Tag Archives: Roger Federer

Reliving a Trip of a Lifetime; Attending the 2016 Miami Open

Hello everyone! Last year I had the opportunity to experience the Miami Open in Key Biscayne for the first time in my life for five days. What an experience it was. It made me realize I had to come back again ASAP and this year I did something I couldn’t have imagined would happen so soon but I made it work: attending this great event for nearly the whole two weeks. 12 days to be exact; including my first ever final on the WTA side. It was absolutely incredible. The best part was Petra was here this time after sadly skipping it last year due to fatigue and needing a mental break from tennis. No event is the same without her. That was the only negative of last year but all was well this time! I will try to recap all of my greatest moments here, any fun stories while on the trip, what it was like to be here for an amazing 12 days, and anything else I can think of! Hope you enjoy reading!

First a quick background for you, I stayed about an hour and 15 minutes from the park and with the traffic it added up to about 1.5 hours every day there and back. Compared to Cincy where the drive is only about 20 minutes for me every day. I don’t know how many of you do something like this when you are attending live events but it’s not something I see people do often. I told some fans here about this and they were stunned I would do that. Some people within a half hour of Miami even wouldn’t dare to tackle that traffic everyday like that it’s so rough. The traffic in Miami is one of the worst in the country and that was easily the toughest part of every day. I’m a good driver though no worries. Doesn’t mean that everyone else there is though 😉

Not much changed from last year regarding the scenery, player access, practice schedule chaos and such and most of that is never a bad thing. As always, coming in my mind was set on getting to see as much of my favorites up close as possible and I think I accomplished that mission in a huge way. I saw at least one of them every single day except the first day and the last so it definitely made the trip that much more enjoyable. One of the funniest things about coming every day was some of the staff members especially the parking and ticket people started to recognize me pretty easily. Like every day I came through it was “back again?” Or “Welcome back nice to see you again!” I brought the same stuff every day a little green bag and a camera so it wasn’t the hardest to spot me out I guess.

One of my favorite parts of last year was media day and how close I got to be to Simo as she did various interviews; most of which were funny and interesting so plenty of smiles were involved. This year was no different. This is a very rare time at an event where you get to be up close to players where they aren’t so serious practicing or playing a match and just relaxing and talking and having a good time. It’s quite exciting to watch and just in case you didn’t know, Kvitty and Simo are every bit as relaxed, beautiful and smiley as they seem on TV 🙂

Two moments stood out on this day that were pretty hard to describe how amazing they were but I’ll try. First, right before media day started at about 11 I was walking around looking at the practice courts for my faves because that’s what I always do during a lot of my time. Like last year, the practice schedule was nowhere to be found anywhere so you basically had to walk around to every court every hour to have a chance to find someone you wanted to see practicing. There’s two sections of practice courts, one near the entrance and one way across towards the back of the park so they were far apart. It just created much more work for people to walk all of that way back and forth. That’s the one huge flaw this event has but to give them credit, it was only for the first 4 days or so. Then they had the schedule viewable to the public.

Anyway, the first story. Like I said I was walking around the practice courts and all of a sudden I hear Simo’s grunt and I’m like really… Looking at the time it was just about 11 so I figured I missed all of it. I literally stopped in my tracks and ran over there and sure enough, just as I got there they were walking off. So I found an open spot by the gate where they come out and since there weren’t too many fans around, I got a selfie. That’s never happened and I never expected to get a selfie from a fave after missing their whole practice but that’s how it went and I’m not complaining. (Well I would’ve liked to see some of the practice at least) Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good as they say.

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During media day another moment I’ve dreamed about for the longest time happened for a brief moment.  Kvitty was the first to do her interviews and I was watching her do them and it was of course mesmerizing to watch, and I quick turn around a little to the right of me and pretty much right next to me Simo is standing there! No warning! Kvitalep were so close to each other and I was right in the middle of it bye. She went upstairs shortly after but I have to say that alone was worth the trip. I was screaming inside and not breathing I’m not kidding. You just have to know me and something like that does not come around often if ever. Even if it was for a second.

