Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Live blogging with Becca and Mardy

Filed under : Tennis
On August 31, 2007
At 4:45 pm
Comments : 8

This is my first ever post by Blackberry! I’m here at the Open, watching Mardy Fish. He’s in his usual position, about to choke, but I’m not. I’m at a “bar” watching on one of many screens as Brother1 stands on line nearby waiting for a smoothie. I really can’t figure out why you’d pay $60 and upwards to sit on a barstool and watch TV, but there seem to be plenty of people doing just that.

OK, Mardy is done losing in spectacular flameout fashion and I’m off to wait on yet another long line for the bathroom before I settle in for the long haul with Nalby on Court 11. Let’s all get our MINDS ready, people.


US Open, Day 129: a photo essay

Filed under : Tennis
At 12:30 am
Comments : 9

Ever get a sunburn on top of another sunburn? It’s attractive and comfortable. Score! But let’s take our minds away from that, shall we, and document another action-packed day at the greatest event in the world, the US Open. Today I took lots of pictures. Why? Because it saves me from having to write too much (you’ve heard of that whole thousand word thing, I’m sure) and I’m awfully tired.

Because I love you, all photos enlarge upon your click.

This is the entrance to the US Open. Here you get your bag checked and, similar to the airport, they seem to find a different thing wrong with your possessions each time you go through. One day, the woman wanted to confiscate my lip gloss. Because shiny lips are a public threat.

After that, you are supposed to move on to the gate to have your ticket scanned. For some reason, people like to dawdle here, I don’t know why. Today, a woman with a megaphone was on the case. “It’s not hard, people,” she boomed. “You can move forward. This is New York, you have to move faster.” Amen, sister.

We started our day at Court 11 in the hopes of seeing Shahar Peer demolish Bethanie Mattek. She obliged.

Then it was off to the packed Grandstand (remember? everyone loves a Brit) to see Andy Murray play Jonas “Pops” Bjorkman. It was a tight match! Then we showed up and it became a blowout. Once we left, it went back to being a close match. Murray eventually won but we were long gone.

This is a view of one of the smaller courts where we saw Sebastien Grosjean play Max Mirnyi. Look how close I was! I was so close I could see Grosjean give the umpire the stinkeye and hear him say “good job” sarcastically when a call finally went his way. Court 13 proved an unlucky number for Mirnyi; he lost in four sets.

“Hey man, nice racket.” “Thanks, there was this sale at the Sports Authority and….” Oh, that’s not what this picture is of! It’s Guastavo “Guga” Kuerten, one of the most beloved players ever, and Robby “I’m done dating movie stars” Ginepri playing doubles. It was really fun. Until they lost. But Guga kept on smiling, even then. That might have something to do with why everyone loves him. Also, that whole “I look and move like Gumby” thing.

In between, sunblock was applied uselessly, ice cream was enjoyed, a huddle of Yankee fans analyzed Joba Chamberlain in the stands while Arnaud Clement served blissfully unaware, and more horrifically long lines were waited on than in a week at Disney World.

Here’s a quiz: who is the most entertaining person on the tour? Why, if you’d been a faithful reader of J-Ball, you’d know. It’s Fabrice Santoro, of course. And tonight he was playing James Blake on the main court which meant I had to high-tail it home in order to catch it. It was worth it. Here’s Santoro sticking his tongue out across the net at Blake. As if his shirt weren’t entertainment enough.

See you tomorrow! If I’m alive!


What’s tired and happy and red all over?

Filed under : Tennis
On August 30, 2007
At 12:30 am
Comments : 9

Hi, remember me? Your intrepid US open reporter, coming to you from under five layers of sunblock. And one layer of sunburn. Whoops. This post is going to involve a lot of imagination on your part. You guessed correctly, I forgot my camera. Today was my first full day at the Open, reminding me why I both love the day session and hate the day session. I love it, of course, because I can dash from match to match on a whim and I hate it because I bake like a Toll House cookie. There was not one cloud in the sky today, I swear. Beautiful! And tortuous! But enough about the weird pattern that now covers my cleavage (sexy!), let’s get to the tennis.

As you’ll recall, today was Alfa’s day to listen to Becca mutter under her breath at highly-paid tennis players. We started in one of my favorite places, Louis Armstrong Stadium, and saw Marat “Temperamental” Safin play Canadian no-name, Frank Dancevic. Oh wait, that’s a name. Never mind. We hoped for explosions from Marat but sadly, he seemed to have taken his Prozac today. Still, it was a closely contested match, and a lovely way to begin the day before sunstroke kicked in. Then I went for my usual healthful ice cream lunch (I got a sundae – it had two scoops – if you read yesterday’s post you will know why I found this curious) while Alfa went with the more traditional hot dog meal. Then we went back to the US Open store so that I could get a third opinion on what shirt to get. I notated Alfa’s vote and bought a bucket hat. People who know me know I have a weird thing about bucket hats (folks have told me I look cute in them and who am I to disagree?). People who don’t know me can just note that my ears are happily less sunburned than the rest of me. A good investment all in all.

