Today was the first day of main draw play at the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles, where I’m volunteering for the week. I was on my best behavior, since I was learning the ropes, which means I didn’t sneak away from my post to take photos or ask Marat Safin to apply sunscreen to my back. I’m sure by Friday I’ll be breaking all kind of major, tour-shaking stories but for now this is all I got:
1. The same tournament bigwig who asked that we be nice to Countrywide employees continued to over-share (hurray!), this time regarding Andy Roddick’s iffy participation in the tournament. “I can think of two-hundred-thousand reasons why he’ll show up,” he joked. Wink, wink.
2. All practicing, shirtless tennis players seen from afar fall into two categories: Lopez (i.e. long haired) or Verdasco (i.e. shorthaired). The only one that I can recognize without fail at 200 yards is Marat Safin. Does this count as stalking? (Damn, that’s a volunteer no-no!)
3. The early, daytime rounds of a small tournament are like villages during wartime: everyone is either very old or very young. I grew fond of the roving groups of giggling teenagers, so obviously dropped off by some minivan-driving Judy Murray type. They moved constantly, like schools of fish, tennis balls and sharpies ever at the ready.
4. At some point this afternoon, Moya, del Potro, Isner and Safin were all practicing on the same court while I was stuck ushering the Gremlmeyer vs. Fognini match! I think more people were watching the practice session than the match in the stadium. (I’m excited for the Safin vs. Isner first round match tomorrow!)
5. Volunteers not only score free tennis shoes and t-shirts – we also get complimentary Fritos! This is exciting if, like me, you haven’t eaten a corn chip since 1998.