It took me three tries to find where I was supposed to park my car. The first try led me down a road that I needed to turn around on, but couldn’t, because there was a cop stationed at every feasible location. Ten minutes later, and many curse words later, I found my way into the proper parking lot.
The first person I saw when I walked in the gates of the Citi Open was Julien Benneteau. That’s always a good start.
This is the Changeover headquarters for the next week:
And here’s your obligatory pic of me and Linz :
After I settled into the media center, I went to take in Juan Martin del Potro’s practice session.
A huge crowd was gathered outside Delpo’s practice court as he hit with Franco Davin.
“You know, he won the US Open,” a guy behind me informed his friend.
“He’s abnormally tall,” a teenager said.
Delpo slapped a ton of forehands, and really unleashed on one of them, cracking a signature cross-court winner.
“You’re not hitting hard enough, Delpo, come on,” someone yelled.
It was a quiet practice. Neither Delpo nor Davin uttered more than 10 words the entire time. Davin stood inside the service box, hitting serves from that point to simulate a big ATP serve so Delpo could practice his returns.
As he was hitting volleys, Delpo dumped a forehand into the net. “No!” he howled. He slammed a ball out of the court, over the fence. And then he smiled.
He was mobbed by a long line of kids asking for autographs as he left the court.
Next on the docket was Mardy Fish’s three-set win over Matt Ebden.
Mardy looked rusty in the first set, dropping it, 6-2, but he rebounded nicely with a 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 win. I enjoyed watching him hit big forehands live — cameras don’t do it justice.
I took in the end of Andrea Petkovic’s win over Jessica Pegula. She was wearing some amazing orange shoes:
For my last match of the day, I watched the end of Sloane Stephens vs. Olga Puchkova. Stephens was hitting error after error, her frustration obvious. She rolled her eyes after she lost.
In press, when asked about the fact that she does better at the slams than she does at the smaller tournaments, Stephens tried to spin it into a positive.
“Everyone says its a bad thing, but I’m like, isn’t that the point?”
And that’s a wrap for day one.