I feel a bit deflated because of the way that the results have subsequently panned out at the tennis Olympics, but you know that Rafan and I were at Wimbers on Wednesday, and its been something I’ve been looking forward to for a while. So finally, I think I’d best get round to telling you all about it. Hope you’re sitting comfortably as this may be quite a tome ...
The day started early as I met Rafan at Clapham Junction and we then boarded the train to Wimbledon. It was then a quick scoot round Marks and Spencer’s as we bought our provisions for the day. Rafan decided that she was going for pure food filth, and I thought it would be rude not to join her. So armed with a chicken & mayonnaise sandwich, monster packet of crisps, two filthy pork pies (small ones, mind), a miniature lemon cheesecake thingy and a bag of Jelly Babies, I was ready to go. Real fuel for the day ahead!
A quick word about the transport arrangements. For us as fans, it was brilliant. Your Olympic ticket came with a transport pass that you could use on any method of public transport for the day and waiting for us at Wimbledon village was a stream of lovely new buses to ferry us for free to the All England Club. Great stuff. We entered the gates, went through security and that was us for the day. We were in!! Our first sight was a gaggle of Service Men resplendent in their finest, so that was a good start. We then came upon the courts. The first person we saw practising was the fragrant Ana Ivanovic. Cheekily, one of said Service Men was walking past with his mate and said, “Of all the women players, she is f.i.t.” The effrontery!! When two of this Nation’s finest in me and Rafan were standing right next to them.
Rafan then spotted Stanford practising on the next court down and we wandered for a look, although he seemed to have attracted quite a crowd. Should have known better. Up there at the other end of the court, there He was. Feds. Urghh ... I’d barely been in the place for 5 minutes and I was being subjected to Herr Flicker. I wanted to pass with my back turned to him, but then I would have had to move along like a crab, and that’s not a good look. Undeterred, I got out of there as fast as I possibly could. I was on a mission, and that mission had Armada in its name.
We didn’t have to look very far as right on the next court was Nico Almagro with Alberto Costa. Now Nico – bless him – he tries very hard and all that, but he’s my least favourite member of the team in Red and Yellow. Cos the thing is ... he looks like the Oompa Lumpa from the Johnny Depp re-make of Willy Wonker. He does!! Notwithstanding that, we stayed for a little bit to watch and take a couple of snaps, but we were keen to soak up that Olympic atmosphere, so we went for a walk around the Grounds. To be honest, it was nowhere near as packed as it is during “real” Wimbledon, and Rafan recounted that it had much more of that “second week” feel about the place. An Army Band was playing funky music and then we came upon the Wimbledon Games mascot, Wenlock. He really is a living mascot as he was put together using various flora and fauna. Cue more photographs, but then out of the corner of my eye ... well actually, you couldn’t bloody miss him, but there was a Spanish team member in full regalia of that awful kit. Well, I had to casually walk by – like you do – to take a sneaky picture because seeing is believing, which reminds me, Nico must have also been wearing the trackie top as it was placed behind his chair.
But where was Rafan?? Well ... obviously the souvenir shops are a magnet to her and she was intent in having a good nosy round them all. Sadly, the little Olympic duck that she wanted was nowhere to be seen. I blame Feds. He probably bought them all just to spite us.
So then it was coffee time, and I nearly broke the director’s chair I was having to sit in as I crashed down a bit too quickly in it. Then – when I was trying to quietly tear open the M&S biscuits that I’d bought – I ended up ripping the packaging and drawing huge attention to myself as they tumbled out. So we had a little gossip, you know ... about world peace, the EuroZone, the coalition Government and whether black really does make your bum look smaller. You know the kind I mean. ;) But looking back, I think I missed a trick. Rather than stuffing my face with biscuits, I should have hung round that Armada practice court a bit longer because what was my main mission of the day? Something a bit tastier than Orange and Cranberry crunch ... yes! Deliciano Feliciano!! So I rushed back as quick as my legs could carry me – Rafan has never seen me move so fast!! When there he was, sitting in his chair holding court. FELI !! *scream*
I’d missed his practice, but at least I was getting a good sight of him. I hurriedly got my camera and started to click. I needed some shots of thigh porn!! And Feli was sitting with his body ever so slightly forward – purposely, obviously – just so I could see the CK label at the top of his black undies.
