Friday, August 31, 2018

Tennis Week 2018 - surviving the drought (part three)

Wednesday, back we went to the tennis center.  We were excited because the new Louis Armstrong stadium was going to be dedicated.  I was afraid it would be even more packed than usual on the grounds, but it wasn't too bad.  They actually started checking bags and letting people go through the metal detectors a little early, though the gates didn't open until exactly 10am.  I told Mom it was too bad they didn't the gate opening like they do at  Disney, with songs and characters.  I would've appreciated some sort of tennis song and a guy dressed up as a tennis ball.  Oh well.

We went straight to Armstrong to get a good seat near the back and on the aisle.  There's a nice breeze in the stadium when you're in the back and an aisle seat (near the ladies room) is always a good idea for me.  We had about an hour to wait before the ceremonies began, but it was nice to relax there.  They did a little rehearsing of the upcoming ceremony, which was fun.  I'll try to attach a video somewhere.  When they finally started, it was nice to hear from Katrina Adams, John McEnroe, David Dinkins and Wynton Marsalis, along with a gent who actually knew Louis Armstrong!  There was music and dancing kids, then we saw a bit of an exhibition doubles match between John & Patrick McEnroe versus James Blake/Michael Chang.  Mom and I would've enjoyed that match a great deal if we hadn't been sitting in front of one of the most obnoxious men in the world.  He knew everything, about everything, and he had to tell everyone in the loudest voice about his know-everythingness.  We couldn't take it anymore, so we left after the first set and went to watch a match.

I decided I wanted to watch the match featuring Marco Trungelliti from Argentina.  If you follow tennis at all, you may remember Trungelliti's name from the French Open.  He's the player who had to drive all night from Spain because a space opened up in the draw.  If he could make it back to Paris by a certain time, he could be in the tournament.  He drove all night with his brother and grandmother, documenting their trip on social media all the way.  He then happened to win his first round match, and won more money in that one match than he had won all year!  It was a sweet story and he was adorable when all the news outlets interviewed him.  I was happy to watch him play.  His opponent was Daniel Gimeno-Traver from Spain.  He's been ranked in the top 50 before and he's on the comeback trail.  Oh, and I want to mention something else: there has been controversy at the Open this year because a female tennis player was given a code violation for changing her shirt on court.  Which is ridiculous, because men do it all the time.  But at this men's qualifying match, I saw something I had never seen before: Gimeno-Traver changed his SHORTS on court.  He was sitting, and it was casual, but still.  He changed his shorts with no mention of a violation of any kind.  Sexism at its best.  OK.  Moving on.

This match wasn't very good at first - neither guy could hold serve.  But it became a good match, plus it was shady in our seats, so we actually stayed for the whole thing.  I enjoyed watching Trungelliti play - he's got some good shots and a bit of joie de vivre around him, so it was fun.  He finally won the third set and we were happy.  I was starting to feel the first twinges of being a little unwell, though, for some reason.  Unfortunately, it would get worse.  Before that, though, Mom and I went to check out another veteran on the comeback trail - Ivo Karlovic from Croatia.  Ivo is nearly seven feet tall with a huge serve.  If I recall correctly, he may have the most aces ever hit in a career.  Though I may be remembering incorrectly.  Anyway, we watched a few games of his match - boy, is he tall!  And is his serve big!  That's about all I got from the match.  Because his limbs are so long, his game is rather ungainly, but he gets the job done.  We then decided to head to Louis Armstrong one more time before heading home.  We watched former champ Marin Cilic practice.  The practice started oddly - he sort of stood there while a guy was taking photos, then he did some sort of weird running drill.  I don't know, maybe it was for his clothing sponsor?  It was just really odd.  Then once his coach stood in front of him, tossing balls at Cilic to hit (also looked odd), we decided to leave.

My unwellness only increased and overnight it got worse.  All I wanted to do the next day (Thursday) was stay in bed, but since there would be no water in my apartment (and therefore no bathroom, if you're understanding my subtext), I tried to use a new app where you can rent a hotel room just for the daytime.  Unfortunately, all of the hotels in my area denied my request to stay there.  I guess they were all filled with tennis fans.  So my mom and I did the dumbest thing imaginable - we went back to the mall.  There are seats there, air conditioning, and lots of bathrooms.  So, yes, we went to the mall and spent the day of unwellness.  So dumb.  But my mom and I made the best of it.  We even went to the new location of her favorite diner: when we got off the subway and walked past it, this time I looked at the sign on the door, which had the address of the new location.  It was only a few blocks from the old location, so we went there.  My mom got some soup, I got some toast, and it was fine.  What a vacation.

Friday, I sucked it up and we went back to the tennis.  Mom and I have watched American Donald Young many times over the years and he was playing first up on our Court 11, so we went right over there.  He has a nice game, but I don't know, his career has just never come together.  He's got talent, but I guess that's not enough.  He's 29 years old already, which isn't old, but I think he turned pro at 15.  Anyway, we enjoyed watching the first set of the match - even though he lost control of his lead, he came back to win the set.  Mom and I were really hot from sitting in the sun, though, so we went off to the Grandstand, where there's shade, and we watched Americans John Isner and Mackenzie McDonald practice.  They were practicing very energetically and it was pleasant to watch them.  I did run over to see Tommy Roberdo and Nicolas Mahut, though.  I wanted to see their third round match, but it was packed and the sun was so hot.  After a day of unwellness, I was still feeling a little weak, so I only watched a few games.  They were great fun, though.  I wished both of them could win!  When I went back to meet Mom (she had stayed to watch the practice), we stayed a little longer to watch Richard Gasquet again.  Then we decided to just head back to my apartment, hoping the stupid construction could be done for the day.  All in all, it was a grand Tennis Week, though getting up so early every day to beat the water turn-off got really old!  Fingers crossed that will never happen again!  And now I'm already counting the minutes until Tennis Week next year...

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