Then it was back to Armstrong to see Gentleman Tim Henman play Dimitry “I’m a blogger too” Tursonov. We misjudged the time, though and saw the last set of Justine “just use my maiden name” Henin. But then on came Tim and, well, Dimitry was pretty much finished as far as crowd support. Why do all the Americans love the Brits? I don’t really know, but when Tim’s playing, it’s as if Princess Di were playing. Only more alive and good at tennis. This is apparently his last year but we could only take so much broiling so after one set we set out for the shadier confines of the Grandstand to watch the end of Mardy Fish. I mean, the end of his match. His actual end will probably come in the second round, if history means anything. Also, if history means anything, I’ll be eating some form of ice cream and muttering under my breath while it happens.

We stuck around for a bit to see how the next match would go. Answer: poorly! I’m not sure I have ever seen two such mediocre players face each other across the net. It was Ahsha Rolle (unfortunately dressed in a clingy white number not quite meant for her particular physique) and Karin “you don’t need an Italian name to be Italian” Knapp. It was like they were both too awful to beat the other one. One game went to like six deuces because no one could find a way to win. We gave up counting the unforced errors and began playing “can you guess the airline” with the planes flying over from JFK. Ahsha Rolle “Polle” won but I just found that out now because at a certain point we just couldn’t stand it anymore and left. Alfa went home (it was nearly seven!) and I went on to watch our former Picture of the Day winners, Nathalie “I’m the French one” Dechy and Andy “I’m the Israeli one” Ram. I sat in a big throng of Israelis and a fun time was had by all since Dechy-Ram demolished the glum Russian team 6-1, 6-0. That was the moment I most wished I had my camera as Dechy and Ram were perhaps the smiliest mixed doubles team ever! They looked like they were going to dissolve into giggles the whole match. Plus it was on tiny Court 15 and so I was pretty much standing right next to them. As are many of the other tiny courts, which meant I got to hear all the “Chi Chi Chi, Le Le Le” chants despite the decided lack of any Chileans in my match.

But just because it was 8pm and I had been there nine hours didn’t mean the day was over! No, I went back to the Grandstand to see more mixed doubles with Bob “you can’t tell me from my twin brother Mike” Bryan and Tatiana “sexpot” Golovin play Amer “nice guy” Delic and Corina “nice girl” Morariu. This was hard because I really love three out of four of these players. Bob Bryan is part of the Bryan brothers doubles team and he and his twin are so enthusiastic and energetic, you have to love them! If you don’t you should just be shot. Amer Delic is someone I’ve followed since early in his career when he got a wild card into the Open and impressed Brother2 and I by playing with all his heart despite being almost totally exhausted. Corina Morariu survived cancer and came all the way back to play again. Tatiana Golovin, eh, I could take or leave her. But so it was hard to root! So I didn’t. But it was fun anyway and finally it was time to haul my ice cream filled self home again.

And now for tomorrow’s preview: I was wrong when I said Nalby plays, apparently he will play Friday. Here are some possibles:

Donald “young American guy” Young v. Richard “young French guy” Gasquet
Andy “everyone loves a Brit” Murray v. Jonas “can’t think of a nickname” Bjorkman
Feleciano “hot guy” Lopez v. Igor “half the glum Russian team” Andreev
Bethanie “I don’t know who she is” Mattek v. Shahar “Brother2′s favorite Israeli” Peer

and more!

Naturally, ice cream and sunburn commentary is a given.

~Becca “too tired to think of a song” Jewball


The power of positive thinking

Filed under : Tennis
On August 29, 2007
At 1:30 am
Comments : 4

Well, for an hour there I knew where in the world David Nalbandian was. Right in front of me! The match started around 4pm when I was still toiling at work but I had e-mails from Brother2′s Blackberry. See, he was kind enough to cheer on Nalby in my absence as well as taunt me with statements such as “Something unbelievable happened at the match: Nalbandian won the first set.” Oh ha ha. But as we know, or I know and have told you too many times, Nalbandian never makes things easy for me so I knew there was a good chance it would still be going on when I got there at seven. Which I was determined to do. Never mind that Bob the Triathlete, my companion du jour, had to work late. I pretty much hounded her until she left the office and then dragged her through the streets and subways to the Tennis Center. I mean that was literally how it went: “There’s the train! “I’m right behind you!” “We can make the light!” “I’m right behind you!” “There’s the express, let’s transfer! Hurry, doors are closing!” “I’m right behind you!” And so forth. She said she had never seen me move so fast but that’s only because she’s never seen me in Riverside Park when I’m jogging near an unleashed dog.

