Despite the LA tournament organizers trying their best to make this the most annoying tourney ever, I had a blast attending the tournament. It really could have sucked. The night before I was set to take off, both Dina and Ana lost, the latter being unsurprising and the former being, well, possibly a game changer. I mean, I was shelling out $500 to *not* see Dinara? What the fuck?
But it all proved to be worth it. Despite the 8 dollar beers, prohibition on bringing in outside food or drink (though that didn't stop *some* people), and getting yelled at for bringing in a camera with a lens longer than 3 inches, it was so great to be in the sun and watch tennis. But what made it awesome was the great company of Victoria, Katie, and Tracy, and the great matchups and high quality tennis (uh...let's ignore the hell that was the two hour Masha/Ula clusterfuck).
Highlights after the jump.
- Seeing Sam's serve up close. Seriously you guys, it'll make you gasp. The kick, the motion, the power. It's like nothing else on tour.
- Seeing Flavia play so well. I love that I got to see her play three times and in each instance she played so contained and really dictated play. Can't wait to see if she can keep it going through the USO. There's no reason she can't make the quarters there.
- Seeing Charlie on the court shagging balls for Maria.
- Catching my first post-match signed ball from who else? FLAVA FLAV!
- Hearing from Victoria that apparently the Adidas coaches call Caro and Sorana "Sunshine and Sugar".
- The WTA montage that ran before each match, scored to Pink's "So What". It was really well done, unintentionally hilarious, and a whole bunch of awesome. If we were walking around the stadium and heard it start up we ran to watch it. I hope they post it at some point.
- How awesome is Flavia? So awesome that for most of the tournament she played with shoes that still had clay on them.
- Speaking of kicks, have you seen Sam's new ones? Want.
- Getting a smile and a wave from Sam after the final.
- Victoria cheering on Lynn whenever she correctly overruled a line call.
- Seeing Cliffy. I was very tempted to stop him to ask for life advice.
- Seeing Yuri. I was not at all tempted to stop him to ask for life advice.
- Flavia calling her own lines against Masha.
- Seeing Maria and Bepa "interact" together on the practice court. Vera totally got along with Mike Joyce and Yuri, and Maria totally got along with anything other than Vera. Download the video here.
- Being called out by other fans in our section for being schizophrenic in my rooting tendencies during the Maria/Flavia match. Why can't I just cheer for whoever's on my side at the time? Sheesh.
- Seeing Sam and a "friend" on the practice courts.
- Seeing Aga's family repeatedly start a slow clap that the crowd picked up on against Maria. And Aga having none of it.
- Pimmy sprinting around the stands and awkwardly climbing over barriers to get interviews. Aga's reaction when Pam slid next to her to ask for an interview, according to Victoria: "Who is this crazy lady and why is she asking me for an interview?"
- MaKiri's English has gotten so much better. And she has a mad girl crush on Aga. It's a little embarrassing.
- Corina's awesome fashion show. Girl was working it. Corina and Pam provided quite a bit of entertainment throughout the weekend.
- Seeing Maria fired up. I really think that "Allez up your fucking ass!" moment at RG08 was a watershed moment. That, combined with her long layoff has brought back a really firey Maria. She's much more demonstrative on the court, no doubt because she's had to fight more than she's ever had to, match after match. But considering the biggest reason I'm a Maria fan is her fight, it's really fun and nice for me to watch.
- Hearing Sam say "shit". I'm simple like that.
- Hearing Flavia say "Oh, Flavi, no," which I then sarcastically said everytime she hit a ridiculous winner against Sam. Which is to say, I said it a lot.
- Watching Katie slowly but surely fall in love with Sam and her amazing "Fore-Cep" over the course of two days.
- Exchange of the weekend:
Tracy: Wait. You're rooting for Maria?
Me: (sheepishly) Yeah.
Tracy: To WIN???
Victoria: The match?
So fun was had by all. It's always great to watch live tennis and as much of a loner as I am (and really, I don't mind at all going to tournaments by myself) it's even better when you're with friends. So if you get the chance, grab some buddies and pile into a car or plane and get thee to a tourney, people. It's fun times and even when it sucks (*cough*Mash/Ula*cough*) it's still a bunch of laughs. And once again, a huge heartfelt thanks to LaWanda for the tickets. I might not have gone otherwise.
And oh yeah...there *is* one more story. But I'll get to that in a bit....