Hi my fellow PeRFect Tennis readers, Did anyone spot me on TV/stream looking particularly gorgeous for our Fed? Or 90 year-old Sophie? Yes, I was there to witness his disappointing loss to Monfils unfortunately.
I know Monte-Carlo Masters is not everyone’s liking especially for Fedfans. Monaco has never been on my bucket list as a place to visit, either. I’d rather go to Halle or Dubai if it’s just for tennis, means to see Fed of course. But hey I currently live more less next door to Monaco and if Roger is there, why should I miss seeing him? If I do make a trip to somewhere else, I have to plan ahead but it has to be guaranteed to see him. Since I failed to win yet another Wimbledon ballot (which is definitely on my bucket list) this year, I decided to take the easy opportunity here. Who knows if there’s another time?
As soon as Roger announced his participation, the Centre Court tickets were sold out. But I know they offer extra tickets daily at the entrance from 8:30 am. No need to book flights nor accommodation, I waited until when he actually came to the Principality, the draw was made and the weather forecast looked okay.
Last couple of times in Monte-Carlo, I saw Fed winning matches with ease in the blink of an eye. So I picked Thursday against Monfils wishing for a competitive match after he past Chardy easily, though still wondering if I should go for QF on Friday. A good decision not to choose Friday, hah!
Although there seemed a plenty of seats available in the Centre Court, the seats I was initially offered were not even those in blue boxes beside the court, but for 250 euros each! No way! So I got a ticket in the next available price category at the 2nd (after Super, Prestige and 1st category) for 68 euros. Apparently all the ticket were taken by the door open which is 9:00am, the day before. I considered myself lucky.
Last year, I was looking and waiting for Fed to appear in the practice courts for ages before the first match. Only later I found out that he was practicing at the Centre Court. So I went straight to the Centre Court this time. There were some guys practicing including Stan and Dimitrov but no Roger. They soon finished and all gone. Okay, it’s still 9:30, I thought and prayed. A few minutes later, all of sudden the atmosphere changed, a large group of spectators flooded in, then a loud cheer. Here comes our Fed looking smooth and relaxed. Surely I wasn’t the only one saw him in bright light under the grey sky. That moment alone made my day already.
I was so excited that I send a text to my husband who graciously accepts the fact that I might run away with the certain tennis player.
“Got a Centre Court ticket! Guess who just worked in for a practice?”.
“God?”, he replied.
Precisely. I was in seventh heaven. Even though his practice session with Sousa lasted only half an hour, I was so thrilled thinking whatever the result for the coming match it well worth a trip. Who else gets a standing ovation at the end of practice?
Great, I thought. My seat was located on extension line from a corner of the court therefore I could concentrate on the match without staring his beautiful gluteus muscles – Remember, I was behind the baseline last year. Yeah, I came here to see his beautiful tennis, right? Though I must admit I was still distracted by his physique and movement constantly. Call me a bad tennis fan!
Blue sky and a bit more sunshine could have been helpful for the photo. Also it would have been better if I was closer to the action. But I enjoyed the angle of the view. Because it was different from the views on the broadcasts. You can see clearly how the ball travels in the air. Often the ball Fed hits flies almost horizontal so it nearly touches the net and each times the crowds gulps in the middle of rallies. I was particularly impressed by how the slices fly above the net like a living creature in the air, then swiftly fall, land and barely bounce at an angle, wow. More slices please, I muttered. And the drop shots: it was really amazing to see how it unexpectedly actually drops. Judge by the spectators’ cheer, they (including me) definitely prefer watching the variety of the shots, specially volleys than the endless baseline hitting contest in the matches.
The first match was Stan vs Dimitrov. It was great to see one handed backhands against each other. Although I favoured Stan to do well as the defending champion, at the same time I didn’t mind if Grigor pulled an upset as I wasn’t keen on Roger to face Stan. The spectators were clearly on Dimitrov’s side which was surprising. Not sure it was because ‘Stan the Man’ didn’t show up so his fans were muted or simply Grigor is more popular. I thought he played well though and certainly made the crowds happy. Stan? I don’t know what to say…French fans just cried out “oh là là”. Who knows what was to blame.
