Eric Butorac Blogs from the Australian Open and Memphis Cellular South Cup
After a productive off season, I started 2010 with Rajeev Ram, thesame partner with whom I ended 2009. We began the year in Chennai,India, attempting to defend our title. It didn't go as well as lastyear...neither did our 2nd event in Sydney.
After two tough losses, we started off the Aussie Open on the rightfoot. We opened with a win over Bellucci/Sa and drew the #7 seeds in the second round. This win became very special, because after droppingmy serve at love and mentally booking my plane ticket home, we managed to break back for the first time in two and half sets and win the
tiebreaker. The large Gustavus crowd was in full effect and helpedwill us to victory. Pat Clark (GAC's only returning starter this year)really stepped up to lead the cheers of "Booty and Ram," "U.S.A.," "Everywhere we go..." and my personal favorite "Party in the U.S.A."
I asked Ken Pittel (the class travel agent) for an estimate on changing 60 tickets to keep the class in Melbourne through the weekend, but was told that it wasn't an option. So, our 3rd round match we had to win on our own. Actually, we still had a great support system; it just
felt a little quieter without all of the Gusties decked out in body paint singing Miley Cyrus songs! Despite that change in ambiance, Rajeev and I cruised to another 7-6 in the third victory. I use the word "cruised" because in the breaker we only dropped two points....which is about one less than we got on their serve in the whole 3rd set!
Heading into the quarters, I knew that with only a few singles matches left to be played, there was a chance that we'd play on a big court.
The schedule came out....and sure enough....7:30pm Rafael Nadal (2) vs Andy Murray (5)- followed by -
Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (1) vs Eric Butorac/Rajeev Ram
I couldn't have wanted anything more than a chance to play the top team in the world...in a grand slam...on Rod Laver Arena...and on national television. However, seeing it in print really hit me. I think it hit my girlfriend too, as I managed to say about 5 words all night as I started thinking about the upcoming match.
As nervous as I was the night before, I didn't find myself all that nervous the day of. I remember reminding myself to enjoy the moment, because who knows when an opportunity like this might come around again.
The lead-up to playing on Laver is an awesome experience. The camera follows you down a tunnel leading to the entrance with life-size photos of all of the past winners. When you finally step on the court, you realize how big it is.
At 2-3 in the first set, Raj missed a first serve. I gave him the signal to serve body and that I was going to move left (we were in i-formation)...when I started to hear giggles from the crowd. I turned around to see a laughing Raj calling me back. When I asked what was going on, he informed me that not only the Bryans, but the whole crowd
knew our play. Apparently, the camera had zoomed in on my back and shown the sign across both big screens in the arena. It was a 2nd serve at 30-all too, so I asked Raj, "What are we gonna do now?? This is a big point." He smiles and goes, "i-formation, body, left."40-30.
We ended up getting broken in a tough game to lose the first set, but played a great game on Mike's serve late in the 2nd to take that one. The third set was played all the way to a tie-break but two missed volleys by Rajeev and me cost us the match. It was amazing for me to realize that we can play the best team in the world (and the eventual
champions) dead even for two and a half hours, and then a missed routine first volley turns out to be the difference.
Anyway, that's my wrap-up from the Australian Open. It's the best result I've had at slam to date, so it was unforgettable experience. But what made it even more special was being able to share with some really great people....when you hold serve to go into a 3rd set
tie-breaker on Rod Laver Arena against the #1 team in the world and you see this....
...how can you not have a smile on your face.
A couple other side stories from the last month.....
Women's Tennis and Coaching
I was watching Henin's 2nd round match against Dementiava on tv and she was struggling with her serve late in the first set. They cut to her box where you see the coach making an upwards motion with his open palm. Woodbridge, the commentator goes, "And there's Henin's coach instructing her to get her toss up a little bit...IF coaching were legal!" Next serve, high toss....and an ace out wide.
Serena and the NBA
I was working out in the Sydney gym and had switched the tv over to an NBA game that was being played between the Nuggets and Magic, when in comes Serena for a cool-down after her match. She saw that I was watching:
SW: Ohh...there's NBA on!
Me: Yep...you have a favorite team?
SW: "Well, I'm actually friends with Carmelo Anthony, so I'm cheering for the Denver Magic."
Me: "Actually, it's the Denver Nuggets, but it's funny you say that cause they're actually playing the ORLANDO magic."
SW: Really?....Are you sure?
Me: Pretty sure.
SW: Is there anyone else that I should know?
Me: Maybe...do you know Dwight Howard?
SW: Oh yeah....Superman!