When we arrived, they actually weren’t letting nighttime ticket holders into the Grandstand because it was a day session match and was overfilled. Have you ever seen the Brady Bunch episode where Marcia pleads to be let into Davy Jones’ TV taping? “But I’m the president of the Davy Jones fan club! You don’t know what this means to me!” It was kind of like that. “You don’t understand! I wait all year for this! He’s my favorite tennis player! I ran all the way from Manhattan.” To which the guard gave me the most unexpected reply I could imagine. “What is it with people and this Nalbandian guy?” Really? He has other insane fans? Who knew?

Anyway, finally we got in, got primo, if highly uncomfortable, seats, and Bob got to watch bemusedly as I turned into a little kid, alternately stressed out and delighted over my hero. I think the funniest part to her was that I am not a loud cheerer but rather mutter my little Vamoses and Come On Da-veeds under my breath. She has this odd idea that Nalby needs to hear me, rather than the truth as I know it which is that I help him along with MY MIND and so speaking loudly and clearly just isn’t important. What?

But who cares, because he won! Which means I get to watch him again Thursday. And perhaps take some less blurry pictures. If anyone sees him in Manhattan on his off day tomorrow, be sure to ask him about how I helped him with MY MIND.

Then we went shopping where I narrowed down my annual souvenir to three possibles and Bob got an attractive hoodie. My nutritious dinner of the evening this time was a Ben & Jerry’s mint shake after I managed to get it out of the nice Russian kid at the B&J stand that they no longer sell my favorite cookie ice cream sandwich. It went like this. (Make sure to picture the brightest, sunniest smile which he beamed at me after each and every thing he said.)

Me: Do you have am ice cream sandwich?
He: We have ice cream!
Me: But the sandwich? It was like one of you pre-packaged bars, you know?
He: We have bars! (points to illustration of bars)
Me: But the sandwich?
He: (begins to describe all the bars)
Me: Ummm… how much is two scoops?
He: We only sell one scoop.
Me: Really?
He: The cup only comes in one size!
Me: I’ll have a shake.

Luckily, Shrieky had finished her match by then and we got to just watch Andy Rod-Dick and Justin Alef-Bet-Gimelstob play. It was surprisingly close! As were we to the clouds and planes above.

Now, you may have noticed there’s another big sports series going on in New York this week and I did keep track of that via Blackberry. But I think I forgot about it for a bit until I stopped into my local Duane Reade just now to pick up some sunblock for the rest of the week. Understand, there are two budget hotels near me and the DR is at the foot of one of them. It’s usually Europeans but tonight I overheard this conversation between the two Americans ahead of me on line.

College age kid: What’s this store called?
Father-type: Duane Reade
College age kid: That’s what I thought, Duane Reade. Huh.

As you can imagine, I could hardly fathom this conversation. It would kind of be like hearing “What’s this coffee shop called? Oh, Starbucks.” But then the kid turned around and he was wearing a Red Sox shirt and hat. Ah, I gather you’re an out-of-towner visiting for something-or-other.

Tomorrow: Gourmet Alfa, Mardy “Smoked” Fish, and Day 1 of my vacation.

I really wanted Davy Jones’ fabulous “Girl, Look What You’ve Done To me” but it is shockingly unavailable on Napster.


Billie Jean King is not my lover

Filed under : Tennis
On August 28, 2007
At 11:40 am
Comments : 2

And we’re off! Last night Pious B and I set off for Queens to the opening night of the 2007 US Open. For Pi it was the opening night of any year because she’d never, ever been before. I’d like to say she liked it but I can’t. Because she loved it! It was the greatest night of her life! I can’t make this up, people, I got to watch the magic of the Open unfold in front of a new person and it was just lovely. According to Pi it was like sports for clean people! None of those shirtless beer-swillers, no, just preppy people with cocktails.

We started our evening at Louis Armstrong Stadium where we got to see Ana Ivanovic demolish some Japanese chick in her sweet, friendly fashion. Then we cruised the food court to witness the triumph of capitalist pricing schemes before catching a few minutes of Guillermo Canas. I still don’t know who won that match; I’ll look it up after this post.

Then we climbed Everest Arthur Ashe Stadium to take our place next to my Craigslist sale in the nosebleeds. But it was OK! There was a great vibe, legends of soul music (Aretha, Gladys) and Janet Jackson were on hand, and the weather was breezy. We got to see the Williams sisters do what they do while we did what we do (eat big pretzels, talk Flavor of Love and music biz goings-on). Perfect! And now, Pi is a convert to the Church of Tennis. So much so that she made the joke you see in the header. I can’t tell you the context on a family blog, though.

Venus (click to enlarge)

Serena (click to enlarge)

Tonight, Bob the Triathlete and Nalbandian the Losah. Also, Shrieky Sharapova and Andy Rod-Dick.

Title loosely comes from:
Michael Jackson – Billie Jean