*swoon* and *faint*
As he left the court, he signed for the fans, but I just stayed where I was. As he came past, I just said to him, “Good luck today, Feli”. And he caught me with a look from those baby blue eyes, as he stared deep into my soul and then he said, “Thank you”.
*faints some more*
And then I watched him walk away ... not concentrating on his arse or anything, but I needed slapping around the face with one of those flip flops that Feli has been advertising lately ... so Rafan quickly obliged. *erm*
Righto ... what were we here for?? Oh that’s right ... tennis! So once my palpitations had subsided, we took our seats on the Centre Court. A few observations. The roof was on when we first entered, and I have to say, the whole “feel” of the place changes ... I’m not just saying this for saying’s sake, but it totally takes away from what an open air court should be like. The previous evening I had feared that we would have a totally rubbish OOP and that I would be subjected to the Dark Lord on Centre. Not so ... we had a great plan for the day. Best bit was that Feds had been bumped off onto Court 1 – hurrah!! – so we had Serena vs. Zvonereva, Djokovic vs. Hewitt and Murray vs. Baggy on Centre. I was obviously desperate to see Feli’s match, and he was scheduled to play Tsonga on Court 18. Preceding that was Kim Clijsters and the fragrant Ana, with Feds and Stannie to play doubles after Feli.
Serena’s match was over with in a flash as she totally hammered Vera, then Djokovic/Hewitt came on, but we were keeping an eye on the Kim/Ana match so we decided to watch a set of the men before dashing off to Court 18. They decided to open the roof for the men’s singles, and you could literally feel the air change and being able to breathe. Thing was though, within a couple of games, spits and spots started to fall, and play was suspended. As Kim had also raced through the first set, I decided that I was heading off to Court 18 to position myself for Feli, so I left Rafan behind who wanted to watch a bit more of the men’s. It was only a brief shower, and I dashed as quickly as I could to the court. And met Mrs Hitler on the entrance door. She wouldn’t let me in ... she said there was no room. So I cleared off and rushed through the entrance that would take me to the other side of the court, where the steward beckoned that there was a seat, second row up, just near the players’ chairs! Result!!
Kim and Ana quickly came back onto court thereafter and played out their match which Kim won in straight sets. As we waited for the men to come on court, who did I spy across the way ... why, it was plucky Rafan! Who somehow had hood-winked Mrs Hitler on the door and bagged herself a second row courtside seat too. Vamos!! Then in he walked, Feli ... in a white top with white shorts looking every inch the White Knight. And fabuloso!! He sat in the chair closest to me so I had a great view. Tsonga was waiting for him at the net, but Feli camps in the Court of King Nadal, and made him wait whilst he faffed with his sweatbands, his rackets and just about any other thing he could think off to mess about with. Hehe ...
The match itself had little in it in the first set, with both players serving exceptionally well. One of the best things I find about live tennis is not being subjected to the nausea of the commentators, but sadly, I had one of my very own sitting right behind me. Granny Middle-England, with daughter and 9 year old son had come along to watch the match. And Granny M-E decided that she would explain every single aspect of what was going on to Junior. “Lopez plays with his left hand, and Tsonga plays with his right.” “Look how colourful Lopez’s shirt is. Its yellow and red, the colours of Spain, whereas Tsonga is playing in blue, the colour of France”. “The points go, 15, then 30, then 40 ... and whoever passes 40 wins the game!”
FFS!!!!! It was like listening to Andrew bloody Castle!!
I think Tsonga might have had some break points against Feli in the first set, but the conclusion was the inevitable tie-breaker. Which Feli lost ... quelle surprise. It was then more of the same in the second set until Feli threw in a shocker of a service game and served 3 doubles to virtually hand it to Tsonga. And then his usual laconic self took over and he just ambled his way through the rest of the match. Looking fit though. I have to say that it was an unexpected pleasure to see him. My Feli-obsession aside, I do like his game. He has a lovely serve and a beautiful backhand, but he just hasn’t got that work ethic or spirit like Rafa has. And as he barely gets past the first round these days it could perhaps have been my last chance ever to see him play. So I was grateful for it.
