Sometimes amusing, often fascinating

Denisa ALLERTOVA – Tessah ANDRIANJAFITRIMO – Victoria AZARENKA – Timea BABOS – Irina Maria BARA – Annika BECK – Belinda BENCIC – Kiki BERTENS – Elyne BOEYKENS – Eugenie BOUCHARD – Jennifer BRADY – Madison BRENGLE – Lou BROULEAU – Cagla BUYUKAKCAY – Jana CEPELOVA – Petra CETKOVSKA – Louisa CHIRICO – Dominika CIBULKOVA – Sorana CIRSTEA – Alizé CORNET – Carolin DANIELS – Lauren DAVIS – Indie DE VROOME – Steffi DISTELMANS – Oceane DODIN – Misaki DOI – Lourdes DOMINGUEZ LINO – Vera DUSHEVINA – Diana ENACHE – Sara ERRANI – Julieta Lara ESTABLE – Dia EVTIMOVA – Kirsten FLIPKENS – Anna Lena FRIEDSAM – Andrea GAMIZ – Caroline GARCIA – Daria GAVRILOVA – Myrtille GEORGES – Katharina GERLACH – Nicola GEUER – Nicole GIBBS – Camila GIORGI – Claudia GIOVINE – Julia GOERGES – Viktorija GOLUBIC – Barbara HAAS – Beatriz HADDAD MAIA – Simona HALEP – Daniela HANTUCHOVA – Vivian HEISEN – Polona HERCOG – Amandine HESSE – Martina HINGIS – Andrea HLAVACKOVA – Katharina HOBGARSKI – Richel HOGENKAMP – Michaela HONCOVA – Lucie HRADECKA – Olga IANCHUK – Ana IVANOVIC – Dalila JAKUPOVIC – Jelena JANKOVIC – Oksana KALASHNIKOVA – Kaia KANEPI – Paula KANIA – Daria KASATKINA – Lesley KERKHOVE – Madison KEYS – Deniz KHAZANIUK – Romy KOELZER – Pia KONIG – Johanna KONTA – Anett KONTAVEIT – Tamara KORPATSCH – Petra KREJSOVA – Swetlana KUZNETSOVA – Petra KVITOVA – Johanna LARSSON – Elixane LECHEMIA – Katharina LEHNERT – Varvara LEPCHENKO – Alizé LIM – Magda LINETTE – Jamie LOEB – Antonia LOTTNER – Mirjana LUCIC BARONI – Tena LUKAS – Ekatarina MAKAROVA – Lidziya MAROZAVA – Alice MATTEUCCI – Elise MERTENS – Mandy MINELLA – Sania MIRZA – Tayisiya and Yana MORDERGER – Karolina MUCHOVA – Garbiñe MUGURUZA – Asia MUHAMMAD – Monica NICULESCU – Raluca OLARU – Naomi OSAKA – Jelena OSTAPENKO – Gabriela PANTUCKOVA – Jasmine PAOLINI – Chloe PAQUET – Anastasia PAVLYUCHENKOVA – Guadalupe PEREZ ROJAS – Conny PERRIN – Andrea PETKOVIC – Jessica PIERI – Dinah PFITZENMAIER – Tsvetana PIRONKOVA – Katarzyna PITER – Karolina and Kristyna PLISKOVA – Anastasia PRIBYLOVA – Tereza PROCHAZKOVA – Monica PUIG – Yulia PUTINTSEVA – Agnieska and Urzula RADWANSKA – Ankita RAINA – Virginie RAZZANO – Alison RISKE – Laura ROBSON – Evgeniya RODINA – Camilla ROSATELLO – Lena RUEFFER – Arantxa RUS – Elena Gabriela RUSE – Amra SADIKOVIC – Olga SAEZ LARRA – Maria SAKKARI – Laura SCHAEDER – Barbara SCHETT – Francesca SCHIAVONE – Anna Karolina SCHMIEDLOVA – Patty SCHNYDER – Demi SCHUURS – Maria SHARAPOVA – Isabella SHINIKOVA – Yaroslava SHVEDOVA – Laura SIEGEMUND – Katerina SINIAKOVA – Tereza SMITKOVA – Sara SORRIBES TORMO – Ipek SOYLU – Sloane STEPHENS – Melanie STOKKE – Samatha STOSUR – Barbora STRYCOVA – Carla SUAREZ NAVARRO – Jil Belen TEICHMANN – Patricia Maria TIG – Martina TREVISAN – Alison VAN UYTVANCK – CoCo VANDEWEGHE – Elena VESNINA – Sachia VICKERY – Natalia VIKHLYANTSEVA – Roberta VINCI – Stefanie VOEGELE – Erika VOGELSANG – Stefanie VOGT – Kathinka VON DEICHMANN – Renata VORACOVA – Ana VRLJIC – Heather WATSON – Ashley WEINHOLD – Caitlin WHORISKEY – Yanina WICKMAYER – Carina WITTHOEFT – Caroline WOZNIACKI – Anna ZAJA – Vendula ZOVINCOVA ETC. ETC. ETC.

