Tennisopolis : Tennis Social Network

After the stresses of yesterday’s loss of images, the discovery this morning that they were in fact saved came as a huge relief. It also struck me that it was well worth having yesterday’s events on film – it’s not often there are pictures of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal losing on the same day! So, another few hours dealing with that this morning meant not much time to think about the mouth-watering prospect of Andy Murray winning another Masters tournament – which is exactly what he did!

In fact, 4pm sneaked up on me and suddenly it was time to go and find a spot and get the cameras cleaned and working, with two SanDisk memory cards and not the rogue Lexar! There is a view that the Eos 1D Mk3 doesn’t get on with Lexar cards and it is very unwise to use them. I certainly won’t be doing so again!

Both players looked very relaxed when they took to the court, which was a big difference from how Murray was before the US Open final – I thought he looked very jittery in the first set of that match. Gilles Simon seems like a very laid-back fellow and very charming. He gave a very good post-match speech and was definitely up for having some fun.

The match was tight, as you would expect it to be. There is very little that doesn’t come back from Simon, as Rafa found out yesterday and when he unleashes his forehand it is devastating. Both players looked very controlled throughout which didn’t make for the most exciting match, but it is a fantastic result for the Brit who despite needing a tie-break to win the second set, looked comfortable all the way through.

If the match had been a five-set grand slam contest, I would guess Simon would have become stronger as the match went on and could have given Murray a problem in a fifth. But this match wasn’t and Murray did enough to take the match in style.

Afterwards the fun started and both Murray and Simon had a ball. They had a champagne fight which Andy certainly fared worse in and then the victorious Scot got to pose with the model ballgirls – and he loved it. He looked like a proverbial pig in poo and chatted away with the girls while wearing a huge grin. I snapped a couple of pictures of him with the girls and it was only afterwards that I realised one of the girls was pulling an hilarious face, which makes the picture really amusing.

There has been a whole lot of debate about whether they should use models as ballgirls, but I think the ‘line lovelies’ or ‘ball babes’ work really well and it seems the players like it. It adds a certain glamour to the event and that has got to be a good thing. Whether the girls will look quite as good next year when they are outside in the May sunshine, covered in clay, will be interesting to see (we reckon they will!).

We have discussed this complex and hugely important issue at great length in the Tennishead office and we have reached the conclusion that the models are a vital element of the Madrid event. The organisers should definitely continue to use them and in fact we would recommend that all Masters Series tournaments follow Madrid’s example!

So, another tournament is over and our favourite Scot is on a roll. Andy’s achievements have to have a big impact on his popularity as well as the popularity of the game in the UK. We can only hope that the likes of Andy Murray on court and Tennishead online can keep banging the tennis drum and the message that this is a fantastic sport will get louder and louder.

Let’s hope Andy can really start to trade blows with the top three in 2009 and win a grand slam or two. Australia must be looking like a real possibility right now and it would have a huge impact on British tennis and the popularity of the game. So, good on you Andy, it was great to watch you this week and let’s hope your success continues.

A mention also for Gilles Simon though – he had a great week, beat the world No.1 and smiled throughout. He isn’t going to go away and that has to be good for the game too. I hope he makes it to Shanghai and if he does he could cause some upsets over there. I am looking forward to it already!

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