There I was, minding my own business, watching my emo boyfriend practice with a crowd of maaaaaaybe six people. It was thoroughly enjoyable. So enjoyable that I actually pulled a nearby chair next to the fence, took a load off and started chatting with an absolutely adorable 84 year old couple about life, love, and tennis.
All of a sudden I hear the sound of people running towards our court and the high-pitched squeals of "RAFA! RAFA! RAFA!" Um...I'm under no pretenses that my pasty vampire looks anything like Rafa. But as kid after kid came sprinting over and literally slamming themselves into the fence to get a prime spot, it was clear that Rafa was on his way to take over the court.
And he did.
If I were a real estate developer you would have heard the jackpot bells ringing from my seat. I sure as hell wasn't going to give it up for no good reason, even if I only had a mild interest in seeing Rafa practice.
But I stuck around because TIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Having had my Rafa and Toni fill (yes, it is possible) I got the bat signal via Twitter that Sam was practicing on a nearby court. THAT, of course, was the only thing that was getting me out of my primo viewing location. I looked over my shoulder to see who was around me and I noticed the wife of the old couple who had previously been chatting me up during Moose's practice was sitting in a chair right behind me with absolutely no view of the court. I think she was just sitting because she was tired. So I did what Federal law requires you to do on public transportation: If there's a pregnant lady or an old person, YOU GIVE UP YOUR FUCKING SEAT.
So I did. I asked her if she'd like my seat, her face lit up, I helped her into it, and I began to push myself out of the crowd. But not before hearing a bunch of people complaining about how they had been standing there longer and that apparently, in their view, what I did was unfair and wrong. Of course, they said it in much more colorful language.
That was kind of the last straw.
Masha, about to brave the autograph and picture hounds after practice yesterday.
I've only been here in Miami for two days and I've already witnessed some nutty fan behavior. I get that you guys are passionate for your players and I get that it's a really big deal that you get to see them up close and personal. The access is what makes tennis such a great sport. But the pushing, the shoving, the intentional cock-blocking, and the verbal tiffs need to stop. Yesterday I saw security absolutely screaming at a crowd of kids and adults who had swarmed her after practice. No joke, it scared the shit out of me. I thought someone was going to get hurt.
Security at tennis tournaments is a tricky thing. On one hand, tournaments are judged by the amount of access fans have to the players. On the other hand, tennis has had one of the more gruesome fan-player interactions that was a result of poor security. I don't like seeing security screaming at little kids but at the same time, when I see the crazy shit fans do to get close to their players I can't blame them.
So I beseech you, tennis fans young and old: Lead by example and act responsibly. Have kids, nieces, and nephews? Take them to a tennis tournament and show them how to have manners about it. It's not hard and at the end of the day, you'll still get the autograph or picture if you're just cool about it.
Or just teach them to be Sam Stosur fans. Cuz seriously, her practices are emmmmmmpty.
(Pics: Forty Deuce)