06 March 2013

Up close with Serena and Rafa in NYC!

Tennis fans are the best.

This has been proven to me over and over again and I try to pay it forward as well. I've been given French Open tickets from fellow fans. I've been loaned Arthur Ashe tickets to see my faves play from a fellow fan. Another has sent me a bag of Sugarpova signed by Miss Sharapova herself. Seriously. The. Best.

So this week, I was in NYC for a few days to see the BNP Paribas Showdown with Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin Del Potro and Victoria Azarenka. What a tasty lineup that was way back in October when I got my tickets. I figured by the time March came around perhaps one of these big names would have pulled out (after going to Rafa-less Cincy and the US Open I kept my expectations low), but nope all four were there at Madison Square Garden!

This exhibition was the sole reason I went to NYC and thanks to a few lovely tennis fan friends I ended up in a hotel in Manhattan the morning of the exhibition STANDING NEXT TO SERENA AND THEN RAFA AND GETTING PHOTOS WITH BOTH!

Breathe.

This was just the pinnacle of my tennis fandom to date. I've probably spent 100 days at various tennis tournaments in my life and I've always been shy around players. I have rarely asked for photos or autographs - it usually takes a bit of encouragement from people around me for do either and it just hasn't happened too often.

But get a few more assertive tennis fans friends with me and things happen!

Wise friends knew Serena, Rafa, Del Potro and Vika would be in a hotel doing some pre-event press. So a few lovely ladies went there to check it out and my other friend and I got a text that the players had gone into the hotel. We arrived at the hotel, and literally seconds later Serena was in the hallway with her sister Isha and her agent. She was on the phone and I was content just to admire from afar. No sooner had I started to tweet "OMG I am standing right by Serena!") my friend went up to Isha and asked if we could get a photo. Sandy waves me over and as soon as Serena is off the phone we posed and voila! I may have told her I loved her and that she was amazing. I honestly can't remember. Whatever I said, she said "thank you that's so nice!". It was over and I could exhale, tear up and start shaking. So overjoyed!

No sooner had that happened that Mr Rafael Nadal came around the corner. I think Jeanna had asked if he could pose for a few pics (I was still stunned from my Serena moment) and then he was coming toward us and I asked for a pic. I got a huge smile and a 'sure'. I know I told him I was happy he was back and possibly again that I loved him. What can I say? All four of us got a photo and floated on air the rest of the day. I might still be airborne actually.

Will blog about the MSG exhibition tomorrow - complete with pics!


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