It took me about an hour to get to the site today, primarily because I had to wait for a tram that never came. I've been reassured that tram service will get better once the Open starts. Here's hoping.
But just as I dropped my stuff off in the media center an announcement came that Sam was doing press somewhere. That's an easy sell. So I grabbed my stuff and headed out, but instead of being escorted to the main press room, we were led outside to Grand Slam Oval, a virtual village full of entertainment stages, food halls, and general "I need to take a break from the tennis" goodness. At least it *will* be that. Today it just looked a deserted Smurf village. They sure do love that AO True Blue.
Sam was on-hand to "open" the ANZ 40 degree tent and do a short presser. In case you're not in Australia, you can thank ANZ for every single one of the gazillion Sam Stosur posters that are hanging all over Melbourne. The other night I was in Flinders Street Station and looked up to see 100 Sam Stosur banners. Heaven? Yes. Sympathy Stress? Absolutely.
Sam came out and "opened" the tent by smacking her racquet through a block of ice. I'm pretty sure she was just as amused about the relative absurdity of it all as me. Unfortunately it happened so fast and before I knew what she was doing she had done it [/thatswhatshesaid]. I'm sure there's video of it, though.
The ANZ tent is actually pretty dope. Not only is it CRAZY air conditioned to 17 degrees (let's see if that holds up over the course of the week), but there's a photo booth where you can get your picture taken to look like you're on court with Sam, and an interactive 3D Wall where you can serve against Sam and have a chance to win tickets to the Women's. Don't worry. I'm totally on that picture business. SOUVENIR.
Sam took some time to demonstrate the 3D wall and it was hilarity. Basically her 3D avatar kept telling her either she sucked ("My Nan can serve harder than that!") or that she had potential ("Keep that up and you might get a wildcard next year.") You can imagine how hard I was laughing while trying to maintain journalistic integritous composure.
Tried and failed.
(Pics: Forty Deuce)