What a great day at the US Open yesterday!
It's always so much fun walking around the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows during the first few days - a must for any tennis fan. There's a certain electricity in the air with every court showcasing a match and fans meandering from court to court to check out the fate of their fave ballers. You can even catch a glimpse of the ballers practicing and sometimes walking and/or running through the grounds to get from their practice to the locker rooms. Granted, it was, how do you say, 'sultry' yesterday (at least that's what I would tell myself every time I wanted to crawl under an air conditioned rock) but you just deal - it's the US Open for fuck sake!
For the ballers, however, dealing with conditions becomes a severe test of their fitness and stamina. Novak Djokovic, working a cute new black + white Sergio Tacchini kit (sans hat PLEASE), has a well-documented history of retiring from Grand Slams matches due to breathing issues caused by soaring heat so no one would've been surprised if he pulled the plug at some point during his opening round battle against compatriot Viktor Troicki yesterday. BUT! The third seed prevailed gutting out a 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 win, a good sign for his chances this year.
And what was Nole's response when asked what it was like when he was finally able to grab some much needed relief from the sun in the late afternoon on-court shadows? "Ahhhh. It was like sleeping with my girlfriend." Ahhhh, it was like tossing rock salt in my open wounds when I read that quote. Thanks Nole.
Speaking of WAGS it was awesome to see the beautiful and stylish Xisca Perello make an appearance at Rafael Nadal's opening round match where he grabbed a tough win against Russia's Teymuraz Gabashvilli. Normally she shows up later in a tourney to give her support, at least in the baller box, so this appearance seems telling about Rafa's focus and desire to win his first title at Flushing Meadows and complete the Career Slam. He's got his girl there - one of the three greatest loves of his life.
Now, one lady baller who always strives to be stylish is Nadia Petrova. I'm not sure if she meant to wear this outfit or just fell into a Crayola crayon box that was left out in yesterday's heat but, honestly, it fits Nads - for better or for HELLA worse. In any case she got booted by Andrea Petkovic in the opening round match so we'll be spared. For now.
Finally I've added a few shots below from the matches I got to see including David Nalbandian, Yanina Wickmayer and Na Li. Nalby (barely) + Wicky (easily) made it out but Li, who was sporting support tape on her right knee and seemed hampered towards the end, was not so lucky. I'll upload the full sets to the Down the Line! Facebook page.
[Photo(s): Getty Images, DtL]