Ball Of The Day – Kristyna Pliskova

26/6/17

Just in case, that anybody is interested in my activities, he or she might want to have a glimpse on the new website I started working on yesterday, which probably will replace this one in the end...

25/6/17

Congrats, Anastasia Sevastova! As I know, how frustrated she can be, I’m twice as happy for her winning this Mallorca title. Goerges will take Wimbledon instead this year… 😉

Ok!

Best Of Mallorca


23/6/17

How nice not to have to suffer the heat in Mallorca today but to be able to watch the matches on my tablet, in my room, with a ventilator aiming at me, cause it's pretty hot here in Germany as well. Now fingers crossed for Jana Cepelova, whom I root for, since I met her last year in Essen and after watching her glorious victory over Muguruza in Wimby '16.
Two good things the commentator just mentioned. By the quality of her tennis Cepelova should be far higher in the ranking as her current #96. And one has to be glad, if some people show up in the Country Club. I am sure, that more people would come, if there would be a better connection with public transport. And, perhaps even more important, neither in Palma nor on my bus rides to or in Santa Ponsa I saw one single poster or sign announcing the tournament. Well, Garcia won and deserved to, but I was amazed by Jana's fighting spirit, which she lacked a bit during the last years, as I suppose. Go ahead with it!
Tanti auguri, Francesca!
Mallorca Open 2017

22/6/17

Palma Airport, 8am.


Wow, over 3400 visits for the Azarenka practice video in three days. Sad, that she lost so clearly against Konjuh today. But she'll fight herself back to the top, as I strongly believe. A very spontaneous person she seems to be, more herself, not as controlled and 'constructed' as others. She's learned to behave like it's needed for a public person. But you always feel the magma underneath. A volcanic person she is. Not flawless perhaps, with some quirks maybe, but very straight forward and pure-hearted, trustworthy somehow, even if she is suspected to be retiring in her matches too soon now and then. When the persona non grata, Maria S., fought herself back after her shoulder operation some years ago, it was fascinating to watch, with what tremendous perseverance and will power she finally managed to do so after a bunch of frustrating obstacles and setbacks. Let's see, how Vika will cope with her comeback issues.


21/6/17

Palma, 6am - Still haven't seen all the pics from yesterday. I'll take my laptop to the venue today and do the rest there. So, hasta luego.
Country Club, 8:45am - How I got that nice smile from Rafa yesterday? It's a trick. Wait, I'll tell you. As he came to the court pretty early, I was the only photographer around. When he passed by, I asked him, if it would be ok to take some pictures, which he answered affirmatively. But such a question of course is ridiculous, as he is used to be surrounded by legions of photographers. As it was on Monday, and even as I was preparing my camera now, the first colleagues showed up. "What a poor moron this guy is to ask me that silly question", Rafa might have been thinking by himself. And "Let's give him a smile.". Et voilà! ;-)
On my path up to the venue tourists, dogs, sparrows, collared doves and culvers, seagulls, sun, sky, breeze, palms, hibiskus, breathing in ("Here") and out ("Now"), in ("Here"), out ("Now"), in ... Shortly before arriving even a hoopoe, gently drowning out one big mower and three vacs on Center Court.
But let me tell you how my day began with a big laugh, as I watched the following scene, standing in front of my guest home at the bus stop. An elderly woman with a rollator is coming to the crosswalk, slowly and frail, heaves her rollator onto the street with a pompous gesture, making the approaching car stop reverently, crosses the street very slowly, walks another 10 meters to the bakery, comes out again after some minutes, but now she is too lazy to walk the ten meters back to the zebra crossing, hasting across the street in front of three swiftly approaching cars instead, almost carrying her rollator, then, on the other side, slowing down again, easily retransforming to the doodery old woman she had 'been' in the beginning.


