As the rain absolutely hammers it down in Eastbourne (sobb), it gives me the opportunity to catch up on my daily post from the practice courts. This is one of my favourite things to do at tournaments and it’s something you can’t watch on TennisTV! Keep reading on for accounts and photos of Sam, Lucie, Timea, Belinda, Petko and more.
There are six practice courts in Eastbourne that are viewable for the public and two of them don’t have any netting so you get a nice view across, which is good for taking photos. The first spot of the day was Sam Stosur and Johanna Konta and Sara Errani who were practising together.
Next I headed over to the four main practice courts. There’s never a problem with getting a front row view, which is one of the reasons I like Eastbourne compared to Wimbledon. At SW19 you have to queue up for ages and then you can’t really take any photos through two layers of netting. You do still have to put up with the netting for these four practice courts in Eastbourne but I can normally just about poke my camera through. Caroline Wozniacki and Denisa Allertova were practising together and spent a while hitting serves and returns. Caro had David Kotyza on court while dad watched on from the sidelines.
Wozniacki’s ankles were heavily strapped, but she seemed to be moving OK. I got the sense during her match that she was still protecting it somewhat.
The practice courts were a hive of activity in the morning and I also spotted the likes of Alizé Cornet and Kristina Mladenovic.
I finally spotted Petra Kvitova for the first time. She was warming up for practice on one of the outside courts and looked a little sleepy. I managed to get a shot of her yawning… sorry Petra!
Petra was practising with her coach and she looked a little sluggish. She didn’t look particularly engaged early on and was a little flat. Noting this, she’ll probably go on and win the tournament!
Agnieszka Radwanska and Dominika Cibulkova were practising on the court next door. I often see Aga practising with just her coach and this was one of the first times i’ve seen her hitting with another player.
After going off to watch Robson v Brengle and Wozniacki v Cornet, I returned to the practice courts in the afternoon and I was in tennis heaven. I finally spotted Timea Bacsinszky. This was the first time i’ve ever seen her and she was practising with Sam Stosur. They were having a good old chinwag before they started playing a practice set. It was one of the best things I watched all day and they played some super points together.
Getting to witness Bacsinszky’s backhand up close was great. I want Timea’s backhand! She seemed to be leading Stosur in their set and was bamboozling the Aussie with some of her drop shots and slices. There was brilliant pass too! It’s a great perspective to watch behind the players as you get a sense of how hard the players hit the ball.
Timea also took a few tumbles on the grass. She looked up at the sky and said “it hasn’t rained for 12 hours”!
Stosur then went off and Belinda Bencic came on. Bacsinszky and Bencic were having a great time and there were plenty of smiles. Bacsinszky took another tumble and almost did a full-on roly poly. Unfortunately I wasn’t on the ball and missed a photo opportunity.
I was watching the practice with some Belinda fans and while I was pointing the camera at her, she looked over and shouted out “I see you”! She stuck out her tongue and said she was going to work on her poses! I missed the tongue poke but I got a nice picture. It’s impossible not to get a nice picture of Belinda. She’s so much fun and generally just seems to love life. I love how open she is and giving with her fans. It’s refreshing to see.
Random point… i’d love to see a Bacsinszky v Bencic match. They’ve never played each other on the WTA tour and I think their styles would marry up nicely. Come on draw gods!
Over on the next practice court, Lucie Safarova and Andrea Petkovic were playing a practice set and it was much more serious than Bacsinszky and Bencic. It was great to see Lucie again and she had Petr Pala on court. I heard Petkovic say at one point that she was “really pissed off” during their practice set. Both seemed to be playing pretty good stuff though from what I could see. Lucie has so much raw power and she hit some wonderful forehands down-the-line.