It struck me, as I was walking back to my hotel from Melbourne Park tonight, how very sad the week I spend each year at the Australian Open makes me. It makes me sad that every week of my life is not this great. Is there any felicity in the world superior to being at the heart, feeling the pulse, of one of the things one loves most?
No, I didn't think so.
I think I've become so introspective because I got to witness a Federer match tonight, a match where he was in full flight and it was so incredibly beautiful it was almost painful. Yes, I know I am waxing poetic about a second round match where the opponent wasn't that great, but there is something incredibly special about being there, seeing that ball come off his racquet and knowing that he knows he's going to win.
He was absolutely sublime tonight - fifty two winners to seventeen unforced errors. He made the point himself that his opponent's style - this was Victor Hanescu, for those of you who are unaware - allowed him to play this way, but it didn't make it any less beautiful. After the nerviness of the Andreev match, this was a total breath of fresh air.
And it is always an honour to watch this man play. Even Prince William thought so. (Kudos to the prince, by the way - he was great with the crowd tonight. Though I suppose he's had some practice with crowds).
His post match interview with Jim Courier was also good fun - and Mirka was a very good sport about it as well. And it was just SUCH A FESGASMIC MATCH.
Okay. Federer drooling over now.
There was actually another match in the night session... it just wasn't very interesting. Seriously, the sesh started out with the sublime and ended up with the so-boring-it-was-ridiculous. Seriously, whose fool idea was it to put Dellacqua/Sprem on Rod Laver Arena. That match belongs on Court 11. Or something. Margaret Court Arena, max. But Laver? When there are Williamses and all other kinds of interesting women?
I did stay for the whole match, I confess, but it was more nostalgia than anything else, as it was my last night on Rod Laver Arena. I'll be wandering the grounds again tomorrow, but the night sesh will be viewed from the comfort of my hotel room. If only Kuznetsova were on tonight instead of them! Seriously, Dellacqua/Sprem was the most boring match I have ever witnessed. It was dull in the first half and then WTA-typical (read: no one could hold serve) in the second. Dellacqua won in two tiebreakers. I think. I might have fallen asleep.
I did catch some good tennis around the grounds during the day, however... though I was very, very disappointed in my WTA fave Sabine Lisicki, who I saw crash out in the second round to Alberta Brianti. Seriously, Sabine? I expected so much more of you. I want to take you and Ernests Gulbis and put you on a tennis court with Larry Stefanki and not let you both out again until you stop doing stupid things, like making 3028402834 errors per match.
So that was disappointing - as was Yaroslava Shvedova's loss to Tathiana Garbin. I caught the first set of this, which Shvedova won, but evidently there was a bit of a crashing and burning incident when I left. Iveta Benesova was also disappointing - I expected her to lose to Vera Zvonareva, but I caught some of this match, and Benesova added a lot of losing to Vera's winning.
Oh. Ana Ivanovic. It's impossible for her to disappoint me any more, because I have no expectations. But she did even worse than last year. Yeesh.
In the 'not disappointing' camp, I saw the first two sets of Nikolay Davydenko versus Illya Marchenko, and JMDP was not lying when he said that Kolya plays like Playstation. Seriously, he got so many balls back it was just not funny. And he's developed a really excellent sliding serve which I haven't seen from him before - Marchenko got no play on it at all. I think there's a possible Verdasco/Davydenko fourth round clash, and I would be really interested to see how this turns out. Nando is in pretty decent nick himself, but this is a different Kolya to the one we've seen before...
But match of the day on the outside grounds for me definitely went to Almagro/Becker on Court 8, which Almagro took in five. This was a real battle of different styles (and fans!) and I was sad to see Becker-no-relation lose it, to tell the truth. Almagro on hard courts doesn't really do it for me, and he was no good at all last year. But it was an extraordinarily entertaining match - and that is what tennis is all about!
Oh, and addendum - only interesting thing to come out of the Dellacqua match. Marcos Baghdatis was in Karolina Sprem's box. THEY ARE SO DATING.
3 months ago