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I also watched Petra practice that day which was great as always. The stunning part was that she practiced with Genie that day and she’s probably at the bottom of the list of people you’d expect Petra to practice with but it happened. It was just a bit awkward I have to say… Not very long after that I saw fed practice on stadium court and what a delight that was. It was funny because Lucie was on before him and at the end of her practice while she was still hitting, fed came on and the crowd roared and she was laughing because it just happened suddenly. They passed each other later and there may have been some other words exchanged who knows. As for Roger’s practice, it was great to see him back in action after a couple months missed due to a knee injury sustained after the Australian Open. This practice was the highlight of my experience with him here because I didn’t get to see much else of him sadly the rest of the event after he pulled out of his first match with a stomach virus. He was crisp, moving great and happy, he put on a nice show for the fans.

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I had many selfies during this event and the perfect day regarding selfies came on the third day when I got selfies with Kvitty, Simo, and Lucie. All came out pretty good I have to say. Kvitty and Lucie practiced together that day and I was a bit surprised I could get pics with both considering it doesn’t always work that way if they come out at the same time. I also told Petra about me being in the fan book she got for her birthday and she smiled and said it was very nice. We knew that but I doubt she expected someone in it to say something to her about it so soon after she read it. I was just glad to put a smile on her face because she put so many on mine 🙂

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The next day was the first match day for Kvitty and Simo but I think those will all be separate articles like I’ve been doing since those are a whole different story. But it’s always an amazing experience seeing those two play live, it is such a joy. Win or lose it’s a dream come true.

The best day of the whole tournament I have to say was the exact day I could’ve hoped it would be; my birthday. I was hoping before it started that Kvitty and/or Simo could’ve played on it but neither did which was fine since it probably was better they didn’t considering what happened. The beginning of the day was a bit strange because I thought Petra’s practice was at 11 so I started to go over to her court at about 10:45 but checked the practice schedule again just to make sure. In yet another misunderstanding it was actually from 10-1130 so it wasn’t the end of the world since I could see the second half of it still, but I was just a bit annoyed that I missed some of it again.

Anyway, I watched her practice and it was easily the best one I saw of the week as she was laughing constantly with her relaxed and goofy team. When it’s not a match day you can expect a little more of this and it didn’t disappoint. My favorite part was when they threw around a nerf football and Petra threw it over the fence and they lost it. Boy that got some great laughs 🙂 Most of you know what happened after but I can’t ever say it enough how happy and amazed I was during it all. I came into the day hoping I could get a birthday wish from her and I told her it was my birthday and she did indeed wish me a happy birthday and then I had a picture of her and she was very nice to write happy birthday on that I was just speechless pretty much. After she signed it I was too out of it and in awe to get a selfie but that didn’t matter. I tried to take a video of her doing something else after it was over and if you ever see it, you can tell how much I’m shaking because I still couldn’t believe what happened.

I could’ve tried to tweet her for a birthday wish and probably wouldn’t have got it, and even if I did it wouldn’t have been anything close to as special as one in person. Like I said I will never be grateful enough I had the opportunity to do this; the fact I could even see her hitting and smiling right in front of me on my birthday was such a great gift already. She is such a wonderful human being as I already knew to take the time to do those things for me, to make a dream come true. It’s so normal for her to be nice but we appreciate it so much for every little thing she does because she never has to be perfect for everybody, it’s just in her nature.  I can look at this photo forever and remember exactly what happened and remember it actually did happen, it wasn’t a dream. My year had been made thanks to her and usually she makes it anyway. I want to praise her much more but can’t because it would take way too long 🙂

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Simo practiced later in the day and I tried the exact same thing but there were much more people so I didn’t say it because it wouldn’t feel like the right moment. I got the picture I wanted most signed though by her and that was her gift to me 🙂 I received two perfect birthday presents.

