I’m delighted to be working this week with Andrea Nay, a fabulous photographer and writer. She’s sweating it out in Cincy right now with the WTA and will continue next week with the ATP, taking fabulous photos and gathering first hand reports from the press room and practice courts. I love her description of current conditions: “It was 96 in the shade yesterday, with on-court temps tipping 100. Most of the girls looked like drowned rats, but a press round table resulted in some nice air-conditioned portraits.” Check out some of these portraits, below, and more of her work at Andrea Nay Photojournalism: www.andreanayphoto.com.
Spotlight on Cincinnati
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Cincinnati is the hot spot this week, and not just for its soaring temperatures. First round matches for the ladies kicked off Monday at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open (say that five times fast), and temps reached 96 in the shade.
Winners who battled through the scorching sun on Center Court included Dinara Safina (d. Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-4) and (16) Marion Bartoli (d. Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-4, 6-0). Ana Ivanovic knocked off Victoria Azarenka 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 under the lights in the evening session, and (13) Shahar Peer moved to the second round when Olga Govortsova retired at 6-3, 4-1.
Maria Sharapova and Maria Kirilenko were among players trying to keep their cool through afternoon practice sessions in front of big audiences.
The top eight seeds took shelter in the media center for an all-access roundtable. All smiles, defending champion Jelena Jankovic announced she has no plans to tackle the legendary Beast rollercoaster across the street at Kings Island. “I’m afraid!” she said. “It’s not relaxing. Why do that when I could be having an ice cream instead?”
Reigning US Open champion Kim Clijsters conducted her interviews in both English and Flemish, while 2010 French Open winner Francesca Schiavone discussed sports, noting she’d like to meet Olympian Usain Bolt. Also overheard: 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Vera Zvonareva’s favorite movie of all time is The Bodyguard and Agnieszka Radwanska loves traveling to Hawaii and the Bahamas.
Music, anyone? Zvonareva is listening to Rihanna. Schiavone, a fan of Andrea Bocelli, schooled reporters on Italy’s famous export: “Opera is not depressing. It’s art!”
Elena Dementieva turned her attention to the draw, making clear that Cincinnati is not a mere warm-up event for the U.S. Open. “This is one of our biggest events of the year,” she said.
The venue has just undergone a $10M renovation, and the women took notice. Jankovic particularly liked the custom pasta stations in the expanded dining room. Her favorite recipes? Before matches, no sauce. Off days, a little pesto with chicken and mushrooms.
And as for the heat? 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Zvonareva isn’t afraid of the blistering sun. “I love heat. I love hot weather.” That may just be the ticket to a second Cincinnati singles title.
The Women’s Open continues through Sunday, while the men take court Monday.
Ed. note: No drowned rat: Maria Kirilenko always looks good (damn it!):
Sharapova won her Cincy debut on Tuesday, taking out last weekend’s San Diego champ, Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-4 1-6 6-2. Check out a fantastic second round match on Wednesday, when Kim Clijsters takes on Dinara Safina. More from Cincy here.