Wednesday, 13 May 2009

First Impressions...

Well it's been a few days now, and I know I was quite harsh with the event's '5th Slam' pretensions not to mention that glorious blue stuff, but I've had some time to form a more considered and hopefully more balanced opinion of the facilities at Madrid.

(Photo: Javier Soriano/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

-- The main stadium 'Manolo Santana' arena as I think it's called is a real hit with me. A sumptuous delight for the senses.

I did at first take a rather strong exception to what are presumably the more pricey seats - iron clad enclosures with holes born into them, giving a kind of futuristic 'fortressey' feel to things. Only they're less 'Star Wars' and more 'Dr Who' (the 80s edition of course that used to take pride in it's 'understated' approach to special effects). However they do have a weird charm, and really come into their own if you pan the camera back and have a look at an aerial shot of the entire stadium. It's then that their distant silvery sheen adds well to the mix of red seating and the general polished glassy feel of the surroundings. These are the only pictures I could find, and don't do the venue justice I feel - try, as I say to catch an aerial view of of the stadium during live coverage.

-- Not a fan of the 'box trap' approach to roofing (see first pic): the way they're kept at a kind of half tilt during matches. It may look great as a promotional image, and I'm sure it's a wonderful feat of technical wizardry that ensures the roofs are opened and shut quicker than you can say 'Mutua Madrilena', but also unfortunately gives proceedings a distinctly 'indoor' feel. Even when the sun's out.

-- Ditto with the
Aranxta Sanchez Vicario and other outside arenas. I wonder how she feels about having such a dimly lit arena named after her. What little natural light is available is obscured by the edges of a partially covered roof, giving the whole arena a 'cauldron' effect. In fact it's more well lit when the sun goes down and the indoor lighting kicks in. Hindsight's a wonderful (and annoying) thing but I'm sure it's not just me that feels that roof should have been built a little higher. The only positive thing about the stadium comes in the form of the unintrusive white panelling on the upper portions of the walls - the white squares providing the feel of what looks like unintended Japanese decor. They also make the stadium look a bit like an old Dojo - or, given the earthy feel of the clay court surface, a Sumo Wrestling arena.

-- Outside of the stadium and around the grounds, it's as polished as ever - but there's also far too much metal on show - and not of the sleek, modern variety. No, I speak of the cagey, almost penal look (thanks to Marcus Buckland of Sky Sports for that description) of some of the walkways, that at times feel a little like a building site. But that's
ok, as it is a work in progress and I understand they've planted vines across those walkways that will intertwine with the caging, giving a Wimbledon-like ivy clad look to things.

-- The website sucks. It's clearly been designed by someone who thinks 'laterally' - and not in a good way. Most pages require you to navigate an unwieldy horizontal
scrollbar to get at what are usually the most pertinent bits of information (that on other sites would be the most accessible). The alternating garish background colours are particularly offensive bearing a resemblance to the colour schemes employed by some of the 8-bit home computers in the eighties.


As to the tennis, both of the Williamses, Dementieva and Kuznetsova are out in their opening or 3rd round matches. Not great for my RG picks. Particularly disappointed by Dementieva, although you've gotta love the elegant way Amelie closed out that last set. Safina and Jankovic to hold fort then.

Two other shockers in the men's event today. Blake came through in what looked like three tough sets against Dr Ivo today. Continuing to love the whole 'I can do clay' thing from Blake, though he plays Federer next, so I'm thinking that's about to come to an end along with my wavering loyalty.

And how about Ferrer going out to Monaco in straight sets? Monaco's beginning to take on the kind of giant killer role that Tipsarevic held around two years ago. Not a great fan of that kind of game, but I did after all issue a call to arms for the 'real' clay courters to take back what the top four (and a number of others) have taken from them - so I've gotta credit him for stepping up.

Top 4? Rafa and Djoko through very convincingly. Andy and Roger, rather less so. Roger's first set against Robin Soderling had the look of a bagel, but Robin managed to claw a game back losing it 6-1. The second set however went all the way to 5-5 before Roger took the remaining two games. It's now got to the point where I almost wish Roger would come out all guns blazing, yanking the rug from underneath his opponents, and finishing in two very quick scorching sets. rather than putting us through these ulcer-inducing episodes.

Robin seems to be something of a hate figure after his Rafa impersonation at Wimbledon a couple of years back - a tactless protest at the amount of time Rafa takes in between points.
Nasty episode. Bad, bad Robin.

Angry throng of fork-wielding Rafanatics aside, I can't stand the man's forehand. I previously thought Radek Stepanek had the worst forehand on tour. How he makes one of the most elegant shots in tennis look so sloppy I'll never understand. What I do know is Robin has surpassed him in sheer ugliness. His exaggerated take back gives the stroke the look of a rioter flinging a burning rail into a police flank.

Fedophiles and Rafanatics stand united on this one....
blog comments powered by Disqus


All images on this site have been found in the public domain.
Credit has been given wherever possible.
If you feel your copyright is being infringed upon by any particular image, please contact me and I'll have it taken it down.

You Said...

Powered by Disqus

Receive Updates by Email...

Enter your email address:

  © Free Blogger Templates Spain by 2008

Back to TOP