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Last but not least about this day, I want to say thank you again to every single person who wished me a happy birthday it means a lot. I am lucky to be a part of such great fandoms and not just for Kvitty and Simo but everyone else on tennis twitter that I’ve gotten to know. You make it all more exciting for me and I’m thankful there are people who are so kind enough to say nice things to me and I always want to do the same for you when I get the chance. Much love to all of you 🙂

It was kind of a surreal feeling once we got to the second week because pretty much every event is only a week long besides slams and these in March. Plus, the longest I ever stayed at a tournament was five days so when I woke up on the second Monday it was quite a feeling to have another week of tennis left. Not all of my faves were still there but more tennis is never a bad thing. I have to say it was a bit tougher walking around the grounds once Petra was no longer there but I knew this wasn’t her best event and she might not be there long. The week I had with her was everything I could ever wanted.

The hardest day of the week for me besides my last day of the trip was the day after Simo lost and I had no more faves left. In fairness, I was happy with nine days with them and I can’t say I totally expected that many so I was satisfied. However, it stung walking around the grounds without any of them to look forward to. They make every event even better and it was just kind of an empty feeling. Also by this point all of the practice courts were pretty much empty most of the day and that was depressing too. When you know the end is near… but at least there was still great tennis to be played for those that were left!

The last part I want to share with you is my last day which was the day of the women’s final. I had never been to a final before so I thought it would be cool to try it once even probably knowing that neither of my faves were going to be in it. I’m an optimistic person yes but with their form not quite where it needs to be yet, it was hard to expect it. I didn’t care because I knew it’d be fun either way. The only weird thing was there was a possibility that my drive there could be longer than the actual final and I think the final was only a few minutes longer. Knowing who was in it and how the two players were playing, the result never surprised me as Vika was on a mission and wasn’t going to let Sveta get another upset. It was clear from the beginning she would win in straights as most could expect. She gave a nice speech after she won and I congratulate her for a spectacular month of March. Her matches against Garbine and Angie were the best ones I saw here so I’m glad she was able to play well throughout this event.

Then, the saddest part of the whole trip was leaving Crandon Park for the last time and knowing I wouldn’t be back for a whole year and that’s a maybe. Still, the memories that were created for me during these two weeks were unforgettable. I had a brilliant run here and I knew it would end eventually no matter I didn’t want it to. I lived the dream. That’s as best as I can say. I saw the top players in the world play and my favorite people right in front of my eyes as I dream every day. I only hope other fans can experience something like this because you all deserve it. I thank all of my friends on twitter who experienced this ride through me and all of my favorites who gave me things so hard to imagine. It wasn’t all about the results, you just have to hope for the best in that regard. Seeing their personalities up close and their friendliness is what mattered most. I got it all.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed and hope you all get to experience your favorites in the near future and enjoy them like I did!

Recapping the Wild Ride of the 2015 Slams: Featuring Rog, Kvitty and Simo

It really is amazing how fast the tennis season always goes, and yet again here we are looking at the tail end of it as all four slams have now been completed. I thought it might be fun to recap the highs and lows I experienced with my faves during the slams, and a little preview of what 2016 might hold. Hope you enjoy!

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Roger Federer

The king finished with the best year at the slams out of my faves I would say as he made an RG QF and two finals at Wimbledon and U.S. Open sadly losing both to Novak. However, it doesn’t take away anything from an amazing season he had as he continues to defy the odds and compete at such an extraordinary level despite his age and no doubt seems to be primed to get more chances next year.

Favorite match: Defeating Andy Murray in the Wimbledon SFs. This is the one match of his career these days where he might not get the most crowd support. Against the UK’s own Andy Murray. I knew the match would be electric and a very tough one and Fed just silenced all doubters he had with brilliant tennis to not even let Andy into this match. He won all the key points and failed to let this one go into a tiebreaker as I if I remember correctly he broke all three sets to win them. It’s always a glorious feeling to see him get another chance in a grand slam final to try for the elusive 18th.

Proudest moment: Getting to his second grand slam final at the U.S. Open as he hadn’t been there in six years and again he played brilliant tennis to get there by not dropping a set. Unfortunately it had to be against Novak again, and he failed to take the many chances he had in that match en route to losing but still, I couldn’t have been more proud to see him reach two slam finals in an age where people are still doubting him. I’m sure the doubters fueled his fire, but he doesn’t need them as he’s got all the supporters he could ever want as you could tell if you watched the final. Keep slaying.

