PJ and I spent most of the weekend in Cincinnati. For as long as I’ve lived in Ohio, I’ve wanted to go to the Western & Southern Tennis Tournament in Mason, OH. We almost went last year. I was determined to go this year no matter what.

So, we drove over the Cincinnati on Friday, had a nice time downtown, and then went to the men’s semifinal matches on Saturday. We also got to see the end of the first men’s doubles match, in which Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonnic played Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles.

Nestor and Zimonjic (above) won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. I only saw the last few games of the match, but it was fun to watch Nestor and Zimonjic work together so seamlessly. They seem an unlikely pair in some ways, Nestor is a little older than your average tennis player (he’s 36), and Zimonjic is beefier than most tennis players (the ATP website lists him at 200 lbs. whereas Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are listed at 188 and 187 lbs.).

The first semifinal was Roger Federer playing Andy Murray. I’m not a big Murray fan. He’s just never been my cup of tea. But I was impressed with how much muscle he’s put on in the past couple of years. He’s definitely fit.

Federer, of course, is everything a tennis player should be: athletic, graceful, muscular, and sleek. And he has the best hair in the men’s game.

Federer dominated the match from the very beginning. He served well, he hit well, and he moved well. It really is amazing to watch him glide around the court. Watching him live also emphasized for me just how quickly he gets to net. If you take your eye off him for a second, he startles you by suddenly being at the net ready to smack one overhead or hit a delicate drop shot. He’s amazing.

Here’s a picture of the whole court from our seats:

As you can see, it was very overcast yesterday, but it didn’t ever really rain. It sprinkled slightly once or twice but nothing that stopped play. The center court isn’t massive, and even though we were almost as far away from the court as you can get, we thought that we could see well and didn’t at all feel too far from the action. It’s definitely a great venue for tennis.

The night match featured Rafael Nadal (my favorite player) against Novak Djokovic. Here they are after the coin toss.

I was really looking forward to seeing Nadal in action even though I didn’t think he’d win the match. He’s improving with each tournament, but his two months off the court have made him a little rusty. Sure enough, Djokovic established his dominance from the first game.

Djokovic isn’t as graceful around the court as Federer, but he is confident and intense when he’s playing well. I liked this shot that I got of him because I thought it exemplified this confidence.

But my heart belongs to Rafa. He didn’t play well, but he’s a beauty to behold.

Djokovic won easily, but it was still great to see Nadal in person. He’s much more physical player than Federer or even Djokovic or Murray. His enthusiasm and energy are great to see and he’s a real crowd pleaser. I hope he shakes off the last of the rust and makes a great run at the U.S. Open later this month.

I enjoyed my first experience seeing tennis live and hope to return again next year. My first thought was that I should get tickets for more matches next year — maybe the quarters and the semis. It would be fun to see even more of my favorite players right there in front of me.

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