Eastbourne was a hive of activity on Friday so I wanted to do a separate post to cover all the player practices, player sightings and random tidbits from around the grounds at Devonshire Park. I really enjoyed my day and am looking forward to the weekend! For the main post with highlights from Friday’s first round qualifying matches including Gavrilova-Lapko and Golubic-Bacsinszky, click HERE.
One of my favourite things about attending tennis tournaments is watching practices because it’s something that you can’t do from watching on TV. I’d hoped for some high-key pairings and I wasn’t disappointed with Daria Kasatkina and Aryna Sabalenka, and Caroline Wozniacki and Sloane Stephens, both out on the practice courts. Caro and Sloane were out on Court 5 with a surprisingly sparse crowd. This is one of the benefits of attending Eastbourne on the Friday because it is much quieter. I’m expecting crowds to ramp up each day…
Kasatkina new coach?
I noticed that Daria Kasatkina had Carlos Martinez with her on the practice courts. Can we assume that Martinez is Kasatkina’s new coach?
Unexpected player sighting #1
I saw Bethanie Mattek-Sands on the practice courts today! Surprised to see Beth as didn’t realise she was playing here. No pictures as she was in the middle of the practice courts and I couldn’t be bothered to shoot through the netting! Mattek-Sands was practising with Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Unexpected player sighting #2
Camila Giorgi has been rather elusive this year, pulling out of tournaments left, right and centre. She hasn’t played since Miami due to an apparent injury. Lo and behold, I found her practising with her father today in Eastbourne! She seemed to be hitting the ball well but it can be hard to tell from a practice session. When I was watching, they were working on serving with Papa Giorgi trying to get Camila to do something with her back foot on the serve.
Spot the mistake…
Daria Gavrilova’s quirks
I always enjoy watching Dasha live. I love her running commentary to herself such as “great return” and “wow” when Lapko footfaulted on a second serve 😂. Gavrilova had her coach, David Taylor, who came on at the end of the first set with his trusty notebook! Immediately after winning, Gavrilova asked for a ball from the ballkid and went back to the service line and served! One of the more random things i’ve witnessed live.
Overheard at Devonshire Park
I love to listen to people’s commentary and note down random spectator interactions during the day. Today someone asked me who a player was – it was Wozniacki! Am I a tennis snob? I find it surprising that you would go to a tennis tournament and not know who Woz is, the defending champion and one of the biggest stars of the tournament. I also heard someone looking at the order of play and shocked that Sam Stosur was having to qualify!
Updates to the grounds
There are a few changes to the grounds this year. Outside of gate 2 looks completely different with the construction work mostly complete around the Towner Art Gallery. The three main courts seem the same. Court 3 had two sets of stands last year but i’m pleased to report there’s just one stand now and then pull-up chairs on the other side. This is classically Eastbourne for me so i’m glad they’ve gone back to that!
The TV screen has been moved to the other side of the practice courts with a seating area, and there are now more food and shop stands around by Centre Court. The map implies that there will new courts in the South East corner of the grounds for 2020. The player lawn, normally used for warm-up by the practice courts, has been extended with the removal of the old media centre.
Highlight of the day
The weather! It was an absolutely glorious day and the forecast is set fair for the weekend ☀☀☀.