Most disappointing moment: Not a hard choice here as he opened his grand slam year losing to Andreeas Seppi in a heartbreaker in the third round at the Australian Open. This is where the haters came out and wondered if his chances were gone because this is another slam that he is usually strong at as he had made 11 straight SF appearances here before this loss. Seppi played out of his mind though and sometimes there’s nothing you can do. His shot on match point to clinch the victory proved it as it was an insane passing shot that I just stared in disbelief after it all unfolded. It sucked a lot because this is my favorite slam and I always believe in great things here. Oh well, he made up for it later in the year and I’m sure next year will be back to normal.

Favorite outfit: His night outfit at the U.S. Open! White and hot pink.

Grade for 2015 slams: A-. Sure he had a hiccup in one and lost two finals but the fact that he got there was amazing and I’m satisfied with this year despite not having a trophy. I’m just happy to see him playing so well year after year.

Predictions for 2016 slams: If he plays anything close to the level he showed this year, I can see him winning his 18th. Wimbledon always has to be the best chance so I’ll say he’ll win that. I’ll predict an AO final, RG SF, and USO final at the other slams. That is another dream year and I hope I’m not too greedy! Just my thoughts though, I’d be happy with something similar to this year, but please try to win one! No pressure.

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Petra Kvitova

Favorite match: Wimbledon Round 1 vs Kiki Bertens. Regardless of how this tournament turned out, this was a very cool moment as she destroyed Bertens in only 36 minutes. That’s pretty ridiculous and it barely gave us enough time to get our teeth into the match. If only she could win every match like that, we’d be the calmest fans in the world. However, we are exactly the opposite of that with her, but at least we had this fun moment to enjoy.

Proudest moment: Defeating Johanna Konta to reach her first USO QFs. I think it’s safe to say a lot of us were a bit surprised she made it this far especially with her mono and all, and then she goes ahead and scores this big win to continue the amazing journey. Her reaction was priceless as it wasn’t one you might see in an average straight sets win in R16 but one you could tell how much it meant to her to achieve something new in her career after all these years. It’s kind of like at New Haven when she said “When a win is more than a win” It felt like that here too. I couldn’t have been more proud despite her next match because we had already gotten something new and maybe unexpected. It also gave us hope for the upcoming years here that anything is possible.

Most disappointing moment: Another very easy choice as it had to be losing to Jelena Jankovic in the third round of Wimbledon. She came into this as the defending champion of course and seemed poised to be another huge threat to defend her title, but it wasn’t meant to be. It hurt even more as she cruised through the first set and a half, up a break in the second, but everything fell apart after that, and we were soon left crushed. No doubt it had to really hurt for her too as this is easily her favorite tournament in the world and she is always used to being here at least through the QFs. There were a bunch of depressing photos after this one and all of us felt very bad because of how much it means; just a sad sight overall. However, it’s just one bad year and I think she has a great chance to lift up the trophy again next year!

Favorite outfit: Her night outfit at the U.S. Open. Back in black!

Grade for 2015 slams: B- It was a bit of bumpy road for Kvitty this year as it always is but still there were some huge positives to take out of this year. She made the third round at the AO for the first time since 2012, the second week at RG for the first time since 2012 as well, and made her first career QF at the U.S. Open. So if anything, it gives us some extra hope for those events for next year where we usually might not expect much. I’m sure a lot of us will take what we got besides the Wimbledon result.

Predictions for 2016 slams: It’s basically throwing darts when it comes to predicting anything with Petra, but I’ll try. I think the second week is doable for AO, I still feel RG isn’t quite where it needs to be and could see another R3 but we’ll see. Think she’ll win Wimbledon again barring any health concerns, and a SF in New York to complete the SF slam!

on day one of the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros on May 24, 2015 in Paris, France.
on day one of the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros on May 24, 2015 in Paris, France.

