point to get to 6-5 was a really long rally. Akiko scrambled for a forehand cross-court and yelled so loud and you could hear the desperation in her voice. The shot ended up being piercing as it crossed the net, and Maria couldn't do much with it when she got to it (dumped a forehand into the bottom of the net). The crowd was ecstatic from there. . As the 6-5 game progressed, it was apparent that Akiko didn't want to play a tiebreak and hoped to close it out at 7-5, but Marie hit an inside-out forehand that caught the outside of the line to get to 30-30 and Akiko stopped and was jumping up and down, "OUT!!! NO, NO, NO!!!! OUT" It was a cute sight, but she was all too serious. In the tiebreak, Maria really fell apart and Akiko easily closed it out. Great job Morigami.