24 June 2013

Wimbledon, Day 1

Wow.

There is a lot to comprehend from day 1, but as I woke up before 5am to join the queue for a ground's pass today I don't have the brain power to write nor the energy to stay up any longer.

2013 marks my second visit to Wimbledon, and she's pretty special.

Here are a few photos from today's action:

The queue

Fundraising tugging at our tennis fandom

Nearing the fun part of the queue

Hi Serena

Nearly in!

Pretty grass

Got close to Fed

Glad I saw Rafa practice at least!


Rafa and mate Pico




Ferrer and Raonic

Happy Ana Ivanovic

Tsonga and some ominous clouds

Goffin

Tsonga

See you tomorrow!

20 June 2013

Wednesday's action in Eastbourne

View of practice courts
I'm a day late, but I blame lack of wifi in my hotel room and being quite sunburnt. Yes, Eastbourne was very sunny and hot yesterday!

I luckily got the train out just as play was being delayed this morning by rain and it looked to be a pretty miserable day of matches with misty sludgy looking skies. Glad play was completed.

My third and final full day in Eastbourne was wonderful, despite my most anticipated match being cancelled when Marion Bartoli withdrew with an illness. So I didn't get to see Li Na play which was a bummer, but I had a front row seat on Court 1 for Sam Stosur vs Lucie Safarova, then later borrowed a mate's amazing front row at the net seat on Centre Court for Caroline Wozniacki vs Laura Robson.
Li Na in practice

Wow, being in the UK watching a British player was a new experience. I fully understand the Brit wish for tennis champions and I'm sure the support a home player gets has pros and cons but I felt quite bad for Laura. She's young, still a bit green but clearly talented and the crowd truly lived and breathed with each shot she made.  If Laura double faulted, or hit a wild error the crowd groans were just unreal. I can't imagine how much pressure she feels to do well when performing in front of them. It was a relatively tight battle 6-4 6-4, but Laura got broken in both sets at 4-4 and both games included at least one double fault.

Here are some other photos from Wednesday - I'm writing this blog from Essex and I'm enjoying a few days off before I head for Wimbledon next week. I'm hoping to do at least three days there depending on queueing.

VIew of court 2



Lucie Safarova

What a beautiful sky for Stosur vs Safarova

Lucie is pumped

Not Sam's day

Jamie Hampton

Fabio Fognini

Maria Kirilenko

Bernard Tomic

Yanina Wickmayer defeats Petra Kvitova

Caroline Wozniacki

Court 2 crammed with fans

Ekaterina Makarova

Laura Robson

Woz wins

Kerber loses, but still signs autographs

Thank you Eastbourne!


18 June 2013

Tuesday's action in Eastbourne


Two full days of tennis in, an we have only had a slight rain delay. I approve, Eastbourne.

A few tips if you ever attend this wonderful tourney - don't expect to find outlets anywhere on site, and bring cash! But, the bar around the corner from Devonshire Park is a great option to charge up a bit (thanks for the tip Courtney). 

As a big WTAer, today's action for me was again primarily the ladies. I started with Angelique Kerber vs Sorana Cirstea. This was a tight match, tho Kerber started off with a quick lead playing very well, then Sorana started hitting better. Man she cracks a low, fast ball but her errors can be pretty off. Kerber definitely played the role of defense today and it was a good match with some fun rallies. 

A match I was really looking forward to was Sam Stosur vs Nadia Petrova. Well, I shouldn't have bothered. I watched most of the first set and then I left to go recharge my phone. What a disappointing result, especially on grass which is so not Sam's best surface. Oh Nadia.

I upgraded again to Court 1 today only really so I could see Jamie Hampton vs Agnieszka Radwanska and that match did not disappoint. I really like Hampton's game and I think this was my first time seeing her live. I thought Aga looked a bit out of sorts and she netted a lot of shots. Jamie hits hard but also showed off a lot of variety today. She was flawless on her smashes and the crowd seemed very impressed with her game. The win was Jamie's first top 5 win and I am excited to continue following her this season. 

As for the boys, I enjoyed Feliciano Lopez vs Jarkko Niemenen in the battle of the lefties. Jarkko has a great arsenal, but Feli on grass is tough despite his fall in the rankings lately. Feli toughed out two tiebreakers to advance. He was amusing - didn't even see him acknowledge the crowd and then as he left the court I saw him be totally swarmed by school kids.

One word of warning if you ever come to Eastbourne - the schoolkids are everywhere. It's great that they get the chance to come to the tennis but all I see if them running about, eating and chasing tennis players for autographs. Win or lose, on way to the court or off, the kids just race after the players. It may not bother them much but it's quite the scene!

I have a center court ticket tomorrow but the OOP is rather stale. I'll start with Li Na vs Marion Bartoli on Court 1 (my fave court here) and may go into center for Caroline Wozniacki vs Laura Robson. Wednesday is likely my last day here as I need a few off days before Wimbledon.

Here are a few other photos from today:

Tomic practicing

Sorana Cirstea

Giles Simon training

Kerber gets a few requests after her win

Blondie practicing

Feli beats Jarkko

Feli is swarmed by little people

Kerber beating Niculescu

Nadia being Nadia

Sam 

Aga losing to Hampton

Lovely Eastbourne

Went for a walk before dinner - lovely night