20/6/17

In the first bus I take every morning they do announce not just the next stop, but the former one as well. The houses in Palma all are sand-colored, in different shades, not as planned as in Stockholm, where they have a law about it, here more naturally grown. Everybody simply seems to have the same taste, that's all. Nice morning mood at the 'Intermodal', the central bus and train station, where I change horses for Santa Ponsa. This time I'm early, so I stroll around a little, eating an apple I bought in the supermarket. A woman is running to the station with a worried face, if she doesn't catch her train or bus, she'll probably come late to work. But apart from that everybody is calm and relaxed, lots of smiling and chatting around. Besides the terribly squeaky escalator they are standing and sitting with their mobiles and cigarettes, als if they were in their living rooms. Then Santa Ponsa again, 8am, jogger, dogwalker, some english talking kids smashing their toys into pieces somewhere in a wired-in courtyard. Slightly cooler it is than yesterday. "When in a hurry, walk slowly." some chinese pal named Confucius once said. Though having lots of time I do the same, being aware of breathing consciously, which is fun.

4:30pm - Today it's mainly about the Center Court action. Well, after the Goerges match I made an excursion to Pista 1 for Flipkens - Minella and returned to the big stage then for Bouchard vs. Schiavone. The young canadian is quite enjoyable to watch, and no mistake. But how interesting and thrilling is the style of italian veteran Francesca S., who imho is a beautiful woman too in her very own and unique way. Could be, that this is her last year on the WTA tour, so, if you have the chance, go out and watch her play. Suarez Navarro next. Love to take pictures of her, but to portray the most amazing stuff she has to offer, the perfectly beautiful parabolic arches of her legendary one-handed backhand, a photo camera is not the right tool. Then, not before 7pm, Vika Azarenka is showing up on Center Court, which obviously I have to wait for.

Llenas de vida.

Mandy Minella
Short version now, because I am too tired to write. Very nice walk, very nice ride with a tattooed young 'Elvis' as bus driver, who played percussion on everything within his reach, whistled, drove some very slow fake races with other busses, a young man full of strength and life and good humor. Calm, wild and fresh. A little bit like Kerouac's Dean Moriarty. And the other bus in Palma as well full of good vibrations, too much to tell now. Llenas de vida No problem, that I left the Azarenka match early, as it will be continued tomorrow. After a while the bus driver turns on his radio, softly first, then louder and louder. Songs like: "I'm only human after all, don't put the blame on me.". Ah, and no more restrictions today for non-spanish photographers. Hope to find some nice pics now among the 1027 from today...



19/6/17


Santa Ponsa, 9pm - The (well-known) secret: If you have to walk a long distance in southern heat, do it in the morning. Even at 8pm it still makes sense to walk on the shady side of the street. But there it's comfortable, with a nice and almost cool breeze from time to time. The air-condition in the press tent is working, there is some water in the fridge- not much more one could (or should) wish for, isn't it? First practice session at 10:15pm...

Palma, 8pm - Home again. "If you are shooting for television, you may sit on the net." - A collegue about the unbelievable restrictions some security guy tries to apply here, obviously just in order to show his (spanish) power over (foreign) press photographers. Chicane and caprice, or just a lack of professionality? But thanks to the help of a nice spanish media official there could be found some decent solutions, until now, that is. So I knock on wood. A productive day though in the due to some more wind a little bit more sufferable heat. And guess, who showed up at midday...


18/6/17

Terribly hot it was, at 1:45 pm I was sitting in the press tent pretty much knocked out. But by then there was some nice material in both of my cameras, dealing with practice activties of Vika Azarenka, which of course is top priority here. Nice by the way to listen to spanish people pronouncing the 'z' in her last name. Decided at 3pm to leave the spot in order to spend the afternoon in my cool air-conditioned room with editing and cutting. The next bus stop an almost three kilometer walk away. As I came to Santa Ponsa this morning it turned out to be, that they have two local tennis clubs here. In my planning I had chosen the wrong one. The tennis tournament is not in the Santa Ponsa Tennis Club but in the Santa Ponsa Country Club. When a nice guy prevented me from calling a taxi by driving me to the spot, I already realized, that it was quite a long ride...So for the walk back in the early afternoon heat I took my time with some resting in the shadow. Sat on my swedish stool amid the pines, had some tea out of my Thermos (the 'third tele' I always have in my rucksack), listened to the chirping of the cicadas and some Grover Washington jr. and Oscar Peterson ('Tenderly') out of my iPhone. Yes, I've decided to write a little bit more about me, myself and I from time to time. Not, because I think, that my life is or should be so important to others, but in order to create a certain amount of transparency in the photographer-player relationship. It's an offer to make my acquaintance, at least in these little texts. All in the service of art. Players, who know and like me a bit are a good sport more likely. 