Simona Halep

Favorite match: Defeating Victoria Azarenka at the U.S. Open. This was such a good match and I couldn’t help but see over and over again before this tournament and match started that Vika was the favorite to overtake Serena. It was nice to see Simo prove everyone wrong and say not so fast and pull off this huge win, especially after her huge grind against Lisicki the match before. Her reactions to winning this one were unforgettable and it was amazing to see the passion and excitement she had after this one after making her first U.S. Open SF. Sure it abruptly ended the match after but this was a fun journey with great memories and she’ll be back next year ready to get another chance at a trophy.

Proudest moment: Same as favorite match. Just the fact she was able to come through all adversity against her to survive this one. This was the happiest I was after one of her slam matches this year, so fun to watch and I won’t forget it anytime soon

Most disappointing moment: Unfortunately Simo’s slam season wasn’t too great and there were a lot of these. I’ll pick the RG loss because it was crushing to see it end like that so early after reaching the final last year. I had very high hopes she could make it again but she ran into the same force that knocked her out in New York last year in Lucic-Baroni. It’s a player we don’t want to see in future grand slams please. I still think she could’ve went very deep in RG had that not been her opponent because it seems there’s a bit of a mental block against her now but we’ll never know. This was identical to Petra’s loss at Wimbledon because this is Simo’s favorite event and she surely had to be pretty hurt after this one. Like we always say though, next year super Simo will be back and ready to make the final again and perhaps win it!

Favorite outfit: The black one at RG and I thought her visor with the flower in it was the coolest thing ever! Black suits her well and wished we could’ve seen it longer!

Grade for 2015 slams: D. This is a pretty bad grade but it fits. She made the QFs in AO yes but played one of her worst matches of the season there as she even admits she didn’t fight and doesn’t know why. At least in the other losses she tried to fight harder. RG was ugly and Wimbledon was uglier; no comment. At least we had the joy of her big run in USO to salvage the grand slam season. There is no doubt in my mind however that next year won’t be anything like this.

Predictions for 2016 slams: I’m thinking she’ll make the SFs in Australia and her loss will be a hard fought this time. It’s hard to quite know what to expect in the summer but I believe it’s destiny for Simo to win her first GS at RG so I’ll predict her to win that. I think a Wimbledon QF would be a good expectation as it’s not like she isn’t a good grass court player; there’s potential there. I think she’ll win the USO too! Two slams for Simo woah I should settle down! You can yell jinx at me but I know y’all would love this too!

My Path to the Tennis World

I saw someone write about this and it got me to think about how I was introduced to tennis and how I came to know and love my favorite players today. For starters, as far as sports went in my early life, I played baseball all the way until high school and I watched football too so those were the only sports I really knew about. I sucked at basketball and didn’t like it and couldn’t skate so hockey was out of the equation. So I figured baseball and football were all I’d ever know and that’s typical for an American.

I go to Florida once in a while to visit my grandparents and they have a ton of tennis courts right next to them and in 2005 or 06 when I went there was the first time I ever played tennis. It was pretty fun and over a span of a few trips there I found out I wasn’t too bad at it and wanted to know as much about the sport as possible.

So that’s the part about how I first found out about tennis and started to get into it, but I still wondered about the professional level because I figured there had to be pros for this since I knew all of the other sports I watched of course had them. I can’t remember much about it, but I do recall the first ever professional match I watched a big chunk of was in 2007- the Australian Open final between Fernando Gonzalez and Roger Federer. That was my first glimpse at Roger and I just remember he had all these cool shots and I didn’t know how a tennis player could possibly do this. That wasn’t the moment I became a fed fan, but it was a start.

My tennis viewing was kind of sporadic back in the day so I don’t remember watching another match until the next Australian Open which turned out to be my favorite grand slam and still is, probably because I enjoyed getting to stay up late and watch tennis because it usually goes from like 6 pm to 6 am every night where I live. 2008 was the first year I remember setting alarms at 230 am to watch tennis J I only remember a few things about this tournament, and one was seeing Jo Wilfred Tsonga upset Andy Murray in the first round and I was really shocked at that because I knew very little about Tsonga. I was intrigued to see his run continue all the way to the final, even crushing Nadal in the SFs which I was so amazed by because I knew Nadal was really good. I watched the final and was rooting for him to beat Novak because I liked his Cinderella story but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

At this point I still didn’t watch much tennis I’m not sure why. In 2008, besides the AO I only remember watching the Wimbledon final between Federer and Nadal and again, there was something about Roger I just liked. The one-handed backhand was new to me because I hadn’t seen many use it. I remember a lot of rain delays in this one, and how dark it was, making it seem more epic to me and this was the first mini disappointment I faced as a tennis fan when he lost.

