Confession: I love Stanford. I'm not talking about the tournament. I'm talking about the university. See, when I was a kid my parents didn't have a lot of money. So they had to come up with cheap ways to entertain my kid sister and I on the weekends. This mainly involved the four of us piling into our green Volkswagon bus and going on road trips. When I was nine years old we visited Stanford for the first time. It was the first university or college I had ever visited and I thought it was the absolute coolest thing. We biked around the campus, visited the Rodin Sculpture Garden, went into Memorial Church, and I absolutely fell in love. I ended up doing a California history report on the school in fifth grade, would go to sports camps here in middle school and high school, and drive an hour and fifteen minutes on a school night to see a Stanford Women's Volleyball game or basketball game. Hell, in high school I would drive to Stanford and study at the library.
It's pathetic, I know.
All his is to say, given my love for the school, I'm kind of predisposed to absolutely blow sunshine up this tournament's ass. The minute I hopped out of my car and smelled the eucalyptus in the air, I had a stupid grin on my face.
So with that in mind, here's my report after Day 1 of Qualies:
- Had a bit of panic attack when I was directed to the "credential" office, gave my name and was told it wasn't on the list. "Uh...hold on, let me pull up the confirmation email on my phone." After fumbling with my stupid iPhone for 5 minutes, the woman finally said "Are you media?" "Yes." "Oh, that's a different office." PHEW! I walked down to the media center, picked up my pass, and settled in.
- You can request workspace at the tournament and I, surprisingly, had been given a spot. In the front row. This would be awesome except that as I unpacked my laptop I realized that there's no way I can ask a question at the pressers. Because if I do, the players will look in my direction and see the "I Am Not An Asian Tourist" sticker on my laptop. And to add insult to injury, two weeks ago I put a Hello Kitty sticker on it. So yeah...SILENCE.
- Everyone in the media center was super nice. And they read Forty Deuce. I was mortified.
- Packed up my shit and headed to see what was going on the practice courts. To my pleasant surprise (read: SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!) Ana and Makiri were practicing next to Lena and Dinara. I only got to see 10 minutes of Dinara's practice but she was crushing it. Lena's still using that abbreviated service motion. Ana's toss was ALL OVER THE PLACE and she was visibly frustrated. MaKiri was...MaKiri.
- Kleybs practiced shirtless. Shahar had her right thigh taped.
- Mono was set to the drawring at 1pm. We all know how that turned out. One funny moment: When it came time to draw her first round opponent, the tournament supervisor called out the number, and the supervisor in charge of matching the numbers to players said "Roger Federer." Mono giggled like a school girl and said "That would be perfect." She knows this isn't wasn't a drawing for Match.com, right?
- After the draw was done they opened up the floor for questions. "Any questions for Marion?" Crickets. Sorry. I just couldn't bring myself to ask her the burning question on everyone's mind: "So...what's your deal?"
- Went to lunch with Love All at Cheesecake Factory. Ironically, mind you. I can report with certainty that their "smaller" lunch portions are still larger than any dinner I have ever had.
- Came back on the grounds and was informed that I missed Dinara practicing next to Domi. Spent 30 minutes in the bathroom crying, obviously. But I must thank the kind gentleman who did a dramatic reenactment of Zeljko's behavior during the session. Let's just say it involved a lot of crossed-arms, standing akimbo, and stoicism, mixed with a touch of sneaky glances over at Dinara. SHE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU! Get over it!
- Sam was back on the practice courts so I stood and watched her entire practice session from ground level. Had a lovely chat with my new favorite Bank of the West Classic usher, Donald about life, love, and other mysteries.
- Once Sam was done it was pretty quiet on the grounds so I headed back to the media center. It's quite fun just sitting in there and talking to other journos and tournament people. I'm just not used to being surrounded by knowledgeable tennis people. It's fun to just pick up on little factoids and tidbits that you don't know. Quite intimidating as well. All I have to offer is, "Um...I want to have sex with Andy Murray." It's not really a conversation starter.
- Sat there and blogged for a bit, enjoying my free Sierra Mist, when Chris, who is blogging for On The Baseline this week, leaned forward and said the following magic words: "Sharapova's on Center." With those words we both quickly packed up our stuff and headed over. Sure enough, Masha was there. That was a nice coda to the day.
So Day 1 is in the books and it was a huge success. Mainly because I didn't make a fool of myself. Well, except for that whole Ana/Kleybs business.
Can't wait for tomorrow. More qualies, more practice, a Dinara/Jay-Z photo op on the Stanford Campus, and All-Access Hour.
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