Güten tag. Greetings from the grass of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany.
Once again I shall be bringing you reports, photos and videos from this tournament.
I found my way easy enough from my hotel, a nice 20-minute stroll to start the day. The first think that struck me when I arrived was the size of the place; it is huge compared to Queen’s. There are lots of different stalls selling tennis clothes, racquets etc to food stands that have everything from ice cream to a butchers! Yes, there is a butcher selling all kinds of meat at a tennis tournament!
The first thing I did when I arrived was put my name on the list for the Players Party tonight. Once I got myself settled at my desk in the press centre I went off to find the press seating and more importantly, the refreshments.
I found the press café and they have two tall freestanding fridges. One has the usual water, coke etc and the other has lots of German beer!! Resisting the temptation to spend all my time here I left in search of Court 1. It is attached to the main court so literally around the corner.
It is a nice sized court with a decent amount of seating. The seats were wet from a previous downpour and the grounds staff were drying off each seat, which I thought was a nice gesture.
The match between Seppi & Stepanek started but didn’t last long; the rain had followed me from Paris! 3 games in and play was stopped with Stepanek up one break. As the centre court here has a roof I moved to that court and the match between Zverev and Granollers. Like with Court 1 I was impressed with the main arena. Even though the stadium is big the seats at the very back do not look too far away from the court.
On with the match and my God Granollers makes a horrible noise when he hits the ball, it is very off putting and it changes pitch dependent on the scoreline! I caught the tail end of the match, from 3-3 in the 1st set until 4-1 in the 2nd. During my look around the court I spotted Milos Raonic watching the action. A quick stop at the press centre to upload the photos so far and to start this report then I was ready to go back and watch the next match, Smyczek v Mayer.
Arrived mid-set and just in time to see Florian slip on the grass not once but twice. He was ok and carried on. The roof was now open and the sun showed up too. Mayer held on to his break and took the 1st set 6-4. As the weather was getting better I decided to go back to the match I watched earlier, Seppi v Stepanek.
I made a detour to the café for another drink (water!) and lunch was being served. I thought I might as well take advantage so sat down for some rice & veggies.
I made it to court for the start of the tiebreak, though I had to watch through other people and from the stairs so the view wasn’t very clear, anyway I found a good seat at the start of the 2nd set. Very good play from both players, some great points at the net with both equally up for the chance to hit a winner. Seppi found the break in the 3rd game and it was match on! The good play continued for the rest of the set without anyone conceding a break. It’s now 1-1 and I take this as my time to move back to Centre.
Viktor was just about to take the 1st set 6-2 when I arrived so I thought it might not be long before the next match. I was kinda wrong as Benjamin got himself together and took the set in to a tiebreak. He had the upper hand too but was not able to capitalise but when Troicki had the chance he took it to wrap up the match 6-2 7-6 (6).
Another stop at the press café, please realise that I have to walk past the café to get anywhere from the press seating, I am not going there deliberately. This time they were serving cake so I thought it rude to pass up on having a slice along with some lovely squirty cream.
I then went back to the press centre to type some more of this report and upload some more photos. Whilst I was waiting I watched Haas v Tomic on the TV screen. I see that another player took a tumble on the centre court, this time Haas on breakpoint but he won it.
And what is this, I glance up at the screen to what is happening and Tomic is there at the umpire’s chair shaking hands! At least this means I will get a chance to see Tommy on Thursday. I attended his press conference, which was mostly in German. The English questions he did answer were about being handed a WC for Wimbledon and what Tomic had said to him. He was very grateful for the WC and Bernard told him in the locker room that he had been sick since the French Open and was not feeling too well on court.
So that was that so I went back to the hotel to get ready for the Players Party later tonight.