I’m skipping to 2011 because I honestly can’t remember a whole lot of what happened during the previous span. Yes Roger did some amazing things during that span of 2009-2011 but for some reason it didn’t hook me in. In case you hadn’t noticed, I haven’t mentioned anything WTA related yet and that’s because it didn’t appeal to me at all. The only time I knew anything about it was when I watched a little of the slams and took a quick glance at who the champion was and that was it. However, one WTA match I remember pretty well was Petra Kvitova vs Sam Stosur at the 2011 AO. More details of that in the Petra section 😉 Anyway I remember watching Novak win another AO and I was thinking: Why are Novak and Nadal winning all of the AOs and not Roger? (Yes I know he won in 2010 but like I said, I don’t remember much of it) Maybe that’s why it took me a while to become a full time Fed fan because he wasn’t winning the AO every year.

So oddly enough, I went into another tennis hiatus in 2011 after the AO of course. I mean I knew a tiny bit about the slam winners but that was just about it. So now I want to talk about 2012 because that’s the first year I started to watch a lot of tennis outside of the Australian Open, and I officially found the first 2 of my 3 favorites. Now I’m going to make a section for each one so you see their stories individually, if you’re interested.

Roger Federer

So this was my only favorite I had seen a decent amount of before I actually really started to like them. Of course it started with the 2012 AO and I was steadily following his run and remember his match against crowd favorite and up and comer Bernard Tomic and was impressed how easily he won that match. After that, the match that sealed the deal was the SF against Nadal. I already knew these two had played many great matches before and I felt like Nadal had won so many of the recent ones. I was wondering when Roger was gonna get back on top and I surely thought this time was it. This was the first time I was actually heavily invested in a match and it was disappointing to see it end how it did after Roger won the first set.

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However, I still knew after that match I was with Roger for good this time. He was too much of a fighter and too talented for me to think he wouldn’t win at least one more slam in his career and I wanted to be a part of it when he did. Over the years I learned how classy, nice and funny he was and he seemed like a really strong guy determined to silence everyone who thought it was time for him to retire. I loved the passion he had to keep playing despite his age, because it’s harder than it looks.

Petra Kvitova-

Ok so if you read my earlier sections, I mentioned the match she played against Stosur at 2011 AO. That was not the moment I became a fan, but the first time I saw her play. My first impressions of her were that she’s kind of strange? She is making these weird barking noises, and the braces… lol sorry but I didn’t hate her, I just hadn’t seen someone like that yet. But boy could she crush the hell out of a tennis ball, and I was in awe.

However, after that match I never saw her play another match in 2011 despite that being the best year of her career, including a grand slam of course. So back we go to 2012, and again I still hadn’t been too much into WTA but it was the SFs of AO and I thought I’d catch a sneak peek. Guess who was on the screen… Yup Kvitty and she was ranked way higher than last AO and she looked different from what I last remembered. She still possessed that same power and I knew Sharapova was good, but the screaming was always annoying and again I wanted to root for the underdog (even though maybe Petra was a favorite?) This match did not convert me into a full fan either, but I knew I’d be seeing more of her soon.

I watched her again at the French Open and I was impressed with the run she was making there, and during this time is where I started to do a little more research about her and her personality. I started to learn how adorable, funny and shy she was, and her voice was just the cutest thing ever, I’m sorry I can’t help it. Her English still wasn’t the best and she tried pretty hard you could tell and it was sweet. Anyway, during this tournament a fun fact for you: Petra was the first tennis player I ever tweeted to, ATP or WTA. (Yes I checked the archives, she was really the first) Surely that’s some sort of sign right? 😉

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I was even more invested in her rematch with Maria in the FO SF and again I was left disappointed. I still didn’t watch her full-time, mainly the slams and the US tournaments because they were on TV. I remember watching another tough defeat to Serena at Wimbledon, and while all these tough GS losses were not easy to handle, it was still great she was playing like this.

