All Tennis, All the Time
I was keeping my journal until I get back home. But since I decided I was done with Rome, I'll share it with you, dear TGamers.
day 1 Saturday May 11
Watching Qualifying matches and practice sessions. walking from court to court. Very nice day. So many people here.
jabeur vs Tormo
yafan Wang vs Hercog
golubic vs tatjana mallek
Zidantek vs [Italian WC] Steffani. wow, big crowd.. better crowd than Nishikori vs Kudla playing on adjacent court.
Italians love their girl. Steffanni is not bad. Decent top ITF player. Nice serve.. but DF at crucial moments. Went toe to toe with my girl Zidantek who hit some amazing winners. Glad I was there to see my girl LIVE.
Anisimova vs potapova --
Potapova is very pretty, way prettier than Anisimova. She's got a good first serve too, but the DF are a downer. Animova's returns are excellent. They put the opponent on the defensive right away.
Potapova couldn't keep up.. Inexperience is showing. Needs a good coach. She's got the basics.
Gavrilova vs Begu. LOL .. darling Gavrilova looks like someone just woke her up to go pick some oranges. And she's constantly pulling on her underwear like Nadal. Some nice shots here and there... but not a game I want to watch for long...
Mladenovic vs Fiona. Fiona looks like a 15-year HS kid. But she is fighting well. Not a bad player. Mladenovic has a nice shape. Could be a model. Very pretty despite the lack of boobs. She is glowing in that beautiful outfit. Looks more like she is wearing it for a photo shoot for an ad. Looks great in it. I walked down closer towards her end to take a closer look. Face looks like she is 40. But the body is top model. Maybe there is life after tennis.
Cornet vs Linette . Interesting. They both look like the girl next door. Match looks more like a practice session. No intensity.
Parmentier vs Ferrando. I like this ITF Ferrando. With good entourage, she could become a well known player. Game needs work ... but not bad.. She's got a nice game.
Kr.Pliskova vs Krunic .. I thought Pliskoka was a giant. But she doesn't look that intimidating. Maybe it's that dress. Not very complimenting. Looks more like a waitress who forgot to add the apron.
azarenka vs svitolina .. nice crowd in this stadium. Azaranka constantly calling ball is out. I think they are keeping scores. Vika's muscle not looking that firm. That's strange.
Her coach, how old is the Belgian dude? He looks so young like he is 23 or something. really... looks more like a college frat boy. Svitolina winning most rallies. She doesn't miss. Vika keeps hitting long or in the net. Nice practice though. Crowd enjoying it.
Next, ATP dudes... Ok I am out... moving to other courts.
Zhang Shuai vs Siniakova ... wow. On this small practice court, one can stand very close to the players. Zhang looks very pretty. Skin is darker than I have seen on TV. Both engaging in long rallies. Coaches interrupting for instructions. Nice practice.
Yamstreka practicing with coaches. hitting short winners cross-court. Looks like she is really focus.
I hear a big crowd. It's in the stadium. Walk in and it's Monfils practicing with Nishikori who played a match earlier. Big crowd. Didn't take 1 minute before I realized why the crowd was cheering loud. Monfils doing his stupid tricks. A volley.. he approaches... ready to hit but no... he drops the racket and hits the shot with his head like a soccer player. Crowd loving it. And there he goes again.. jumping and hitting the ball between the legs... And the crowd responds. Meanwhile, Nishikori sticks to tennis. I think Monfils is more interested in doing those tricks to please the crowd than getting serious about tennis. Lean and tall, he looks more like a European soccer player... more tricks ... Nishikori thinking what am I doing here? Let's play some tennis... lol lol.
And here is Svitolina again ... practicing with Merten. So morning practice with Azarenka, afternoon with Merten... Those girls play tennis all day on their day off? No wonder they are tired in 3rd sets.
2 girls practicing hard.. Can't recognize them.. I think one of them is Kenin or kayla Day??? not sure.
Barty practicing again Paolini who looks like she just turned 12. Very small girl trying to play power tennis but Barty is just too strong for her.
Very surprise here. I thought Barty was a big/fat girl.. but not at all... She looks just a normal size. Are my eyes betraying me or what? She walks funny.. thigh a bit big but she is not fat at all. Wow. I never pictured her this way. Girls looks in shape. no fat to burn. Again this is a small court so we can stand close to the players. Face look older than she is. But yeah, her body is fine!!!
actually very lean.