"Everything is lesson."

Took bus no 104 then instead of no 102. Just asked the driver, if he goes to my destination. The thing is: The latter, with which I had come, needs 30 minutes using the motorway for the same distance, for which the former, stopping at every beach towel, needs one and a half hour, hot as a stove, packed with sweaty people and the breathing air growing thinner with every minute. So I had a lot of local colour today. Finally I arrived at my AirBnB - home at 6pm, so I needed 3 hours for 20 kilometers. But I really don't complain. This is real life. It's always, as it is. And everything is lesson. And since I didn't plan a car rent in my budget for Mallorca in the first place, I'll stick with that plan, looking forward to all the experiences I will have with it. But I'll definitely take bus no 102 in the future... ;-)

The good thing with writing is, that you don't have to change lenses. The focus comes naturally, or it doesn't come at all.

Here's the Azarenka practice video. link
And some photos...


17/6/17

Air condition, yep!!! Landlady speaks only spanish, communication via Google translator. Works! ;-)

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My first flight with WiFi. Yeah, don't fly so much. More little children in the plane than grown-ups. Astonishingly calm it is as for that. And if you hear them, it's more laughter than crying, which is nice. A maybe ten year old girl patiently helps herself pass the long waiting time at the belt in Palma by inventing a game, which is to comment every piece of baggage showing up with "This is not ours. This neither. This neither. This..." Parked my Vespa alongside another one, a beautiful brand new scarlet one, which was still standing there in that niche of car park P2 at the Dusseldorf airport, without paying any fee. Some biker gave that tip in an internet forum. Curious, if my dear old 'Jolly Jumper' will be waiting for me there still at my return...



There is a song title by James Taylor, which gives a nice and short formula for a good player-photographer cooperation: “B.S.U.R.S.U.C.S.I.M.I.M.” (“be as you are as you see as I am I am”). So, after that Rosmalen hoax let’s hope that there will come some enjoyable days in Santa Ponsa with lots of good tennis and creativity.

P.S.: James Taylors’ other title, the much more famous one, I dedicate to all the hard working and brightly shining tennis women out there trying every day to do their best.

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Rosmalen (s’Hertogenbosch)

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi

14/6/17

Heading for Rosmalen again today. The weather forecast predicts sunshine and lots of good tennis action. Let's see, if I meet my new friend again, the camper salesman...
No pics today. Made a lot of notes instead, which was kind of fun, too. Will tell about it later. But first I am going to do some sports myself…
Maybe at Rosmalen tournament office they have read my former text. Could easily be, as I gave them my website address as reference for my fruitless badge application. Fact is, that after a two hour ride from Germany they told me at the security desk, that very surprisingly tele lenses now are banned. Being far from illuminated, old, but not wise at all, I was pretty angry about that and already on my way home again, as I changed my mind and returned to the Autotron to take advantage of the ticket upgrade they had given me after having made some booking mistake. So I did something, that I hadn't permitted myself to do for a long long time: I just watched tennis all day long. Could have been worse. And how relaxed this day was, not having to be alert all the time in order not to lose a precious moment. No need to brace oneself against dumb approaches. In fact I do appreciate this change of policy for the reasons I describe in my last post. So I'm forced to try the next step now, which is to go and get me a decent press card somewhere. It's good to be urged that way, because I'm not very good at asking for something. The answer might be "No", and that is what I normally try to avoid.

What else to report: 

- The security guy, who had to prevent me from entering at first, said "Thank you." five (!) times, as I returned to his desk without the photo gear to follow my plan B.

- A big laugh at the end of the first set between Giorgi and Witthoeft, as the chair umpire, who had had to fight against an only partially functioning microphone for several minutes yelled a then very loud "DEUCE!!!" into the now again properly working device.

- A wagtail flies a complete round through the center court, watching and inspecting the scenery very closely. Everything seems to be allright, as the bird leaves the spot again without any complaint.

- A remarkable win of Antonia Lottner against Dominika Cibulkova. And a nice interview afterwards as well.

- Oksana Kalashnikova is not related to the famous russian gun inventor, as she told me. With her beautiful face she could have been a perfect model for one of Vermeer's paintings.