Another great experience was seeing her get her first title with me as a fan, in Montreal. I only saw the title match because ESPN usually only shows SF/Final matches with these kind of tournaments, same with New Haven when she won that week too. But it was really cool to enjoy that moment, you don’t forget your first title as a fan.

2013 was my first year of full-time tennis watching. FANBOY ALERT: (And 2013 was also the year I realized Petra was a total hottie as well. She was still nice before, but I’m not sure what happened, her beauty struck me very hard what can I say. I like every other single thing about her don’t get me wrong, but this girl is smokin all of the time) Ignore me if you didn’t come for that part, I am so sorry. But really… don’t even try to argue it 🙂

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Aaaaanyway… I was hooked and I wasn’t going on any hiatuses. Of course that was the year Petra and Roger had horrible years for the most part; it got better at the very end but it wasn’t that pretty. They only won a combined 3 titles that year and only a combined two slam QFs or better out of 8 tries, but I think this was a good test for me. It showed that no matter how bad things get for my favorites, I will stick with them and getting through that year really helped me handle some of the tough losses this year as well.

Simona Halep-

Ok so this is probably the weirdest story of my favorites. Simona was one of those players who came out of nowhere and started winning all of these titles in 2013. The first time I ever saw her play was against Petra in the New Haven final that year. I had honestly never heard of her before and thought Petra would be able to win kind of easily. Boy was I wrong. Simona crushed Petra and that was really tough for me to see, I was so surprised and confused. Just one of those off days for Petra and Simona took advantage.

Simona Halep of Romania after beating Petra Kvitova in the final of the New Haven Open

This is where it gets interesting. After that win, I literally hated Simona so much… I wanted nothing to do with her. My opinion was, I’m glad I didn’t know you before and now you crushed my favorite player so stay far away from me. And as she kept improving and winning tournaments, I saw her fans keep popping up out of nowhere running their mouth like she was the best to ever play and she was about to take over the world. I couldn’t stand their cockiness, and sadly that’s a lot of the reason why I hated Simona for a while, and it wasn’t even her fault.

Even this year, 2014, when she started the year in Sydney my hate was still strong. I remember how happy I was when Madison Keys beat her in the first round, to silence her fans. The key part of this was because I hated her, I didn’t watch any of her matches, I only followed her results.

She kept advancing in the Australian Open this year and she eventually got through to a R16 matchup with Jelena Jankovic who was pretty good I thought. I decided I’d give her a chance and see what she was all about again. She ended up beating Jelena and I was impressed but not totally thrilled either. But then I won’t ever forget what first lead me on the path to #TeamHalep. Her winning reaction. It sounds a bit odd but it was really awesome and I saw how happy this girl was to make her first QFs of a slam and wondered, how can I hate this girl? She has a nice smile too 🙂  Literally that reaction put a smile on my face. The reaction and some of my tweets to prove it:

GwvOA.St.4

oldmemtweets5 oldmemtweets4

 

It took me a little while longer after that to become a full-time Simo fan. It wasn’t really until March where I really became a fan. I barely remember her Doha title; all I know was that I was happy she won because I knew I still liked her. I found out more about her and she is just so lovely and cute and a wonderful smile like I said before. Of course she has a great game style too with a world-class backhand and her defense can be insane. My first great experience with her was of course her wonderful run at the FO and I still can’t believe how close she was to having a slam trophy in her collection right now. The first and only title I experienced as a true fan was a very small one in Bucharest, but I’ve had many other great moments as her fan, and I know she will collect many more trophies down the road.

So that’s my story. I don’t know how much you guys read but I hope you all enjoyed learning about how I first got into tennis and how my favorites became my favorites. Any thoughts or comments are appreciated! Thanks for reading and have a great day!