After the singles, Roggie and Stannie were due on playing some Israeli pairing I’d never even heard of. Now you know I find the man offensive to my eyes, but I struck a deal with Rafan that we’d stay for 3 games. And it was the longest 3 games of my entire life. I found it necessary to wave my Spanish flag though and sit with it draped over me for the duration ... so I did my bit. ;) But when I got up to leave ... Dear God, you’d think I was committing some terrible crime against GOATs. This silly old fart said to me, “Do you think they will win that easily that you are leaving already??” and then to cap it all, the steward on the gate who was – obviously – holding back the masses ready to worship at the altar of St Fed said to me in a totally incredulous manner in a voice bordering on hysterical ... “You’re ... LEAVING????” And when I replied, “Yes” she then said to me with an all concerning face ... “Are you alright?” I CAN’T STAND IT!!!!!!!
Anyhow, Rafan and I headed back to Centre to be all Team GB and support Andy Murray who was in a spot of trouble at this stage as he’d lost the first set to Marcos Baghdatis. We needn’t have worried. Andy raced through those final two sets to victory, and what a celebration. Boy, this really means something to him and it was a pleasure to see. By this time we were in that Wimbledon time warp as Rafan calls it. The thing is, you’ve been there for hours, but it doesn’t it feel it ... it felt like it was the middle of the afternoon, but no, it was early evening!! But we hadn’t finished with our tennissing just yet. As Caroline Wozzzzzzzzzzniaki was due on court and we didn’t fancy seeing either her or her hobbit boyfriend, Rafan dug out the FangirlFone to see what else we might find. We thought that Daveed was on No. 1 court (which was ticketed), but when she found some pleasant mixed doubles featuring Juan Martin Del Potro and another of my many squeezes – Micky Youzhny – we decided to head off to watch that. And entertaining it surely was.
Delpo doesn’t play much doubles, does he? And he was useless. Rafan and I were killing ourselves laughing at him as he dashed about and ran to the net cos he must think that’s what you do when playing doubles. His partner carried him, but they were doing better than the Russian pairing and the Argentinians won the first set. At this point, Rafan had another look at her FangirlFone to see that Daveed was actually on Court 14 and had just been tonked 6-0 in the first set!! Cue me high tailing it out of there. Rafan was to try and find me there after the doubles and I huffed and puffed up the hill once more. The court was packed and there was not a seat to be had. There was no chance of anyone leaving either, so I just squirmed my way to watch from a corner of the court, although there were some particularly tall hyacinths obstructing my view. Daveed levelled the match at 1 set all, but seriously, it was getting so dark there. They continued regardless, but Daveed was starting to struggle holding serve. Then at 4-5 down with Daveed to serve, what did they do? Stop the match due to bad light ... and then moved it onto Centre. I mean ... what way is this to treat players?? It was impossible for Rafan to have found me in those crowds and she had headed off home. I decided to do the same myself rather than hang about on Centre. Sorry Daveed.
It had been a seriously long day and its really hard maintaining your glamorous self when you’ve been in the elements of wind, sun and rain, plus dashing about all over the place. So you can imagine my abject horror to have been told that at the end of the day when I was looking like the proverbial scarecrow who'd been dragged through a hedge backwards, I was caught on national television watching Daveed. Words fail me ...
So that was it, my London 2012 Olympic adventure. Thanks for staying with this and reading on to the end. And my summation? Well, it was a truly fabulous day, and I loved every minute of it. Strangely because Rafa wasn’t there, we didn’t spend all our time concentrating on him, and so got to see lots of players and lots of matches. And yes, it was great. But I miss our boy. Take nothing away from the experience though, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we took it. VAMOS!!
I’m incredibly snap happy, so you can see all my pictures on Flickr here. Rafan’s lovely pics are to be found here. And I couldn’t be bothered sorting through the best of ‘em, so ALL of my Feli pics are here. More for the obsessive ... hehe. xxxx