- An elderly woman safely catches a ball during the Zverev match, throws it back as perfectly to the ball boy. An astonishingly swift and harmonious action.

- In the eighth game of the first that incredible lop by Mannarino answered by Zverev with that perfectly beautiful tweener.

So, let's see now, how my video footage from today has turned out to be (as I was allowed to keep the camcorder). Got some of Cibulkova, but every time I started the camera she was losing the next point. But shortly before I left I filmed a Demi Schuurs practice session. Maybe that is something for Youtube... UPDATE: Yeah, did some cutting and the clip should be up at approximately 9 am. I especially recommend the two little slomo sequences at 1:11 and 1:30. Here's the link.

Oksana Kalashnikova

12/6/17

Of course it's much more difficult to get good results, when you're shooting without a badge (accreditation). Tried, but there was no way to get one here. I'm really really fed up by all those suspicious looks and saucy remarks you get, when you are not identifiable as a seriously working person. The worst are those reactions, that are not despicable, but sympathetic instead with your alleged slimy motives. Some camper salesman is asking me with an off-colour grin on his face, if I am content with my pictures so far. I ask in return, if he's content with his camper sales so far by adding, that he could do me the favor to just keep his grin by himself. As a matter of fact I do appreciate to find those players who choose to dress up in a more revealing way for their matches in more normal clothes at the practice courts. There is one player, who likes to wear very sexy dresses even there and now is suspecting me of being chasing after it with my camera. So the last two or three times she slipped some sweater on as I came to shoot her practice sessions, obviously supposing me to be disappointed by that. If only she knew, that she does me a favor by doing so. Infact I really don't care. It's the players decision how to show up in public, and if somebody is preferring to be sexy I take that as a characteristic attribute worth to be respected and portrayed as well. But I am not after it under any circumstance. I just want to take good photos, that's all. Photos, that ***shine***, no matter, how much skin is revealed in them. Difficult to communicate that on site, as there would be only the nonverbal option. And even if it would be possible or admissive to talk to the players about it, they probably would hesitate to believe me, cause in fact there are quite a lot of hobby poachers out there with their expensive cameras and big lenses, most of them being exactly my age...

"The most beautiful curve on a woman's body is her smile." - Bob Marley

But as you can see, it was possible again to shoot some enjoyable pics on this cold and windy day in Rosmalen Autotron. More and more players are nice to me by now, smile, when they see me, say hello. There are some starting points, how are the eyes of Tamara Korpatsch, who had some allergy problems in Altenkirchen, or where's the daughter of Evgenyia Rodina, whom I took some lovely photos of last year in Prague. Others send friendly signals, but are too shy or too cautious to say hello, which is perfectly fine with me. There are haughty one's as well, but not so many... It's just a little bit comforting not to be dealt with as perfect stranger anymore after almost two years of intense work.
As it's much nicer being able to avoid all the above issues and to chose angles and positions more freely, I am looking forward to next week with a badge in Mallorca.

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WOW, 2200 visits for my little Kaia Kanepi practice video from Essen within three days. Well, maybe this is just because it is quite short, so that everybody is replaying or looping it. T'was fun shooting and cutting it anyway.

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ITF Bredeney Ladies Open ’17

10/6/17


Carolin Daniels

Sorry for Patty Schnyder, who had to retire due to some hip issues. Wishing her to get well soon is very selfish by me because I love to watch her play and want her out on the courts again pretty soon. Nice to see her little cozy family system up and running so well. Always a pleasure to talk to Patty's husband, who's a quite impressing person as well and an extraordinarily good father to their lovely little princess. Double birthday wishes and congrats for Carolin Daniels and Kaia Kanepi.  And congrats to everybody out there in Bredeney for making it such a well-rounded affair. Looking forward to Bredeney Ladies Open '18.

9/6/17

1-6 6-3 3-6 (!)

