Caroline with Rafael Nadal
Rafa and his team before Ernests Gulbis starts practicing.
Rafa meeting Elizabeth Shue
Rafa must have redone his grip a half a dozen times – wanted to get it just right.
Favorite shot of Rafa from this year’s tournament
His afternoon practice was a hot ticket.
I love his hands
A little late afternoon coaching from Francis Roig while Benito Perez Barbadillo takes a call.
I don’t usually find myself deep in the woods on a tennis finals day, but though my heart is in Indian Wells and I’m wondering whether Rafael Nadal is meeting Roger Federer in the finals I am actually hundreds of miles north in Mendocino, California.
You’re probably wondering what would take me away from tennis sunday. It’s definitely something special. I’m currently at Mendocino Woodlands Camp with landscape architecture students from the University of Oregon doing research and field work at an historic summer camp that was built in the 1930s. Only two such camps were built on the west coast and this is the only one being used as it was when it opened during the Great Depression. But more on that later… it’s Tennis Sunday!
So in honor of what I hope is transpiring in the southern part of this state here are a few more shots from the Nadal v. Federer match I was lucky to see a couple weeks ago. Vamos Rafa!
Not only did the Clash of Champions highlight tennis, but it served as a complete love fest for the University of Oregon. Obviously none of this would be possible without the University’s close ties to Nike and everyone at Matt Court knew it. One spectator, who perfectly captured the crowd’s sentiments about halfway through the evening yelled, “thank you Uncle Phil”! I couldn’t have said it better myself!
The love fest was present in every detail – from Nadal, Federer, Sharapova and Azarenka dressed in UO colors to the little Oregon Os on each of their custom made shoes. There were videos that played throughout the evening highlighting Oregon and Nike’s ties to great sports moments, and UO football stars Joey Harrington and Dennis Dixon served as linesmen. After the matches the tennis stars donned custom made Oregon football jerseys while joining the crowd in our common refrains – “OOOOOOOOO” and “Go Ducks”! Complete and utter love fest… you know like two teenagers who’ve just started dating. Kind of amazing after all these years.
I never thought I’d see the day when my two sports loves would be together in one place! Add in the Red Sox and you would have had to take me away in an ambulance. Good thing that didn’t happen. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss a minute.
Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova wore custom made yellow, and Rafael Nadal and Victoria Azarenka wore custom made green.
I especially loved the details on the shoes from the little O’s on the tongues to the green and yellow tread patterns.
UO football starts Joey Harrington (in perfect O formation) and Dennis Dixon (showing Justin Gimelstob his Super Bowl ring) enter the court, wearing green shoes of course.
Uncle Phil greets the players after giving them personalized UO football jerseys.
Even the Duck can’t believe he’s standing next to Nadal… and Federer, Sharapova and Azarenka!