Google Down the Line!: Practice makes perfect: Taking a peek around the grounds at Indian Wells

Monday, March 16, 2009

Practice makes perfect: Taking a peek around the grounds at Indian Wells

(Hey y'all - I'm thrilled to add FreakyFrites of GOTOTENNIS to the DtL contributor list this year. I love her perspective on the game and her site's pretty great too - a must read especially for all you Fedophiles out there. FF visited Indian Wells this weekend and came back with some on-the-ground views of the action for our reading pleasure.

Also if you're ever interested in writing something for DtL drop me a line at I'm always looking for new voices
+ views on the sport we all love. So without futher ado here's FreakyFrites!)

The highlight of my visit to Indian Wells (a.k.a. the BNP Paribas Open) this weekend was hanging out at the practice courts. Where else could a mere mortal like myself stand within arm’s length of Rafael Nadal while he soaked through his Nike t-shirt? And when Rafa, Roger or another one of my fave Top 5 players wasn’t hitting, I had fun cruising the rows of unobstructed practice courts in pursuit of quirky hitting partner combos, e.g., Simon/Isner, Safin/Tipsarevic and Haas/Stepanek.

Of course, the real thrill was catching Federer and Nadal’s practice sessions, which generated almost as much buzz as their matches. The two had vastly different routines – Rafa pounded balls for an hour or two while Roger barely got around to unzipping his RF warm up jacket - but both players attracted hoards of fans. We’re talking six-person deep crowds lining the court, kids climbing on top of trashcans for a better view and hundreds of faces peering down from the upper reaches of the main stadium.

The amateur sociologist in me enjoyed observing the true Rafanatics and Fedophiles in their natural habitats. Fed fans brought banners (“Federer is Better-er than Chocolate”) and Rafanatics brought their libidos (lots of décolletage and lip licking.) Both groups shun irony.

And then there was the grassy practice field, my favorite spot for witnessing chance encounters between the players. A typical scene: Nalbandian and Del Potro horse around with an Australian rules football while Daniela Hantuchova does jumping jacks in the background. Gasquet saunters between the Argentines, and a game of monkey-in-the-middle ensues. Then Gisela Dulko jogs by in her short shorts, distracting David. I also caught Rafa exchanging (air) kisses with a mystery WTA blonde and Tsonga switching places with his trainer to get a better view of Maria Kirilenko’s stretching routine. It was like watching the Real World: Tennis Tour!

When I needed a break from the excitement of all this practicing, I lounged on the main lawn with a beer or browsed the tennis gear for sale in the retail tents. I even watched an actual tennis match or two. But after being within sniffing distance of Rafa’s back sweat and Roger’s deluxe hair care products, everything else kind of faded in comparison.

FreakyFrites writes the blog GOTOTENNIS

(images via GOTOTENNNIS, photos courtesy of J. Nguyen)


  1. i like the pics showing the players and mere mortals because it shows how tall/huge they are and how...well...more mortalish the rest of teh world are! love the commentary! I have indeed endured the elbows of the 6 deep crowds surging forward to see Rafa get his sweat on *daydreams*

  2. I can only imagine what Roger's deluxe hair care products smell like. They probably make my pantene smell like dog poo. :)

  3. mereana: you know they were all hoping for Rafa to walk by and flick his hair around dousing them with his sexy Spanish sweat. Pervs - yet why am I jealous?

    anon: dog poo?! HAHAHAHAHA!!

  4. Ha! Rich you need to start a new blog called I think we'd all be visiting that one pretty often!

    I forgot to mention all the ladies I observed applying full faces of makeup in anticipation of Roger's appearance at the practice courts. You know, just in case he looked up from the court and thought "forget Mirka and the baby, I just can't resist your lip gloss!"

    I'm only making fun because it takes one to know one. .

  5. Ha! freakyfrites that tennis pervs website already exists. Just type downthelinetennis into Google; it'll take you there.

  6. sara: ROFL!!! You know DtL way too well.

  7. DowntheLine, Home for Tennis Pervs. Got it!

  8. Ff, that is some inspired writing! LUB!

  9. "Federer is betterer than chocolate." LMAO!!!!!

    Love your commentary, freakyfrites! And the pictures are amazing!

    *still daydreaming of Rafa's hair sweat sprinkled onto me*

    *googles ""*

  10. "Rafa exchanging (air) kisses with a mystery WTA blonde" - it was Kaia Kanepi. Some other bloggers got that moment on photograph.

    Typical European greeting between acquaintances and freinds - air kissing while shaking hands.

  11. Thanks Anon! I thought it was Kaia but couldn't say for sure. There are so many WTA blondes out there. . .

  12. Sonja - judging from the scene around the practice courts, there are many who share your Rafa sweat fetish!

    Oh, and the other Roger banner said "Rogerholics Anonymous Convention."


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