Same stuff I already posted at GM.
For the ATP tournament:
Wandered around the premises a bit. Our fearsome #1 Frederico Gil was hard at work, grunting and topspinning away (man has never hit a flat shot in his life) in the practice courts, which probably means he'll play Sunday.
Up to Centralito. On the stands, a Portuguese coach was upbraiding a teary eyed player who must have been Neuza Silva, but stopped when Lucho Horna, who was passing by smirking and munching an apple, mumbled a comment on the scene to his own coach - a mixed event in a nutshell.
This was my first picture of the afternoon:
Talk about striking gold.
I went to watch Horna's practice session for a while. During a pause, his coach, who looked like one of those old Roman senators you see in films, greeted me politely, displaying that old fashioned courtesy Latin Americans still do so well.
On practice courts at the end of the corridor where I took Kirilenko's photo were several teams of girls who seemed quite poor ball strikers. I was thinking that those misogynists who go on about how women's practice sessions are an embarrassment compared to the men's might have a point, but then Kirilenko was joined by Benesova, they began hitting, and the honour of women's tennis was saved. Benesova's strokes look very quick and compact from up close, and Kirilenko's volleying is a treat. Her BH seems a mess though. Couldn't get a photo of Benesova because there was no gap on the wire fence. They were eventually forced to move out to make room for some kids and for a while shared the court with two French speaking women who seemed absolutely inept. One of them kind of looked like Kremer, but played a 1 handed BH. Her hitting partner was hopeless.
This year's qualies are total scrubsville, so I had no idea who most of the people on the practice courts were.
But I think this woman was there; either her or somebody else with a stocking up her left leg as well:
She was in Budapest too - I got these photos at the tournament website. Any idea who she is? Her hitting partner was absolutely gorgeous. Svelte ponytailed blonde wearing an appropriate "I Feel Pretty" tee, built much like Azarenka, great legs, but somewhat shorter and with a cuter face. Any idea who she might be? (Having looked it up, I suspect it might have been Olivia Sanchez).
Two Spanish speaking clowns were goofin' around on Court 4, and next to it I noticed Poutchkova. She looks somewhat like a Mannerist madonna, with her proportionally small head over a large body (kind of like the opposite of Nuria Llagostera Vives). Her clean, flat, powerful hitting is wonderful to watch, and of course absolutely useless on this surface. I suspect first round crash against some moonballer.
That one was taken by her coach, so don't blame me for the flash of light.
Tursunov injured himself in practice nearby and left limping soon after I took these.
There was this French coach, a left handed, wiry middle aged man with a high pitched voice who talked and talked and talked and talked to his seemingly bored and uninterested (and with good reason) pupil, who seemed to be everywhere.
Then finally I risked my life to take these:
And The Man himself:
Their practice was highly scientific. Daddy stands at the net throwing balls at Aravane for her to whack as if she's trying to kill them, Mommy goes around picking up aforementioned balls. Rinse and repeat. Aravane's footwork is astonishingly rudimentary.