Sunday, May 17, 2009

Welcome, New Roof!

It's a perfect day for tennis. London and Madrid, and even if it's raining in London, they got roof already, it's still perfect.

Let's start with how my evening went. I really felt like cursing like a sailor when I can't seem to upload anything. See, there's something the Executive Board's got to do and I can't upload the document they need to see. I've been at it for quite some time, have tried different file hosting sites and the e-group just doesn't seem to love me today. And I just found out I still don't have Bluetooth.

Then, to make things even better, there's a big FliP. Yeah!! It's a Flying Ipis! (Flying cockroach if you can't seem to understand Filipino. It's okay.) Anyway, when I saw the cockroach, I was thinking if it's going to fly (and if it does, I'm going to run for my life) because it is so huge and ughh I'm not a fan of those cockroaches. 

That's a double whammy for me. However, God
 doesn't want me to cut my wrists just yet. So He
 made me watch the inauguration of the Wimbledon roof aka Center Court Celebration. Yay! Saw the mixed doubles of Kim Clijster, Tim Henman, Andre Agassi, and Steffi Graf. Just
 great. 15,000 people watching on Centre Court. Perfect!

So obviously it's Tim-Kim and Steffi-Andre. The Golden Couple. Golden in terms of Grand Slams and in popularity. Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi have 30 Grand Slam titles between them. That
 would be 22 for Steffi and 8 for Andre. Both seemed to be the only few who have won all 4 of the major slams plus Olympic Gold medals. If you're not a fan of tennis and you're still reading this, either you want to know about it, or you're just plain bored. The 4 Grand Slams are the Australian Open, Roland Garros / French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. The Aussie and the US Open are both played on hardcourts while the Roland Garros on clay, and the Wimbledon on grass.

So first match, the mixed doubles. The new roof takes 9
 minutes to close and all the beauty in the world appears when the players start playing tennis. Tim Henman got the privilege to serve first, have the first point, and commit the first double fault. Ok. I don't want this to be a blog-as-it-happens thing. Andre's first serve, Kim Clijsters to receive. He served so hard down the T I thought Kim was going to do a cartwheel trying to get a racquet on it. Then there's the battle of the forehands, wherein Kim and Steffi Graf just exchanged billions of forehand crosscourts that Andre Agassi stood there with a funny expression of getting bored. However for me, the highlight of the match was when Tim Henman served, called fault by the linesmen, then Andre Agassi hit it so hard like he always does, and the ball hits Kim Clijster. Kim shouted. Who wouldn't? Tennis balls travel at over 200kph. Yep. It's that fast. Being hit by your tennis partner is already painful. And you're both girls. Andre Agassi hits really hard and since it was called fault, Kim Clijsters wasn't prepared. Now she got a nice ball mark near her stomach. That's gotta hurt. Steffi Graf somewhat reprimanded her husband as he apologizes to Clijsters. Oh, Kim and Tim won, 7-6. On a tiebreak. 

Wonder about the children of Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi. If I were them, I would never touch a racquet. Their kids might be 7 and 5 years old, but in any way, they'll be compared to their parents (for me Steffi Graf is the best ever) if they decide to take tennis. I'd probably do swimming or football.

The men's singles. I haven't watched a lot of Andre Agassi matches and all I can say is that he hits so hard, Serena Williams would be proud. Have I said that he serves like a madman? 6-4, Agassi. No surprise. A light match with a lot of smiles. Eyeloveit.

Women's singles. I think this is a tougher match because Kim Clijsters just unretired herself and asked for a wildcard entry to the US Open. She's back to the professional world. Yay! Women's tennis is really getting more interesting. Steffi Graf won Wimbledon for seven times. Yes, that's the total of Snow White's dwarfs. And she has won all 4 Grand Slams AT LEAST 4 times each. Talk about all-around player with 377 weeks of being world number 1, Steffi Graf is the best for me, though Martina Hingis would always be number 1 in my heart. Steffi Graf has won 4 Aussie Opens, 6 French Opens, 7 Wimbledons, and 5 US Opens with 107 titles under her belt, and retired 1999. Kim Clijsters, also a former world number 1, got 1 US Open, 37 titles, and counting. She's a great player, y'know, even though she retired last 2007 and just unretired herself this year. Both players got 14 years between them (Kim's 25 while Steffi's 39), Steffi Graf got a more stellar career and Kim's returning to the professional tour. Interesting, right? 

After watching some time, dude, they're not giving up a point! It's just the first game, and a lot of deuces already! Talk about competitive! They said Steffi Graf has one of the best forehands in the game, but her backhand is underestimated. So I observed it starting from the mixed doubles. She really got a semi-awkward forehand (like she hits the ball in a hurry because she swung late or something. Hmm, how do you describe something awkward?) that won 22 Grand Slams and she doesn't do backhand drives (unless she's trapped in a bad position), just return slices. And her ball toss is really high. She serves like Venus Williams or Marat Safin (feet position-wise). I don't know if Kim's exacting her revenge on Mrs. Agassi because she plays the exhibition match like it's the Championship already! Steffi Graf is 39 and you could see her getting tired with all the court coverage (that means running around the court trying to chase after the ball)! I think Kim is using this as a tune-up. It's not everyday that you get to have a world-class player as a hitting partner. The umpire and the commentators can see that Steffi will feel the effects of their competitive 1-set match not just after the match, but even days AFTER the match. An exhibition match with a "come on!" from Clijsters (that means she really considers this a serious match). Uh. First slip of the new court, courtesy of Kim Clijsters as well, and she did her trademark splits. Slide-split-slide, whatever. She and Jelena Jankovic do those splits so well they can do them on hardcourts which is weird. Ok, it's really like both are playing for their lives! Almost 10 years of being retired, Steffi Graf can still hit like Babe Ruth. Kim's putting herself back on tour, while Steffi Graf can still do magic with her forehand. Kim won 6-4 with Steffi's missed forehand volley. Steffi was still joking about asking for a wild card entry for Wimbledon. No shame, the court can still feel the intensity of the match even after it ended. 

The Agassis were always ready with a smile while Kim and Tim seemed to be serious about it. About the slips, Wimbledon is a common place for slips and bruises because you're playing on grass. Try running around your garden. And first days have the most slips ratio because the courts are just new. After a few days, the grass court would have brown patches already from all the running around. 

Special guests: Classical Pop group Blake, Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins who sang a lot, Faryl Smith, Britain's number one Andy Murray, and Boris Becker. I waited for Jollibee or even Grimace to appear, and I waited in vain.

On the other side of tennis, Roger Federer won over Rafael Nadal on the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open. 6-4 6-4. OK. It's not much of a news because Rafael Nadal last night won a four-hour marathon match over Novak Djokovic. So it's not a surprise Roger winning over Rafa. It's just great for Roger because he's not on a title drought anymore. Woo! And Dinara Safina won over Caroline Wozniacki (my new favorite) with 6-2 6-4. It's okay. Dinara is Marat's sister so I'm fine with it. Dinara even managed to wear jeans for their awarding ceremony.

May 17, 2009 is a good perfect day for tennis. :)

MORAL: When a roof closes, a door opens. Both in tennis and in my life.

*all photos from Yahoo!

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