The main reason I skipped out early on New Haven was to see L-Rob try to qualify. She had a great win over Dokic in the first round, and yesterday she took care of Vesna Manasieva in straight sets. I was sitting courtside at Court 7 and, despite my jokes to the contrary, was quietly cheering. Some clapping here, some "C'mon, Robbie" there, but for the most part, I kept my idiotic cheering tendencies in check.
So, a little bit of backstory. Laura and I go back a long way. And by that I mean we had gone back and forth on Twitter two months ago discussing The Cove and Inception. It was super random and I had no idea why she was responding to me, but hey, who am I to argue? So after she won yesterday I figured that it would be a bit rude not to try and introduce myself and just say hello.
So I made my way over to the gate after her match, stood by as people took pictures with her and whatnot, and as she started making her way back to the player's area, I jumped in with a "Hey, Laura? Hi. I'm the one who sent you those articles on Incep--" And before I could finish she looked at me with a glint of recognition and smiled. "I thought that was you." Apparently, her friend reads FD (Hi, Genie!) and told her to look out for a wee Asian girl who would be cheering her on. I walked with her for a bit, we chatted about something (I seriously I don't remember what), and then I excused myself, told her I'd be back tomorrow to cheer for her, and said goodbye. It was great, despite the fact that Robbie made it a point to remind me that I am old.
"I was trying not to cheer too loudly. I wanted to yell "Sweep The Leg, Robbie" but I didn't want it to get distracting."
"I have no idea what that means."
"Sweep the leg? From Karate Kid? The first one. Not the crappy fourth one you just watched."
"Ohhh. Haven't seen it."
Anyway. She was super nice and great and I'm running out of superlatives. A poised 16 year-old, that one.
So then today rolls around and I make my way to Court 4. Last year, Robbie was up 4-1 in the third on her way towards qualifying when she a bit of a meltdown and eventually lost the match. So here were were again. Robbie and the rather midgety Llagostera Vives, wily vet, split sets and L-Rob was up with an early break in the third at 3-1.
Sadly she would lose the next five games. That court fucking sucks.
But I had a blast watching her play these past two days. I love that lefty forehand and her little quips are worth the price of admission alone. She's snarky, self-deprecating, and entirely self-aware. My favorite was from today in a moment of frustration:
"Push, push, push, push, push, until somebody misses. And that's me."
It'll probably be another year until I get a chance to see Robbie play again. Here's hoping the USO organizers show some mercy and put her on any court not named Court 4.
Some video from Robbie's 2R match after the jump:
A little hop, skip, and a jump.
Robbie thinks she's served an ace to win the match.