07 March 2011

Day 6 at the Aussie Open: 22 January

Who would have thought a second round doubles match would be so dramatic?

There was no way I was starting Day 6 anywhere but watching Pico/Feli vs the Indian Express. To translate for non tennis obsessed fans, Argentine Juan Monaco (Pico) and Spanish Feliciano Lopez (Feli) were playing Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes of India. So much to say about these four but I'll restrict it to....Feli - the eyes! The thighs! The Jesus hair!

Okay, back to the tennis. The Indian team was playing its first Grand Slam since they mysteriously split up 10 years ago after a hugely successful partnership.

Even though we had front row seats, it was really hard to work out what was going on when all of a sudden Pico and Mahesh started having a heated discussion at the net and even the chair umpire got down to mediate. There ended up being a long argument at the net between all the players during a change of ends. I wish I could say we could hear what was going on, but sadly not.

Later, we learned that
Feli and Pico got peeved at Leander saying "vamos" to pump up himself up, and Pico took out his frustration by nailing a ball right at Paes (who got out of the way as the ball sailed long). In the press conference, Pico and Feli accused Paes of provoking them - something Paes is known for. "We were playing, match was quiet and one of the players (Paes), he was trying to provoke us all the time," Lopez said. "I know it's the style he's been using the past 20 years. But that's OK. Nothing else," he said.

When the match ended, Feli wouldn't shake Leander's hand while Pico ignored Mahesh. Then all four kept discussing the situation and it seemed like ages before the players stopped talking and left the court.

"It's hot out there, we're trying to beat each other," Bhupathi said. "A few unnecessary things were said. We just got into each other. Tried to raise the atmosphere. The crowd loved it. We got into it. I guess, they really had no reason to be as upset as they were." "We were up a set and a break. It was just a case of not being in a happy place because they were down a set and a break," Bhupathi said.

There's been a lot of discussion about ownership of the word "vamos" on court - I certainly think a player has a right to cheer in whatever language they want but clearly Paes bugged the crap out of normally well mannered Pico. Ah well - it's not often you'll see players have such an exchange in the middle of a match so it was rather exciting!
Some pics:

My only other match of the day was watching @rosie_emma45's fave player - Lithuanian Richard Berankis. Even though the youngster had taken out David Nalbandian (sob!) in the second round he was no match for 7th seed David Ferrer. One last loop around the courts to see Tomas Berdych warm up (failed to get his autograph) and then it was time for a relatively early departure from Melbourne Park.

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