Annual trip to the Royal Albert Hall to see the seniors
On Friday the 8th December I made my annual trip to the Royal Albert Hall in London to watch the quarter finals of the seniors tour. Of course it's more commercial these days so the tour is called the Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions and the season concluding event is the Black Rock Masters.
Also the description of seniors is no longer apt in an age context since the 30 year old Marcelo Rios also plays. There's a lot of noise about this from John McEnroe and maybe others. It's possibly justified since although none of the players play full time, it's certainly the case that the older you are the harder it is to maintain the form at high level over several days of intense competition, and anyway you're at least a step slower or two with each decade.
I saw Rios take out McEnroe, and will blog separately about that match.
In the other quarter final I also saw Pioline defeat Leconte. That was pretty much a friendly affair, with a lot of exhibition stuff, some good natured bantering between the players and the crowd, but when it came to the competitive points it was Pioline who had the goods, or really I suppose it was Leconte who missed a few sitters.
In the doubles I saw Fleming and Gullikson take on Muster and McNamara. I had been looking forward to seeing Muster, a previous favorite of mine (despite his lack of flair), but I would say on the evidence that he is not a doubles player by choice. The maestro out of the four was McNamara, making incredible angled drive winners and remarkable reflex volleys. Even so they lost to Fleming and Gullikson in the tie-break.
All in all, as ever, a most enjoyable day out.