I’ve survived another day undercover at the Countrywide Classic! There were some good matches today, including Wayne Odesnik vs. Bobby Reynolds, Vince Spadea vs. Sebastian Grosjean, Marat Safin vs. John Isner, and Donald Young vs. Tommy Haas (I didn’t see this one, but Young pulled off the big upset.)
Seen and heard around the grounds:
1. Word has it in the real estate world that Maria Sharapova is leaving Manhattan Beach and buying a new spread in L.A.’s Topanga Canyon. (People will tell you the oddest things. . .)
2. Andy Roddick was spotted practicing at around 10:30 a.m. and then disappeared. With his first round bye, I don’t think he’s playing his first match until Thursday!
3. Juan Martin del Potro wandered the food stands at around 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, finally settling on California Pizza Kitchen. A few little kids asked him for photos and autographs and he seemed very sweet. Better looking in person than you’d think – short hair does wonders for a man.
4. When Roger appears on the stadium’s big screens during U.S. Open Series promotions, people in the crowd scream “ROGER!” and applaud. This is the closest Roger will ever get to playing the Countrywide Classic:
6. Sebastian Grosjean is a mere shell of his former self. Retirement imminent.
7. Dudi Sela may have lost to Amer Delic today, but he wins in the best fans department! (Sorry, I realize that this isn’t the shirtless shot you’ve been asking me for – I’ll bring the big camera tomorrow)
8. Here is Fernando Verdasco doing a little Q&A after an autograph session. My observations: 1. the man has a J-Lo worthy ass. I saw it from all directions and it’s remarkable. 2. he is very gracious with the autographs – letting everyone take photos with him and giving little kids high-fives and big smiles.
9. Mardy Fish played around at the Fast Serve booth before the gates opened to the public this morning. The Fast Serve booth is like a batting cage for serves, with a speed gun. Not sure why he was getting a kick out of this, but he was.
10. The Davis Cup has arrived! Here is a fuzzy photo of it being carted in pieces onto the grounds. One of the guys was holding the top of it (the cup-looking part) in his lap.