Best Of Day Six

Had some errand in Essen - ah yes, you already know my new pal, music student "Still" (calm), whom I paid his fee today. That was at about 11 am. Then, on my way to Bredeney, it started to rain and it didn't stop til 2:30 pm. Although living just ten minutes away in neighboring town Mülheim I decided to stay at the venue, not only, because I had become rather wet already on my Vespa ride to Bredeney and didn't want to get soaked completely, but mainly in order to share the player's experience of waiting. While doing so, I eavesdropped some interesting things. Mr. Rekasch, the tournament director, doing some math for another event ("48 matches, 6 courts, start at 9 am..."). Players talking inside stuff, about other players, traveling or injury issues, jokes... One player, whom I had reckoned as utterly tough a person, revealed herself as absolutely incapable of watching horror movies, doing so would prevent her from getting some sleep for several nights. Those boyish-looking girls, who explicitly avoid any so called "femininity" in their clothing, gestures and behavior, always find my interest and sympathy. One can feel and imagine, that there is some decent amount of thinking behind this kind of courageous and stubborn attitude. And often a sensitivity, which might be so intense, a heart so big, that both simply need to get hidden and cloaked for protection. 
The only seemingly tough player gives another example of her fine character, as some woman, mother of a fellow player, can't be stopped chattering on to her, not getting any of the albeit very subtle hints of exhaustion on the other side. Our horror-movie-avoider-with-the boyish-look shows an incredible patience, by then swiftly and elegantly slipping out of this trap with the excuse that she'd have to do some important talking with somebody else, which probably even was the truth. Very very fine and polite. And what calm and soft voices many of these on-court predators are talking with in private. Gold. Pure gold.
Well, and then, after hours of waiting, the rain stopped and the tennis finally was able to begin. Remarkable the performance of Katharina Gerlach. After she had lost the first set 1-6 to Schnyder, I thought by myself: Well, at least she has managed to avoid the "double bagel" (0-6 0-6). But then she came back amazingly strong in the second, winning it 6-3, and was able to get another three games in the third. Courageous, spirited, focused, fighting and enjoying it up to the last point. More of that, please!!! Then I watched a little bit of the other semi, driving home then, riding off into the sunset with my old pal, the Vespa "Granturismo", which is my personal Jolly Jumper.
So, what a nice day of beautiful tennis this was again...

8/6/17 Best Of Day Five

katha g…


…and a few more

Today I sent a student from local "Folkwang" conservatory to the music school where I give piano lessons on Thursdays. His last name is "Still", which means calm in german. So albeit not knowing this guy I trusted the recommendation and am quite confident that he did a good job with "my" kids. Tomorrow Schnyder vs Gerlach. Will be tricky for me, because I do like both of them very much. Of course it's likely that the Swiss will win. So I hope that Katha will find a way to enjoy the match and to avoid stumbling into her good old nice and cozy frustration pitfall too soon or too often. Last year in Bad Saulgau there was a match where I knew that she would lose it as early as in the third or fourth game of the first just by watching her body language and facial expression. Since then she has improved that a lot, is much more positive and competitive now and with psychologically wise premium coach Ute Strakerjahn at her side, who's instructions are always most entertaining and informative to listen to, she has every chance to cope with her tendency to implode into negativity, which is still there, and to make it a thriller for herself and the crowd instead. Given a Patty Schnyder impressingly in-form, it's absolutely no shame to lose against her. Enjoy! And learn...

Content with the reaction time of my humble self and the camera’s autofocus after a long day, as those ducks came dropping by very swiftly at one of the evenings doubles matches.

7/6/17 Best Of Day Four

Same precedure as yesterday, lots of rain and fun, not so many pics. Memorable the long conversation with this elderly chap (well, much too soon I'll be one myself), which started as benign small talk leading to a discussion then about whether immigrants and refugees are riff-raff or human beings. Fortunately at the end of the talking there was some sort of agreement about the latter. And the guy full of bias and simplistic stereotypes finally turned out to be quite a nice human being himself. Just confused and anxious he was, which is very human in our times. The killer argument I always use in such discussions, is "How many foreign immigrants have you met and talked with in person yet." And I always get the answer "None." Followed by some refreshing thoughtfulness. Gottfried Benn, the german poet, once wrote "Kommt, reden wir zusammen, wer redet, ist nicht tot..." "Come on, let's talk with each other, those who are talking are not dead..." Certainly would have liked to talk to Benn in person as well, as he unfortunately chose to sympathize with the f***ing Third Reich. As Knut Hamsun did, another of my favorite writers. Is it admissible to cherish the qualities of an artist who fell into ugly and inexcusable error privately? Even if not, I can't help doing so with these two exceptional beacons of the word. Well, but now let's return to talking tennis again... or butterflies...
Ah, not to forget the delicious chat with this stunningly open-minded and experienced man.

