Okay, first of all...WHAT IS WITH PEOPLE? Are they all crazy? Have they never read Catcher in the Rye? Are most people robots that follow the rules and never question so-called authority?
More on this later, I better get to the tennis.
Today was sweltering and I have no idea how anybody played in this intense, humid heat. It was 93 and according to the news it was the hottest day in March in Miami, EVER. So just imagine the hottest day you can recall and double it.
First up on the stadium was my comeback queen, Miss Jennifer Capriati. Jen was up against a Russian newcomer named Anastassia*Rodionova. Never heard of her? Neither had I. But the girl has game. Give her a few years and she'll have name. Jennifer played spotty in the first set. She was very inconsistent and should have pulled out the first set 6-3. Instead she was down 5-6, but pulled through in a tie break. In the second set Jen raised the level of her play and starting connecting with some fierce forehands. At times Jen looked like she was ready to wrestle the top spot away from S+V. She went up 5-1 and Rodionova was only able to pull out one more game, 6-2 for Jen. I felt Jennifer's serve was improved. She was hitting it with pace and placement and only doubled about 3 times. Jen nailed at least four aces and her average serve speed must have been near 100. Also she seemed to be taking her time between points and not rushing through her service. Another note, the person sitting next to me said, "Do you see the outline of her belly?" We were in the nosebleeds and it was apparent Jen has a little Madonna Lucky Star belly. She was moving very well, so perhaps it is not a problem. I hope she gets back to her spring 2001 form. Oh Stefano was there in all his portly glory and Steven (hottie) and Denise as well.
After Miss Jen, Andre and Chang took the stage. This was Chang's swan song so I was hoping for a close match. Michael actually played very well. He must have hit at least 5 aces (what!!??). The truth is, everything Chang does, Andre does better. Andre is actually faster than Chang now. It was over quick, praise the lord, 6-4,6-2. Honestly I was a bit bored and dripping sweat and spent half the time looking for Steffi in the stands. it was so hot I imagine she was in an air conditioned sky box.
I was not volunteering until the night session so I blew off Justine H-H, to go home and take a shower and clean off the unlimited layers of greasy sunscreen that had accumulated during the day. When I returned at 6pm, it was time for venus and Asagoe. Luckily I was now comfortably ushering the fabulous box seats, so I got a good look at Venus. The first thing that hits you is the legs that go on forever. She is like a greyhound! Her power is overwhelming and she kept drawing oohs and awes from the crowd. Listen, you have to see her power in person and up close to get a true feel for how fast her ball is traveling. I am not going to even mention Asagoe, cause this match was a foregone conclusion and everyone knew it. Venus needs to work on her serve though, i swear she hit about 6 or 7 doubles. Eeek.
Guga and Thomas Enqvist were next up. I had never seen Guga in person and I was quite excited to see him in Miami where I knew the South American fans would go crazy for him. They did, but guga did not deliver. He was oddly flat and lethargic. Enqvist played well but Guga never really showed up. I think the match was over in about 70 mins. 3 + 4 and what a bore.
I thought my volunteer duties were over and then they announced that Mark Philippoussis + Fernando Gonzalez would be playing on the stadium instead of the grandstand due to the length of the Mauresmo match. Yay. I wanted to see the fab Scud Stud up close and I enjoy Fernando Gonzalez's game as well. Also they were going to let the general admission ticket holders come down to the box seats at 10 pm so i knew it was going to be a fun, rowdy South American crowd.
This was the match of the night. The first set was amazing tennis from both talented players. This was a very clean match. I have not seen the stats but I bet both players had more winers than errors and they were playing rough and tumble, high risk tennis. has Philippoussis been working on his groundies? Cause he was ripping 'em, even when pulled out wide. His serve is something to behold, but he wasn't just a one trick pony in this match. He moved well and held his own during the baseline slugfests.
Gonzalez rocked as well, and even though the crowd was firmly behind him he came up on the short end, 7-6, 6-4.
Okay now the complaining!
Like I said before, the general admission ticket holders were supposed to be allowed into the box seats after 10 pm. Since Guga ended around 9:30 and Phillipousis was moved over to the stadium at 9:45 people started piling in. The usher that I was working with didn't want to let the poor people in at 9:50 because he felt we would get in 'trouble'. UGH!
He was a nervous wreck and freaking out. C'mon, tennis is a lovely GAME and people want to enjoy it. Cut the elitest crap and let them have fun. Seeing a great match close up and it should not just be reserved for the priviledged and wealthy...jeez.
After the matches were over I was riding the shuttle back to the parking lot and some old bag from the south (a fellow usher) was complaining very loudly about all the noisy South American riff-raff that came into the box seats after 10pm. I thought, my god...that made it so much more exciting. Who cares about the corporate jerks that know nothing about tennis who sit and get drunk in the box seats and talk on their cell phones non-stop. I guess that lady felt those people were better than the South Americans and rowdy young people. What do they think? tennis players are so delicate that can't handle the crowd? don't they watch the US Open night matches. Jeez, get a life and lighten up, losers!