I had the good fortune (and a good credit card limit) to attend 10 tennis tournaments in 2011. I can't quite explain how it happened, but this year I went to:
1) ASB Classic, Auckland (three days)
2) Heineken Open, Auckland (five days)
3) Australian Open, Melbourne (13 days)
4) French Open, Paris (two days)
5) AEGON Championships (Queens), London (two days)
6) AEGON International, Eastbourne (three days)
7) Wimbledon (two days)
8) US Open (eight days)
9) ATP World Tour Finals (three days)
10) Davis Cup Final (three days)
So that makes 44 days of 2011 I spent watching tennis (minus a fair few rain delays) - blows my mind. That's a long time spent sitting watching a little yellow ball. I think it will take some time to get some perspective about just how amazing a year this has been, but here are some of my best and worst live tennis experiences for the year:
Best match: Women - Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Francesca Schiavona, Australian Open
No contest. I didn't leave my seat for the entire match and pinched myself many times during this match - so amazing to be there. Top quality, top fight, top drama. My recap.
Best match: Men - Rafael Nadal vs Juan Martin Del Potro, Davis Cup Final
The conditions for this match to be a thriller were ideal: Rafa could clinch the Davis Cup for Spain in Spain and the crowd was freaking loud and passionate. A magical, dramatic match. I'm still buzzing. My recap. My pics.
Worst match: Women - Venus Williams vs Andrea Petkovic, Australian Open
I hadn't seen Venus play live since the Beijing Olympics and I was so excited - I knew she was injured but was hoping for the best, as was she. It was awful - Venus couldn't move and lost the first seven points before pulling out. The crowd booed, a lot. It was awful. My recap.
Worst match: Men - Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer, World Tour Final
What a bust - so much expectation and the only positive was that it was quick. My recap.
Other highs and lows:
- Saddest match that ended the chance for the Rafa Slam: Rafa Nadal vs David Ferrer, Australian Open
- Most boring match that I had to walk away from: Gael Monfils vs Stan Wawrinka, Australian Open
- Match that made me cry with joy: Serena Williams vs Tsvetana Pironkova, Eastbourne
- Match that made me want to shove a tennis ball down the crowd's throat: Serena Williams vs Vera Zvonereva, Eastbourne
- Most bizarre match that had an injury time out called when player was two points from losing the match: Fabio Fognini vs Albert Montanes, French Open
- Match that made me smile the most because my least favourite WTAer ever lost to one of my faves: Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Justine Henin, Australian Open
- Match interrupted the most by rain: Andy Murray vs Xavier Malisse, Queens
- Best match cut off due to fading darkness because the matches start too late: David Ferrer vs Gael Monfils, French Open
- Match in which the start time was most delayed by a player who then retired in the match: Victoria Azarenka vs Marion Bartoli, Eastbourne
- Most dramatic match watched from such high seats in Arthur Ashe Stadium that I'm still not sure who won: Maria Sharapova vs Flavia Pennetta, US Open
- Best match watched on a big screen close to a water fountain so you can drown yourself instead of watching one of your favourite players go brain dead on court: Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Caroline Wozniacki, US Open.
Wow - what a great year of tennis!