Saturday was our last day at Indian Wells (it was a short but sweet trip) and an early highlight of the day was meeting GTT reader Major Fed Fan a.k.a. Kim and her hubby yesterday morning in front of Stadium 2. We compared Fed Fan quirks and Indian Wells highlights while watching John Isner take on Fredrico Gil. MFF, true to her name, left early to catch Roger’s noontime practice, which she told me later was canceled. More on that, later.
I felt like spending more time in the stands yesterday and less time roaming the practice courts. Rafa practiced too early and Roger was a no show, so it turned out to be a pretty good decision. It’s an embarrassment of riches at this tournament – the practice courts, the packed draws, the fun doubles parings – so it’s tempting to jump from one thing to the next. But I was in the mood to commit yesterday, preferring to experience the slow build of a tennis match to the instant gratification of a shirtless tennis player sighting (crazy, I know!)
Still, there were plenty of happy accidents – like walking onto Court 7 thinking I’d catch the start of Wawrinka vs. Ginepri and discovering, instead, that Dudi Sela had just taken the second set tiebreak from Gilles Simon. What a fun third set! And I got to watch it from the baseline position, three rows back. This is the best view in tennis, especially when you’re witnessing two crafty players battling it out in the third set. Suddenly all that commentator babble about spins and strategy and court positioning becomes as clear as white lines on a blue court. Simon got the best of Sela, barely, clearing the way for Wawrinka and Ginepri to play their own dramatic three setter.
I missed the drama of Andy Roddick’s battle vs. Kubot (I avoid the main stadium and its nose bleed views) and was already at dinner* when Andy Murray suffered the upset of the tournament vs. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, losing 4-6, 2-6. Murray claimed to be as surprised as anyone by the loss: “I have to go away and think about what happened. Played great in practice, was hitting the ball really well. I felt pretty fresh.” (via Tennis.com)
Hmm. . .is Indian Wells the first clay court masters of the year? I though this was an interesting comment from Murray:
“It almost felt like playing the match on a clay court. I wasn’t able to hit through the court and I squandered so many chances. I had (Garcia-Lopez) 0-40 (on serve) two or three times, 0-30 a number of times, and I didn’t break.” (via Reuters.)
Rafael Nadal is just taking court as I type this, playing his first tennis match in six weeks against Leonardo Mayer. If Murray’s take on the court’s speed is accurate, Indian Wells is the perfect place for Rafa to mount his mojo. It will also be an important test for Novak Djokovic, who’s stated that the French Open is his big goal of the season.
Then there’s Roger Federer, who takes to the main stadium this evening for his first match of the tourny vs. American Denis Kudla. There’s been plenty of speculation on Roger’s well-being since skipping yesterday’s practice: is he recovering from a fall he took on Friday (click here) or perhaps suffering from the same intestinal malady that’s brought down everyone from Vania King, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Andreas Seppi, Magdalena Rybarikova, Gael Monfils, Bethannie Mattek-Sands and our very own Freaky Fritters over the past day or so? Reporter Matt Cronin tweeted today: “Good word from Federer camp is that Roger has not indicated he seriously hurt so assume he’ll play tonight.”
Fritters, however, is still feeling a little green. While driving home from the desert last night we had to pull over somewhere in San Bernadino so he could puke out the side of the car. After reading Vania King’s descriptive tweet, we realized he was not alone in his misery. We were going to blame it on a bad plate of bolognese, but word from the tournament (via @dougrobson) is this nasty virus is not food-related:
“Coachella Valley wide virus which is resulting in symptoms of nausea and vomiting, fever, and subsequent diarrhea. It is self-limited and lasts between 24 and 48 hrs. It is transmitted by air and direct contact and not passed via food.”
We spotted Del Potro, Feliciano Lopez and David Nalbandian at dinner last night, by the way. All are on court today and Del Potro already scored a win. Phew!
Fritters did snap a few photos yesterday. Hopefully he’ll be feeling well enough to post them pretty soon.