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Best Of Mallorca
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!
Mallorca Open 2017
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.
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.
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. 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...
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...
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. linkAnd some photos...
Air condition, yep!!! Landlady speaks only spanish, communication via Google translator. Works! ;-) --- 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...
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