I was still over the moon seeing Fed’s practice, so somehow it didn’t cross my mind that he would lose the match. He didn’t play badly, did he? Even after loosing the first set, I believed he would prevail in the end. I was, just like at the blog chat, nail-biting, fist-pumping, face-palming, HOLD and BREAK chanting…and wishing you guys were there with me. The serve seemed to let him down and he looked increasingly annoyed out there. Though he looked great in the outfit on the red clay. Gael’s? Hah, no words. I thought Fed was fighting tough. There was this noisy mid-aged blond nearby who was supporting Monfils. She annoyed everybody who were on Fed, with shouting, screaming and stumping her feet each time he wins the point. Arr, please! I wanted pull her hair, wishing the match would end like last year’s US Open.
The middle of TB in the second set, the digital score board suddenly went dead. So I couldn’t know what was actually going on. Was that in or out? Who’s got the point? Then the match was over abruptly. What did just happen? Wasn’t he leading 5-3 and serving?
So, was I sad? Well, no, not really. Exhausted, yeah. An anticlimax, maybe. Just sorry to let him go after any match, win or lose. You want to continue watching him, don’t you? I could have had some sushi with a glass (or a bottle?) of champagne as a comfort meal at the Japanese restaurant Nobu, couldn’t I? If only you didn’t mind spending 100 euros or so for that. Nobu was the newcomer for the tournament this year and the popular sushi bento-box was long gone by the time I looked at the menu for curiosity. Well, I had my own bento-box with me anyway.
I left the court which Nadal vs Isner match was about to start. Everywhere was jammed with people going for a toilet or a lunch break. I was still in the state of shock but I followed a group of kids holding the large tennis ball, hoping to meet Fed in person myself. After losing a match, perhaps he would not feel so great to face fans and sign the autographs? I should not bother him. But wouldn’t it be awesome seeing him close on the same grand level? You know, just to see how tall he is, how broad his shoulders are? I might hear his voice talking to his fans? I could even say hi to him? Whoa, not a chance. I felt embarrassed at my own thoughts (How old am I? 17?) so I gently pushed a little boy with RF cap in front of me and pretended to be his mother. A few players such as Cilic, Stan, French players passed by and took selfies with fans and signed autographs. Among them, Dimitrov was particularly lovely to the fans, so was Berdych – he’s very tall and yes Katyani, I must agree Thomas IS good-looking! Eventually though we were told by security guards that Roger won’t be coming out at any time and all people who’s waiting for him sighed and left. I guess I shall keep my wish for a dream encounter a little longer.
I wonder why this guy, a tennis player, makes me emotional? Why I endlessly want to watch him? Clearly because his tennis is a joy to watch? Absolutely. I know all the million reasons makes him one of the greatest athletes and a great person. But why on earth I want to know more about him? Why I even care what he is like as a person, what he says after the match or read what the journalists and bloggers say about him? It’s a mystery to me.
Loud cheer from the Centre Court. That was when Isner broke Nadal and took 2nd set. Maybe better going back and to see how the deciding set would go? Surely loads of Rafa fans out there but the greater portion of people were cheering for John. It might be just they wanted a competitive match. Though the 3rd set was disappointing. Not because Rafa won, it was simply boring to watch. I saw Rafa few times on both clay and grass (regrettably more than I saw Roger) and he won all. But it was far the worst he played. Does anybody hear the media talking ’R’ for Nadal as we have heard many times since 2008 for Fed?
Same for the last match, Djokovic vs Haider-Maurer. This was the first time for me to see Novak’s match live. Couldn’t help but yawning. It wasn’t Novak’s best day, he still bageled the poor guy. His tennis was not as unattractive as before, I thought. Although his net play was noticeably dreadful on the day, pretty impressive how he has improved all area of his game since a couple of years ago. He is doing great to keep Rafa at bay so I don’t mind him wining so long as not against Roger.
I left before the end of the match to catch the train back home not late.
“Shame Roger lost today” I said to the German-speaking guys at the train station. They must be Swiss! Both were wearing RF cap with the Credit Swiss logo.
“Not too disappointed because the match was competitive unlike yesterday against Chardy.” they said.
“He played well for the first clay tournament so he will be okay. But we are more worried about Stan.”
That is all. Sorry that I don’t have any ‘special’ story to tell you. He lost. The weather was pretty dull, so are the photos. Not a peRFect day but you know what? I had a damn good day at Monte-Carlo. I was able to watch Roger Federer live, people!
ANY Roger is better than No Roger.