Instead: bullet points, and more photo highlights. (Full album is here. How did I manage to take over 100 (almost) in-focus photos? I'm impressed with my technologically backward self. And with auto-focus.)
- Rafa was late. Naturally. After Team CuteAdorableAwwShucks was introduced, Marc emerged, bag slung over one shoulder. But wait? Where's Rafa? Marc didn't appear to notice that his partner wasn't with him until he'd nearly crossed the court. He paused briefly and did a double-take, and then calmly continued walking. The crowd gave a gentle, knowing belly laugh. Not surprisingly, ours was a very pro-Rafa crowd.
- Ah, here he is. Carrying every single thing he owns.
- Rafa and Marc immediately began to chatter-- and didn't stop until the match was over. My favorite conversations to watch were the ones where Rafa was working both eyebrows independently and/or when Marc was doing that thing he does when he leans in toward Rafa with the top half of his body while simultaneously pulling away with the lower half, as if torn between talking animatedly (and at length) with his pal and rushing to the net to hit a volley.
- The first thing Rafa did after taking the court was remove a very large moth from the behind the baseline. (These moths were approximately the size of bunny rabbits and flew around all week, occasionally banging into one's nose or left cheekbone.) He brought the bug over and set it down gently in front of the front row (my row). Women squealed. Rafa grinned a mischevious grin, similar to the one below (which I believe came after a particularly fine tomahawk forehand), but more tongue-in-cheek:
- Marc hit himself in the head with a Rafa forehand. He un-crouched a moment too soon at net, and whammo. The shot bounced off the top of Marc's head and over the net, whereupon Radek headed it back. Another crowd-wide belly laugh. Marc smiled a sincere, slightly concussed, smile.
- Marc got a blister. Rafa was intrigued.
- Rafa occasionally made fierce as-if-he-were-playing-singles faces.
- Rafa toweled-off frequently. Nadal returns serve on the deuce side when he plays with Lopez, so that's where he keeps his towel (a clever move, considering the "receiver's choice" no-ad scoring). Therefore, my seat, just behind the baseline on the deuce side, provided ample opportunity for photographing Rafa and his towel. This can be fun if you're fond of towel photography.
- Points were played. Volleys were dropped and driven. Returns were crushed. And the match was won. Unfortunately, I can't remember the order in which any of it happened, but I can tell you that I had a great time immersing myself in the action. Just as I had a great time watching the Doubles final today--both men played wonderfully well, but I did notice that Marc has not improved his trophy biting technique. Ah well. Next time, Marc, next time. For now, keep smiling.
Photos: Arienna Lee