So did I mention I went to Queens on Tuesday? I did?
In my defence, this was the first live tennis I’d actually been to since Wimbledon 2007 and I was totally over-excited – so much so that I forgot to bring a camera and was reduced to using my phone camera. So I apologise for the bad quality of the photos, but they’re mainly to prove I’m not making all of this up … I was also for most of the day one or more of the following: stressed, hysterical, shy, over-stimulated, drunk, drunker and very drunk. So don’t expect any quality stalkage or match analysis either.
One of the reasons I was so stressed was that I didn’t actually know which tickets I was going to have until I got there, which made it difficult to plan ahead. As it happened, they were Centre Court tickets and not half bad:
We sat here to watch all of Boss-Grosjean – although sadly the Big John had to retire – the second set of Roddick-Vliegen and bits of Monfils-Golubev. Tiny bits. Roddick-Vliegen was OK; A-Rod is such a fun player to watch, diving and rolling and all sorts, and Vliegen was playing to the crowd a little. Roddick does let the crowd bother him though; several times he turned and motioned the section of seats where I and Tennis Neophyte Friend were sitting to be quiet. I hope it didn’t have anything to do with me trying to explain the scoring system to TNF in a stage whisper. A drunk stage whisper (we’d had a couple of beers by this point).
The best/worst thing about these seats is that we were directly opposite the balcony outside the players’ lounge/whatever, which filled up with random as the day progressed, but during JCF-Grosjean was like a voyeur’s paradise. I saw Marat stomping past a couple of times; Grigor Dimitrov (who is striking even from that distance) with Lundgren; Gabashvili play-hugging Lopez, who was wearing an idiotic red hat and returned to watch Ferrero a little later; Paul-Henri Mathieu watching the whole thing – I thought to support Grosjean, but possibly to check out Ferrero, his next-round opponent. (Obviously he should have paid more attention). Oh, and John Lloyd and BBC sexpot Andrew Castle wandering back and forth.
We also spent quite a bit of time in the car park outside Court 1. There’s a spot where you can watch one end of the court:
It’s also a great place for player-spotting as they all come and go. At various stages I saw British no-hoper James Ward (he once took a set off Marat Safin, you know), Sam Querrey (who is ENORMOUS), Ivo Karlovic (who kindly took a picture with me and my friend, who asked him to stoop down: he said “I never do that”), and Gael Monfils waiting for a car at the end of the day. Robby Ginepri stood watching Fish for a good five minutes before anyone asked him for a photo (which I took for a nice Japanese girl).
Gael, his friends and his enormous clown feet. Love him.
There’s also Court 9, which we never actually sat on, but did stop in to watch at various points and from various angles; on the other side of Court 10, we watched some of Koellerer-Benneteau, at least until Koellerer shouted in a frightening manner in our general direction.
Maybe he wanted his ball back …
Speaking of balls, we also took in some Court 9 action from the other side, stepping out from the tunnel to watch a little Darcis-Capdeville (I never actually saw Capdeville, but there was some loud swearing coming from the other end which I assume was him). A ball actually came off Darcis’ frame and hit me, so I promptly hid it in my handbag and looked innocent when he came looking for it:
I steal your ball, Steve Darcis. I STEAL IT AWAY.
Just along from this bit, there’s a tiny gap in the curtains you can use to spy on the practice courts while you’re trying to get through the crowds to the bar. I took full advantage of said gap to perv on Marat and Grigor Dimitrov, who were hitting together on the top practice court, to the best of my ability.
Grigor’s striking, even from a distance …
Marat. He missed one forehand and threw his racquet. I’m serious.
You see where those people are standing to watch? This was the scene of my first meeting with TW’s Rachael. I nipped down to see who was there and suddenly found an embarrassment of riches: Gael Monfils hitting on the far left …
Unidentified ass in foreground.
Hutchins and some other people on the near left …
Now this I know to be Hutchins ass.
On the right court nearest to us, Frederico Gil and Andreas Seppi were both hitting with, er, people we didn’t recognise (Seppi’s hitting partner, who was hot, has been tentatively identified as Colin Fleming), while on the far right court, Murray was hitting with Gilles Simon.
Seppi, Gil, Murray.
In fact, Rachael and I were standing in the only free spot (actually IN the entrance to the court), so at various points Daniel Nestor, the Bryan brothers, Hutchins, Gil, Baghdatis and Mahut literally had to squeeze past one or both of us. I felt a little sorry for them, actually. It must suck to have to fight your way through crowds of fans ooh-ing and cooing at Murray and completely oblivious to you. (Rachael and I knew who they were, of course. But we were pretending to be cool. Actually, Rachael was just being cool.)
It had an odd sequel, actually. As Murray was leaving the court, everybody rushed up to the other end of the alley to get a picture. We decided (being, as aforesaid, cool) to stay where we were, wait for Seppi to finish and get Rachael a picture with him. However, our plans were frustrated by the fact that he blatantly saw us waiting and chose to leave a different way.
But just as we were lamenting this fact, Murray came down the path towards us with the security guards holding all the people who’d rushed up to see him. We were literally blocking the path, and the upshot was that I took a picture of him with Rachael … who hates him. She’ll tell you he was grumpy about it, I think he was quite nice. I will say that he is quite a specimen in person. Seriously, he’s hot.
After this, TNF and I got a little distracted by being given press passes and access to a free bar (NEVER give me access to a free bar), so tennis viewing from that point on was sporadic at best, I’ll be honest. However, we did race out when we got a text from Rachael, telling us that Cilic’s doubles with Ljubicic had been moved to Court 10 – which you can get right next to.
He was adorably serious and grumpy about the whole thing. I fell in love. More in love. Also, he isn’t quite as skinny as he looks on teevee, and he has a nice stomach. A *really* nice stomach, even if he’s crap at doubles …
There were only about 20 people watching, it was a nice way to finish off the day. Well, finish off the tennis-watching part of it and get back to the free bar, anyway …