Who is playing here.. Huge crowd in this stadium surrounded by the statues. What do you call it already? forgot... But standing room only for Lajovic vs Bedene. Crowd really into it.. And they are both going after each other. looks more like a final. Very serious match. lol lol lol
walking away. see a bunch of kids with huge tennis balls, lined up.. something must be happening here. Oh I see. Players come and go to this building through here. Let's wait a few minutes. There comes an ATP dude. Kids call his name. He stops and takes a selfie with one kid... He thought he was going to sign something but the kid asked for a picture. OK no problem. Another kid hands him a ball to sign. Nope. he ignores him and walks away. Dad and kid look at me like 'did you see it?'. Kid not happy.
And there comes a young black player. Very handsome. Kids scream Felix, Felix.. Who is Felix? lol lol.. I am so bad at ATP stuff. He signs autographs after autographs.. take selfies.. But he has to go.. Kids still asking .. he moves on.
Walking away... I see some wta girls in the players rest area with couches and chairs on the grass... I can't recognize this girl playing with some guy's hair.. He is lying down, head in her laps... more like sleeping or resting... Don't know either of them.
Near by, I see a girl playing table tennis with her .. [coach]. I think I know here.. I know that face... yes, it's Sasnovich. Yup, it's her playing table tennis. Another girl is walking around them. she is on the phone. I think I have seen her play but can't put a name on her face. . Oh well ... bye girl.
And here is the Felix dude, practicing with Del Potro??? big crowd too.
So much to see here on day 1. It's really worth the ticket price. For tomorrow, I will do my homework: get the practice schedule. If I had it I would have seen more top players. They are scattered all over the courts. Venus practiced somewhere but I missed it. Won't miss a top WTA player practice session tomorrow.
If Serena or/and Osaka are practicing, I got to watch. Some people did their homework. I see why some practice courts are packed. ...
day 2 Sunday
Had the practice schedule ready to go see Serena, Osaka, etc ...
But too much rain in the morning. Very cloudy sky. Practices delayed ... Looks like there won't be much tennis today.
So trip to tennis site is cancelled. Will go site seeing despite this intermittent rain.
Sun is now really up. Still some cloud on one side... Heading to the coliseum.
This is nice. Sky is clear. So many tourists. People speaking lots of languages. The whole world is here. Very long lines to get inside. No time to wait 2 hours in line. Nope..
Now heading to the Vatican. But stupid rain is back. Got stuck in the subway for hours waiting for rain to stop.
Vatican was only 10 mn walk from the subway exit. Rain finally stopped and there I was, VIP of the pope.
Despite the bad weather, lots and lots of people. I heard someone say the rain was a blessing.. LOL LOL people are so stupid. What blessing? It's called rain. it goes and comes as it pleases.
Lots of people taking pictures, selfies, ... in the big center. First time showing up here. Very impressed. All this built manually centuries ago? Nice job.
Anyway, the sky was not looking good. Still, the line to get inside was heavy, long.. People won't stop at anything: rain, snow, wind, they'll get in line waiting... Sorry, got to head back to my hotel. It's about 3 PM and rain is around the corner.
Hey pope, save the potato salad dish for me. And Say Hello to GOD for me. Can you ask him to give the Italian Open trophy to Serena, please?. I came to the Vatican to ask but the rain got in the way. Thank you!!!
Needed to move to a different hotel to get closer to the tournament site.
By the time I checked out the old one and checked in the new place, it was too late for the earlier matches.
Got there in time for the Serena match. Luckily, the ATP match before her went 3 sets. It was this young Felix again. He lost to Coric. Watched the last set from 3-1 Coric.
Then here comes the Queen of Compton. She looks amazing, as they say in Hollywood. I like the outfit. Beautiful color coordination with her shoes. oh I like those shoes. Serena looks gorgeous. A+ in the presentation department. For once, the skirt is not too short and that ass doesn't look humongous. lol lol.
During warm-up, the serve didn't look good at all. Even the groundies were rusty. She was moving gingerly. I got a bit worried. Please don't lose to Peterson, I prayed.
Match started pretty boring kind of. Nothing spectacular until she was broken. Then she hit a couple of crowd-pleasers to break back right away. The returns were Serena-like in that game.
