More tidbits from our embedded reporter, who continues to risk it all in the name of love, cougars, and monkeys:
- I drove a player that I still can't identify. He said he played yesterday, he's half French/half Persian, lives in Paris, kind of looks like Adrian Grenier. He told me about how hard it is to be a pro tennis player if you're not at the top. He's practiced 6 hours a day, every day of the week for 14 years and still has to crash at a friend's house in LA while top players stay at fancy hotels. Really nice guy, wish I knew who he was.
- John Isner came in through the back to watch the Sampras vs. Safin exo. I stopped him for a picture, which he was happy to do, then got totally reprimanded by the volunteer coordinator. Apparently we're not supposed to ask for pictures or autographs while in uniform, which seems lame. At that point I felt like since I'd already gotten to meet Marat, Spades and Marcos, I was willing to risk getting "fired" to have my cougar moment with Isner.
- I got to watch the 2nd set and tiebreaker for the Safin/Consumption vs. Baghdatis/Sela match. It totally looked like B/S were going to win, then S/C held off a few match points and all of a sudden they won. Kunistyn told me they're playing the Bryans on Thursday.
- Then, the best part: I got to take Marat, Kunitsyn, some blonde Russian girl (Consumption's girlfriend? Very sweet girl) and a trainer back to their hotel around midnight. Marat sat up front with me. When I dropped them off, I asked if he would sign something for me and he said "Yeah, of course!" I handed him the photo and he did a double take and said, "Oh!" Then he took a long time signing it. I know it says "THANK U!!!" but can't read what's under it. I also told him I will be in the stands tonight cheering for him and he might remember the cheers from Indian Wells. He laughed.
See the now legendary autographed pic after the jump. It is the definition of "win".