Airborne Stan is definitely one of the highlights of the Cincinnati Masters tourney, and he took flight once again on Sunday in his practice session with Juan Monaco. The guys were hitting over at the VLiNG party deck, which you may remember from our post about Tommy Haas last year. The only problem is, THE DECK WAS CLOSED. The place was a total construction site, with only a tiny alley walkway left between the deck and the practice court.
So not the ideal site for viewing, but despite all the chaos and lack of alcohol-buzzed tennis fans draped over white pleather couches, Pico decided to maintain the spirit of the party deck anyway. In other words, he took off his shirt.
When he did so, a rather awed woman next to J.D. breathed out, “Holy shiiiiiiit.” She was kinda impressed, it seemed. She and her friend went on to say things about Juan that require an adult content warning. I did not disagree. Then they turned their attention on Stan. Somehow sensing I had a vested interest, they demanded I tell them why on earth that gorgeous specimen across the net was not also playing shirtless.
I sadly had no answer, as it seems that the new Number 9 goes topless far too rarely. And I had to agree with my new Sisters in Lust that it really made no sense to be all uncomfortable in a totally soaked shirt when you could be flying free like Pico. But we did get some consolation when Stan gave us the occasional peek at those abs.
You’ll see more of Stan later in this post. Actually, I took so many pics of Stan I could do a post every day for the next year. I may have to work on that trigger finger of mine. #overkill
Next up in the day was the Maestro himself, who drew a crowd so large they took over the bleachers at the next court. That’s got to be a good feeling when you show up to play on a court and all of the spectators have their backs to you, so they can watch Federer.
That’s Fed, mid-strut. Seriously, the man even has a better *walk* than everyone else.
Aside from the usual excitement over Fed’s form, there was extra buzz and excitement as Her Highness Federer suddenly graced the practice court with her presence–something I’ve never had the chance to witness before.
She stood at the back of the court, looking all sassy and powerful as she took in every aspect of her hubby’s game. Then they’d have the occasional meeting that looked pretty serious and businesslike. We all remember Mirka kicked Fed’s butt a bit in 2011, and we all know how that turned out. A lot of people in attendance were hoping Mirka could work her Maestro Whisperer Magic again.
Fed looked good in practice, and I don’t just mean his hair. Between the swagger, quick moves on court, and the increasing power and accuracy of the serve, there’s reason to feel positive. Rog is still 32 and he’s still a bit slower than he used to be, but it’s clear he’s going to try every trick in the book to keep being uber-competitive as long as he can.
Elsewhere on the grounds, we peeked in on a Venus Williams practice…
Her “plus one” was in an outfit that J.D. described as “as close to shirtless as you can get.” (Update: Hey, that’s Alizé Cornet!)
Then there was Kvitova, who looks here to be balancing her racquet rather than swinging it…
Then there was Stan, on his second practice of the day, with Grigor Dimitrov…
It’s Stan, I *have* to…
J.D. thought it only fair to compensate with Yanina Wickmayer, who showed up during Stan and Grigor’s practice in this interesting attire…
Speaking of Grigor…weren’t we?
And yes, he and Stan were wearing matching outfits. They also seemed to enjoy each other’s company as much as we all enjoyed watching them.
Bromances are a beautiful thing, yes?
For today’s clickable goodie for the girls, I give you Andreas Seppi.
I can suddenly hear that woman from this morning again: “Holy shiiiiiiiit!”
There is more where this came from my friends, so stay tuned for more highlights from Cincinnati, and more detailed posts full of pics to follow! In case you missed it, check out Cincy Day One Highlights!
PHOTOS: c2013 Valerie David for TennisInsideOut.com, Western and Southern Open, Cincinnati Masters