After that, it was a so and so match until the end. Couple of brilliant shots here and there but nothing extraordinary.
The post-match interview was weird. The lady journalist can barely speak English. She kept going with her Italian, trying to talk about Serena's life off the tennis court with the baby and stuff. It wasn't working at all. Then at some point, Serena answered a question in Italian. The crowd loved it and showed some appreciation. That was nice. No way I could say a sentence in Italian.
Next, I thought Venus match would be over and Azarenka should be playing in the other stadium.
On my way, what a crowd at the Pietrangely stadium, the stadium with the male statues showing off their hardware. .. It was standing room only. Such a huge crowd. Who was playing? Busta vs Sharapovalov.
These two must be popular. I had no idea. I didn't wait there though... I was going to Venus' match.
The ticketing scheme is weird. .... You pay this much and you can go here, there, but not over there... lol lol.. I said alright.. I don't care today, I want full access. lol lol lol. It was nice though.
Alright.. enough.. back to Venus.
The ATP match before her went 3-set. When I checked in, the guys were at 6-6 TB in the 2nd set. I thought "great. Let's finish this and get Venus in". But no. Kachaponov loses the TB after winning the first set. Dang. Now I got to sit here and watch an ATP full set? Nope. I'll be back. There are a couple WTA matches playing on the smaller courts.
So there I was, watching my girl Kuzmova taking on Errani.. Wonderful. Better this than the ATP derby.
The Italian crowd was so big as usual when their compatriots are playing. But Kuzmova had no mercy. She was in high power mode and there was nothing Errani could do. It was so brutal I had to leave and go watch darling Zidansek vs Tomljanovic playing near by. A pretty flat match. Both were playing a rather ok match.
Fine. I can't go back to Kuzmova because that's just not right to destroy Errani in front of a subdued home crowd. So I watched a bit more Zidansek, then headed back to Grand Stand for Venus.
The crowd got loud. I realized Khachanov's opponent is Italian. The crowd got brutal, booing Khachanov and stuff. I felt offended. lol lol lol. But Khachanov ended up winning. He taunted the angry crowd after the last point. They booed him even more. But I was glad he won. I never heard of this Italian guy Sonego. But looking at the crowd and the support he was getting, it was like Federer playing in his country. I mean the guy is barely top 60 as I checked his ranking on the scoreboard. So why was the crowd so excited and rude??? I don't get it. Both players were courteous to each other.
Ok.. Now comes Big Sis. Slightly limping. Something wrong with the right leg. Got a bandage on it.
I don't like watching Venus LIVE. I can't handle the drama. I prefer a replay or some highlights if she wins. My heart can't handle the drama. So why am I here? ... I am thinking,
"1/ OK .. if Mertens wins the first set, I am out of here.
2/ I am not watching a 3rd set. So Venus, do it in 2 sets if you want me to hand you some candy at the end of the match. "
Physically, Venus looks beautiful, lean, trim, and classy. She looks younger than her age too. One could easily say she is 28, 30 ...
Mertens doesn't look back. She is a fine lady as well.
Alright... let's move on to the real thing.
Warm-up: oh no Venus. Pushing the serves. Barely landing them; while Mertens looks sharp and ready. Venus barely walking between the shots. I am thinking "Oh well, better lose here than go beat Serena and lose the next match to a Qualifier".
Match starts. Venus to serve. And right away, she hits a DF. Yup, I saw that during the warm-up. Come on Venus, let's play some decent tennis, I prayed.
Match was pretty quiet. Crowd was polite, applauding point when the point was great. But remains silent on regular points. It was like watching Wimbledon crowd. ... Opportunities for both players. But opportunities missed. It was a so and so match...
Then, Mertens serving for the first set..... I am getting ready to leave once she does, as promised.
Surprise. Venus breaks.. and wins the set 7-5.
Alright... so I am staying for another set. It's getting a bit cold but fine.
Mertens win the 2nd set. It's time for me to leave. And so I walk out of the stadium, tired. Then I hear a voice. It's Sekasi saying "what's wrong with you? You are going to let Venus hang dry out there? You go always to Rome and you can't root for her for one more set? Dude, what's your problem?" lol lol lol
I smile. Stop. and turn around, back to the stadium. lol lol.. true story.
Lots of nice seats available. OK ... Sekasi is right. So Miss Vee, let's make this set quick.