6/6/17 Best Of Day Three

Lots of rain today. Had a long chat with pro photographer Horst, whom I owe some precious tips and advice. But how good, that I don't have to obey the laws of the very tough and swift media business, I thought by myself. Therefore I also will not need some of the tricky skills of pro software like Adobe CC this utterly nice guy found the time to show me on his computer. After that I indulged myself in mainly putting the camera aside and watching some tennis instead. That's, why there are not so many pics this time.
How nicely Patty Schnyder asked me to leave after I thoughtlessly had entered the court for some pics at 5:6 from her point of view in the first. Not only the way in which she said it was kind and clear, she even added a short explanation of what would be ok for her and what not, and why so. This in two little sentences. At 5:6. Very impressing. Sorry, Patty! And thanks for the lesson in sensitivity, which I obviously needed.

Tournament director Thorsten Rekasch, a rock in the surf.


5/6/17 Best Of Day Two

After the first Gerlach match (she had to play two on this day) a butterfly came to sit on my right index finger, a precious moment, which lasted for several minutes. Even as I started to walk slowly off the court, where I had been sitting on my swedish stool shooting some of the pics you can behold in the gallery below, the animal chose to stay with me. Then he/she took off and both of us continued each with our probably quite different life plans. How nice an episode this has been! As if it hadn't been enough to watch lovely "Katha" Gerlach play. Yeah, sometimes life is good...

How eagerly young Katha G. is longing to improve her game and to get better results. And she’s well under way…


4/6/17 Best Of Day One

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1/6/17 --- Constantly working on the 'Players A - Z' section. Found a way now to cope with the flood of pics without risking to drown. Hope to get it up and ready within a week or so. A little distraction will be the 'Bundesliga' event in Aachen on Saturday, followed by the ITF week in Essen - Bredeney, which fortunately is located very very near to where I live. Then the two quali days in s'Hertogenbosch. Nice little consolations for missing Paris this year. Really good news is, that I'll make it to Mallorca, with an accreditation. Pretty much looking forward to that.

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Home, sweet home for me now, but I wish all the players "bonne chance" in Paris!

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Nürnberger Versicherungs Cup 2017

So, what shall I say. Had a ball. It began on Thursday night [18/5/17], when I joined the autobahn to Cologne with my good old Vespa “Granturismo”. Due to an insecure weather situation I had decided to travel earlier as planned and the strategy to drive through the night turned out to be the right one, since I had it clear ‘n dry for hours, and when I got caught in this thunderstorm near Würzburg at 3 am, I found a service area within minutes, where I did some nice napping and coffee drinking, at dawn taking smaller roads then for the rest of the way to Nuremberg. At the venue I met the first kind person of many to come, who allowed me to store my luggage away in some tent and so I used the rest of the day to acquaint myself to the facility and to shoot some pics of the still ongoing construction works and, as some of the players were there already, at training sessions.
Then came the official shooting days, drifting and strolling around between the courts, deciding which situation to focus on next, which lens to chose, which shutter time, ISO and aperture, whether to take photos or video and so on. When I do this, I am good. Shooting tennis somehow for me is like coming home. The synthesis of the sport and the photographer’s challenges often puts me in a nice state of flow, which lets the hours fly by and makes me as happy as a lark. Many players know me by now, everybody was very nice and welcoming, the catering was ok, my AirBnb – accomodation, reachable with a twenty kilometer ride on a tree-lined country road, cozy and clean. The weather was incredibly good all week long. Had there not been the accident of Laura Siegemund, everything would have been just perfect. Thanks to Mr. Adrowitzer, whom I owe the accreditation, Mr. Fessler, the chief press officer, Sandra Reichel, the tournament director, who did an amazing job, all the ‘colleagues’ from the press, the coaches, the players, the thrushs and the sparrows, this has been an entirely enjoyable week worthy to remember. As I said before, I had a ball. Really had!

TOP 10
1. My favorite pic of the week – Matthias Müller, chairman of VW and Porsche with visible traces of the Dieselgate aftermath on his face (not on this pic), around in Nuremberg for almost the whole week and obviously a huge tennis fan and supporter, cautiously holding a new life.

2. Closely followed by this one showing proud Mr. Siegemund rooting for his daughter.

3. Barbara Rittner giving the journalists an update about Laura Siegemund’s upcoming injury lay-off. Albeit showing a sad situation, I like this photo, because you can see here, how shocked those hard-boiled media pros are by that news. They seem to be human beings as well…

4. Eugenie Bouchard with her coach, Thomas Högstedt.

5. Tournament director Sandra Reichel.

6. Men @ Work.

7. Three strong tennis women.

8. A woman @ work.

9. Jule Görges. In the background the team of her japanese opponent.

10. Laura Siegemund.

The rest of the Nuremberg files you can find here now…

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UPDATE: Moved the Wiesbaden files to the 'Tourneys' section. Here's a link to the page. A larger version of Maria Sharapova's training session (Stuttgart, 26/4/17) can be found here. 'Best Of Stuttgart '17' moved to Tourneys' as well, here's the link. Some very nice pictures of Simona Halep in 'Players A - Z' and here. New gallery of Vivian Heisen.. See nice pics of Samantha Stosur in the 'Players A - Z' section.

