Whirlygig: 39

Out on the Town

Aug 14, 2002 at 2:06 pm

Yellow Ball
Tennis anyone? With the ATP gang in town, it was hard to ignore the call to the courts last week. It was a perfect weather week for almost anything, and the only thing better than sweating it out on the courts myself was watching hunks do it instead.

I don't like watching tennis or really any sport on TV, as something is lost through the camera lens. The action seems dull and the commercials omnipresent even on ESPN2. I update myself through the newspaper to stay current in case I find myself engaged in conversation with a male who thinks only of sports. Obviously this conversation is usually brief and so is my attention span. A man who's obsessed with games and balls probably still has Mommy doing his laundry, but a man sweating it out on the court is worth doing a look-see.

When my friend Dick offered his tickets for Wednesday morning, I said sure. He had to work, so I was able to attend the tournament in his place courtesy of Mercedes Benz.

My daughter Mackenzie joined me for a teen-age perspective on the event.

We arrived in time to see Lleyton Hewitt playing on center court. Lleyton was boyish looking in his reversed ball cap. He's ranked No. 1 in the world, but that means nothing to young girls. For them, he's ranked on how hot he looks, I quickly founnd out.

Andy Roddick is king in the hot department. He plays decent tennis, but at 19 his game is still developing. This fact is lost on the swirl of young pretty things who want a glimpse of him.

Since my daughter's tennis coach offered the observation that Andy looks like a rat, we wanted a closer look. We stood for 30 minutes waiting to see him come out of the locker room with the others seeking autographs and photos. We had only our eyes ready.

United Diary Farmer ice cream finally teased us away as the sun was pounding on the asphalt. Plus, Pete Sampras was getting started by this time. We got two chocolate milkshakes and headed toward center court when Mackenzie hit the jackpot. In sheer delight, she motioned me to look to my right and lo and behold there was Andy huddled in the stairwell talking to the blonde in the chair. This is the same blonde I speculated was Andy's girl over by the locker room. Mackenzie had disagreed on the grounds that she was 'too old for him.' Well, I agreed that the blonde looked 25 or so, but Andy looked 16 to me.

The couple was stealing a moment away from the scene. The security guard with his walkie-talkie stood nearby. We watched as they made their move toward the stands with Andy huddled under a baseball cap and the blonde tagging behind. His fans weren't fooled, and the throng found him and hounded him for his autograph. Mackenzie and I went back to our milkshakes agreeing that he didn't look like a rat and the blonde was cute, too.

We headed off in search of another looker, James Blake. We spotted him quickly and he got the thumbs up. He was darling in his black and white gear. I remembered him from last year, when he got my best sportsman award for patience and kindness with the fans, particularly the youngest ones. He signed autographs and posed for photos like a champion before sauntering off to hit some practice balls.

Much to Mackenzie's chagrin, I insisted we search out Carlos Moya's afternoon match. We found him on Court 5. The crowd was smaller, and it felt like we were his personal cheering section. I could cheer for him all day and possibly the rest of time. The Nike swoosh across his forehead kept his slightly longish brown hair out of his face. His cheekbones were defined. His legs had just the right amount of muscle and hair. His look was a tad grittier than Andy's or Blake's, but in my book it's all good.

A photographer with an enormous lens perched next to me taking three rolls of action shots of Moya. I was tempted to ask him if I could take over or have the undeveloped film since Mackenzie would kill me.

Be assured that Moya is the best looking guy on the ATP tour. His photos don't do him justice.

Later in the day, as we took a break in the Mercedes suite, we saw Moya and his girl walking with his trainer. There were no fans or cameras following this time. He seemed perfectly content holding hands with his girl, who was arguably as gorgeous as him. She wasn't the All-American type like Andy's friend but was enchanting in her long gauze skirt and silver Indian belt slung low on her hips. They watched some of Sampras' match and relaxed in the shade.

The yellow ball sailed back and forth across the net as if no other game or place existed. For these guys, I guess you exist like this.

— Wendy Robinson

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