This is a fan story from Sue. Enjoy!
How lucky am I to see Roger Federer play again this year. Seattle is a three hour trip from where I live. We left early to enjoy the day in Seattle and not feel rushed. The border can be a long wait at times as well. Got to Seattle in good time for a picnic lunch and walk overlooking the city.
Then off to Seattle Center where the Key Arena is. This is where there was a world's fair back in the sixties hence the iconic space needle. Creeping around the back of the arena, we were watching the tinted windowed black SUVs arrive with the VIPs. Saw Tony Godsick pull in. Think we just missed the man though. The people who had VIP tickets – 1500 USD were in the arena for a meet and greet with Roger and Isner.
The crowds were building, RF hats bobbing in the masses. Lots to do and see around this area of town. Getting close to countdown. We want to get in the arena in plenty of time.
The night started with a Hendrix-style rendition of the national anthem by Pearl Jam lead guitarist, Mike McCready. He was Isner's surprise doubles partner. The MC is the one at Indian Wells. Announcing the players came a HUGE roar from the crowd. Time to party. Bill Gates, the hometown boy, got just as big a reception as Fed. I'm thinking the Federers stayed at the Gates compound on the lake.
Just before the start, Mirka and Mary Joe Fernandez skittered across the court to their seats. No kids in tow, is that a first? Match for Africa t-shirts on sale but I'm happy with my RF18 one I got at IW.
The whole evening pretty well is online, but one doesn't get the rush from seeing Fed live. I sit in my seat and look down at the court and think…there he is….is this really happening. I'm such an unashamed groupie.
The doubles was fun and Gates hit a few good winners. Bill just about got set on fire as he entered the arena. I guess no one told him about the fire breathing boxes on the court set to ignite as he walked passed. Mike McCready was terrified with many double faults leaving his racket. Fun doubles all round.
A small break in the action and on to the main attraction. Fed changed into his FO? gear. Blue shorts, cream polo and red shoes. Love the black racket too. Another roar from the crowd and off we go for a best of three. Hopefully, you've had a chance to see the highlights. Isner not serving too big. Roger mostly slice returns. Some great rallies, awesome tweeter point! Loved Fed's little flick backhands throughout the match. Very effective.
There was a maniac dancing in the aisles ripping off RF t-shirts and throwing them to the crowd. A total party atmosphere. Quite different from the polite applause in Zurich!
The camera man had no clue about filming a tennis match. Right beside Fed when he was serving. He finally got the hint and ended up hiding behind the player's bench with Roger peeking at him. What a dork.
It was such a fun atmosphere. Everyone was having a blast. Isner was great, a good sport to lose in two. I was hoping for a third set but figured that wasn't going to happen. One of the staff told us if we wanted an autograph, to head down to courtside after the match. By the time we watched the post match interviews, we were too late to get close enough. Roger signed for quite awhile but when the crowd started to get aggressive, he walked away.
Fed did look tired, twelve-hour time difference. More on court interviews and he waved to the crowd and was gone.
A late night drive home feeling once again like I won the lottery.
The Roger Federer Foundation raised two million USD that night. How good is that?
Footnote: Meanwhile, across the pond. Rafa is tucked snugly into bed dreaming of biting another trophy.