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Kind of "Walk To Canossa" for Masha to do this training session on 26/4/17, her first public appearance in Stuttgart. You can see on her face how hard these days must be for her. Hope that she'll find a way out of that mess soon. There is some truth in these portraits. And as "Beauty is truth, truth beauty..." (Keats) these pictures imho show indeed the most beautiful Masha Sharapova I have seen for a long time. Maybe she never was more beautiful then nowadays... These images can be found in a larger version in the 'Players A - Z' section by now or via this link.

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Chose this unusual perspective not just because I am a Marija Čičak fan (she's a predator!) or just to be witty, but in order to focus on the audio of the energized crowd. Didn’t want to share the media’s voyeuristic and greedy view on Maria S., which were represented with a huge number of photographers and camerapersons. They have better lenses anyway. But in fact I do find it quite interesting to watch this impressing chair umpire working.

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Stuttgart 25/4/17 – Kader Nouni – The Master Himself At Work

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Pic Of The Day

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As the name implies, the intention here is in documenting the beauty, not only of the players and the sport itself, but of the whole ambiente, the surroundings, all those small situations which make the WTA and its events always interesting, sometimes amusing and often fascinating.

  • There is some excessive ambition in tennis as well. Hard competition makes the borders between enthralling verve and mere grim catfight pretty fluent now and then.
  • But the point here is to celebrate the aspects of flow, abandon, presence, vigilance, strength and shine of beautiful WTA and the human side behind the scenes.

There is so much to spot!

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Please read: A Letter From Dubai.

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20-27/5/17 —- WTA Nuremberg (with accreditation).

1/2/3/6/4/17 —- Wiesbaden Tennis Open (WTO).

22-26/4/17 —- Porsche Tennis Grand Prix @ Stuttgart.

18/4/17 —- Next: Players A – Z. My new plan is to replace the ‘Player Portraits’ section with this one, for which I’ll review and edit all the images again, which will take some decent amount of time. In fact it’s a huge, huge project, which to realize will take weeks or months. So, for the moment I leave the structure as is while working constantly on this new territory. As I’ll be off for Stuttgart tomorrow, there will be a few days until the next updates though.

8/4/17 —- NEW: Darmstadt ’16 [138 pics]. link

6/4/17 —- NEW: Hechingen ’16 [373 pics]. Lots of “human factor” in this one… link

1/4/17 —- NEW: Aschaffenburg ’16 [Schönbusch Open, 123 pics] link Next: Hechingen ’16.

1/4/17 —- NEW: POTD trailer added on Youtube. link

30/3/17 —- 28 pics added to the Versmold gallery. link NEW: POTD [best of]. link

29/3/17 —- NEW: Knoll Open ’16 [Bad Saulgau, 103 pics]. link Ratingen [Bundesliga, 8-5-16]. link

26/3/17 —- NEW: Bredeney Ladies Open ’16 [35 pics]. link

24/3/17 —- Versmold ’16 completed, 223 pics. link NEW: s’Hertogenbosch ’16 with 68 pics. link

23/3/17 —- Versmold ’16, 131 color pics, for starters… (to find via ‘new galleries’)

21/3/17 —- “Eastbourne revisited” finished [205 pics]. link Next one: Reinert Open ’16 [ITF, Versmold].

20/3/17 —- Finished the new Linz gallery yesterday. link Next project is “Eastbourne revisited”.

14/3/17 —- At the moment I work on a b&w gallery of Linz ’16. It’s fun to sort out the essence of thousands of pics. But it’s work, too, which needs some time. So, why not come back to this now and then in order to see, if there’s an update available…

12/3/17 —- While the players give their best in Indian Wells and elsewhere, I did the same today by creating this lovely black and white gallery of the ITF event in Prague I was allowed to take pictures of last year. In the process of reconstructing this domain I fall in love more and more with black and white. Could be that I’ll change horses completely. So, if you like color pics, maybe you should download a few before they are gone…

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