Thankfully, the bus stop nearest my hotel was the first stop, so there was room for me to sit. The bus got awfully crowded and it wasn't exactly an express bus, since it stopped a few more times between the first stop and the United Center. But that's ok, I enjoyed my seated ride. It took about a half hour to get there via the bus, but I got there in plenty of time for the first match, which was German Alexander Zverev vs American John Isner. I am a big fan of Zverev and a less-big fan of Isner. I've watched Isner play live a few times - he is a hard player to get behind, in my opinion. His game is pretty dull and he has such a flat affect on the court. Plus, when things aren't going his way, he gets down so easily. I get that he's probably trying to conserve energy throughout a match, but he just lumbers around. And I have to admit that I don't agree with his philosophy that I must root for him since he's American and I'm American. Which is a silly reason NOT to root for someone, but there you have it. He was pretty pumped up for this match, though.
|photo credit: Ben Solomon/Laver Cup website|
The second match was my darling Roger vs a non-darling, Aussie Nick Kyrgios. I think I've mentioned before that I don't enjoy Kyrgios either. Antics are just not my thing. Anyway, I think Kyrgios expended far too much energy cheering on Isner in the previous match and he had no energy for his own match. Plus, Roger was playing vintage tennis. I have to admit I got teary at one point - it was like time had stopped and Roger was again playing a perfect match. It was glorious. He won his match easily and that made me ever so happy. Oh, I should also mention, if you followed social media about the Laver Cup, apparently there was a dustup with the chair umpire. Kyrgios and Team World captain John McEnroe apparently behaved badly. Of course that happened during the bathroom break I had to take. Grrrr. I couldn't believe I missed it. Oh well. Another funny bit: my seat neighbor in front of me was streaming a baseball game, so I'm guessing he missed it, too.
After that match was over, the day session was ended, so I went back out to the Fan Zone to find a seat and sit in the sun. It was definitely more crowded that the day before, but I finally found a seat at a table with a whole family and me. I just looked at my phone and minded my own business. It was a pleasant hour or so. After that, I stood in line to get in for the night session. I wanted to be able to buy another overpriced bottle of water and use the ladies room before the match started.
The first match of the night session featured my nemesis Novak Djokovic vs Kevin Anderson. I was not-so-secretly rooting for Anderson, though part of me wanted Djokovic to win to make it easier for my Roger (and his team) to win. I do enjoy Kevin Anderson - he seems like a really nice, level-headed guy, and he also seems to work very hard to get the absolute most out of his talent. I appreciate that, as opposed to someone like Kyrgios, who doesn't seem to care that he's talented or put in the work required. Just my impression. Moving on. Djokovic was definitely low-energy and pretty muted and couldn't make any inroads into Anderson's game. He did finally break Anderson at the end of the second set to take it, but then couldn't get any more momentum in the ten-point match tiebreak. Anderson just seemed to want the win that.much.more. It was a good match, everything considered, but I don't think Djokovic was having a great day.
Even though a doubles match was scheduled after that match, I skipped out early. It was already 10pm and I didn't want to get back to the hotel so late. I knew where the bus stop was this time, but I discovered that the express bus only runs after the night session ends. I didn't want to stand around for an hour, waiting for it, and the local bus wasn't showing up either, so I ended up sharing a cab with a gal from Houston who was also going to a hotel in my area. So it was good to split the cab fare and she was nice to chat with. I was grateful to get to sleep a little earlier because watching all that tennis is exhausting, lol. Oh, Team World won that doubles match I missed.
Sunday, I again woke up a little early, but I mainly puttered around my room before heading out to the Twisted Spoke to have brunch with another Chicago friend. I again got a very friendly chatty cabbie and he didn't want to let me out of the cab until he was sure the Twisted Spoke was open, since it rather looks like a dive bar. Once he established it was ok for me to get out, I went inside. It's a pretty cool-looking dive bar, with lots of chrome and a huge liquor cabinet. When my friend arrived, we sat and chatted and ordered some brunch. I just got a breakfast sandwich and my friend ordered delicious-looking chilaquiles. We had a very nice brunch and chat and then I was grateful that she gave me a ride to the United Center.
Note to self: next time I go to the Laver Cup, I will stay an extra night so I don't have to leave early during the final day. The Sunday day session started an hour early and there were four matches on the docket, to see who would win the Laver Cup. At the start of Sunday, either Team Europe had to win two matches to win the Cup or Team World had to win three of four. So exciting stuff was in store. Of course, I had to leave before the second match was even over to make sure I got to the airport on time. Thank heavens the matches were being streamed on Amazon Prime. I will talk more about this later.
The first match was a doubles match with Team Europe's Sasha Zverev/Roger Federer vs Team World's John Isner/Jack Sock. Obviously, I was thrilled to watch Sasha and Roger on the same team. They played really well together and won the first set rather easily, but their lack of doubles experience came into play at the end of the second set during the tiebreak, which Team World took. Sock really played well at the net and Sasha started missing. Sasha and Roger were up in the ten-point match tiebreak, but then Isner/Sock roared back and ended up winning. Grrrrr. Now Team World was in the lead and the first team to win two matches would win the Cup.
Surprisingly, Roger came right back out to play Isner in a singles match. It was a pretty exciting match, with Isner playing out of his head and his bro teammates just cheering their heads off. Isner won the first set tiebreak and sadly, I had to leave. I had to get back to the hotel, pick up my suitcase, and then head to the airport. When I got my stuff and got into a cab, I immediately put on my headphones and watched the rest of the Roger/Isner match on my phone. Roger clawed his way back to win the second set in the tiebreak and then the ten-point match tiebreak went back and forth as well. My cab driver couldn't figure out what was wrong with me - I finally told him I was watching the tennis. He said, oh, the World vs Europe I've been hearing about? Since he had heard about the tournament, we chatted about it and high-fived when Roger finally came back to win. I can't believe I wasn't there to see it in person!!! But I was so happy he won.
|from the internet|
I'm ever so glad I went to Chicago to experience Laver Cup and I would love to be able to afford to go next year when it's in Geneva, Switzerland. The matches were all really exciting to watch and it was great to see so many top players in one place. Seeing so much of my Roger was an absolute delight. But I'm sure that trip (in Roger's home country!) will be out of my reach and not even signs from above will help me afford THAT much travel. But at least I'll always have Chicago...