So my first full day at the [Wait, It A Bank? A Mortgage Company? In The Southwest?] Open kicked off with a little bit of Ernie action. I was actually watching Rafa when I saw some puff of hair bopping along on the court behind him. Sure enough, some Latvian homeless man had jumped the fence to go for a light hit with Mischa.
Just a quick note about the tournament venue: It's awesome. I really really mean that and I've been to my share of big and small tourneys. The event is really well-organized, the staff have been more than friendly, and the grounds are spacious enough so that you don't feel overwhelmed by crowds, but small enough so that you can walk them without packing a lunch. We'll see if this assessment holds up as crowds grow over the week but right now, I'm impressed. This has the potential to be an amazing joint event next year.
After Ernie/Rafa, it was off to sit with my good buddy DonkeyGrooming to watch a shirtless Fernando practice for nearly two hours. It actually ended up being pretty fun.
He was in a pissy mood for most of his practice session but started to lighten up in the last 20 minutes, chatting with the crowd, trash talking with his hitting partner, and trying to catch returns in his pocket.
A smiley Fernando is the best kind of Fernando. Now if only we can get him to cut that damn hair.
In the end, the two hours of FerWatching was worth it. Not only was he looking fine he also stopped for a picture with DG. And I must say, the picture is awesome. He's smiling, she's smiling, everyone was happy.
Except for me. I needed some shade (though I have to give a shout out to the weather gods because it was damn near perfect today compared to the searing heat and humidity of yesterday), some spaghetti topped with chili, cheese, and onions, and a beer. OH YES, A BEER.
I did sneak off for a few minutes of Fernando's tan-fest to catch me some Gilles. And once again, I was reminded how much I adore him. Uh...please ignore that evil blue blob in the background. I sure did.
Unfortuntately, because of my much needed 45 minutes of cool down, this is all that I saw of Pico today. He to de Bakker. Here's hoping he sticks around and hits the practice courts tomorrow. I promise I'll be on it.
Then it was off to see some Ferru, who had his hands full with the always confusing Alexander Dolgopolov. First of all, Dolgo's got really bad subcutaneous acne. I'm sorry, I don't like talking about it, but it's relevant insofar as I find him really difficult to watch. And for whatever reason it actually looks worse in person. Second, he's got a crazy serve that is literally a "throw it up and hit it hard" motion that clocks him 115-120mph. I have no idea how he gets that power with such limited motion.
A-Rod's playing right now. Um...we all know how I feel about that. I'm going back to the hotel and getting my drank on.
Tomorrow's OOP looks awesome: Gilles and Jeremy in action, PHM/BigBerd, Reeshie/Mischa, Llodra/Benneteau, and Feli/Fer doubles. Oh, and Nalby vs. Lubey on Grandstand tomorrow. STOKED.