1-1 40-0, Mertens serving. I am thinking this gonna go down quick. Venus a little tired. But somehow, she breaks the young Belgians from 40-0. Venus moves up quickly to 3-1. Alright... 5-1 Venus, up 2 breaks..
Great, this is gonna be over quickly. ... Thanks God.
But wait. Not so fast.... 2-5, 3-5... crowd getting into it.. some want Venus to close it out. Other folks cheering for Mertens.
What the heck, Venus???? 4-5, 5-5.. Twice Venus served for the match. But she was so exhausted. I don't know where she finds the energy to keep going.
She breaks again and will serve for it at 6-5, one more time. But she is quickly down 0-40. She is broken. TB .. 6-6. wow.
Now I am thinking "Sekasi, see why I was leaving after that 2nd set? This is what I didn't want to endure. lol lol ... exactly this. Why did you force me to stay?
For the first time, I became vocal, shouting "Let's Do It Venus... Come on, you can do this !!!!" The 2 Italian guys next to me were rooting for Venus too. this was making it easier to be more vocal. They too had become vocal. lol lol. One said, boy, she can barely walk... Yeah, both players are tired, but Venus more than Mertens who keeps hitting and hitting big power shots. The two going after each other like there is no tomorrow.
Venus wins the TB. The stadium erupts. What a match !!!
Ball kids rushed right behind Venus's seat for some autographs. Venus thanks the crowd, grabs her bag... doesn't even look at the kids and walks away with an official escorting her. No post-match on-court interview. Nothing. If she had an option to get off that court on a stretcher, she would have selected it.
It was 8 pm already. I had already given up on the next match featuring Azarenka.
What a day !!!
I am not coming back tomorrow. Venus exhausted me. I need a break too. .
See you on Day 5!!!
Getting ready to go watch the Williams sister derby. Checking the court assignment and ... what? Serena is out.
Oh well. What other matches are scheduled? ... Nothing exciting. So, I won't bother. It will be another day for Ace2Ace, the tourist.
In fact, I think I am done with tennis.
Not interested in watching Venus vs Sloane. (I might change my mind but I think I am done).
Probably get on the train to go spend a day in another city. .. and so on... there is so much to see here I love it. The architecture is amazing. I could go around Rome every day and take pictures and I wouldn't be tired of it after a year. . Every building, the statues, the decoration, .... How did they do all this without computers or sophisticated machines and tools????
Enter any church and the decoration is just out of this world.
The food is amazing. It doesn't matter what you order, it's excellent. And I have barely seen any overweight person.. In fact I have encountered any, despite the fact that there are restaurants and eateries everywhere you look. lol lol
Everyone MUST visit Rome at least once. It's an amazing place.
Thinking of going to Wimbledon.
If you ever go to Wimbledon, let me know in time. I am quite often in he UK, and a meet-and-great with the Great Ace would be on my agenda. Even if it is only for a coffee
Italy has indeed some magnificent cities, even small ones that are really worth visiting. If you ever end up close to Pisa, ten don''t go to Pisa (bad architecture over there; even the towers start to lean over and are about to collapse) but go to Lucca (10 km north of Pisa). And if you get that far, then add Bologna to your list.
"Never argue with an idiot - they take you down to their level and then beat you on experience"
"Don't wrestle with a pig: you both get dirty, but the pig actually likes it"
What a fun read! Thanks Ace
I wish I had time to write something similar in Madrid but my daily activities kept me way too busy from early mornings to late nights. Caja Mágica sucks you in, makes you fall in love with her and spits you out. My 10 beautiful days of tennis ended way too fast. But as the saying goes, next year more and better - ¡El año que viene, más y mejor!
yeah. Just take notes on your phone while going around. Much easier to add details later at the hotel.
thanks. Curiously, I had never heard that name before. He looks young. Unlike Monfils, he is pretty serious on court.
Yeah, you have to make it one day. So much history.
it's been raining. A light continuous rain. That's not preventing locals and tourists to stroll down the streets, umbrellas in hand. I was one of them. Rain or shine, this place is so tourists friendly. Loving it.
lo, OMG, Ace2Ace, you have definitely made my day with this blog. I have been laughing through it all. Your refusal to know anything about the ATP
I owe you for sitting through Venus' 3 hour match on clay. You should prepare for Wimbledon, Serena has already moved on