At Rafael Nadal’s practice on Tuesday afternoon, some onlooker pointed to Nadal and asked the person next to her, “Who is that?”
Yes, this is the kind of stuff that happens when the practice courts are open and free to the public. Situated several hundred yards away from the actual match arena and before fans have to go through the turnstiles, practices can be watched by just about anyone and everyone inside the O2.
Fortunately, for the most part people who are at the arena for other reasons and know nothing about tennis–like the aforementioned woman–tend to stay away. So prime real estate at practice sessions is generally available to the hardcore tennis-lovers.
Nadal working on forehands:
On the match court, Bob and Mike Bryan stayed alive in their round-robin group by doing a complete about-face following their disastrous first match. The Bryans, who previously lost easily to Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea, made quick work of Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli. The Italians are eliminated, while the Americans will face Jamie Murray and John Peers for a place in the semis.
Afterward, the Bryans thanked the fans–sincerely–for coming out. Then they added–jokingly, sort of–that they knew they were really there for the following match between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
At that point Bob was asked to pick the Djokovic-Federer winner. Instead of answering himself, he polled the crowd. First Federer. Then Djokovic. Surprisingly, at least as much noise was made for the world No. 1.
While Federer’s upset win proved to be surprisingly straightforward, the day ended with some press-conference gold.
It began when Djokovic argued that he “handed the win” to Federer. Told of what the Serb said, Federer responded that he “would like to give myself credit” for making Djokovic play well below his best level.
Federer’s presser concluded with a question regarding his choice of bench. Having been introduced to the court first, the Swiss appeared to choose the bench that was assigned to Djokovic. Towel-gate ensued: