Cincy Diary — Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Grigor Dimitrov, Petra Kvitova, Monica Puig, and Donna Vekic (and a Glimpse of Gulbis, Too!)

Ferrer forehand shot Western and Southern Open practice 2017

Sooo…what’s it like to spend every day at a Masters tournament like the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, from qualification rounds all the way to the finals? It is kinda amazing, let’s be real. We hope to share the full experience with you day-by-day, at every practice and every match, with lots of cool photos, tweets, and maybe even a few jokes here and there, ’cause that’s the way we do things here!

Jumping right in, here we are bright and early on Sunday:

In recent years, the first weekend of Cincy has gotten busier and busier. This year it seemed to be back to a little smaller of a crowd again, which meant getting a good view of a Rafa practice was a lot easier than it would become later in the tournament.

Rafa is known for his full-throttle practice sessions, and when we peeked in we were hearing that trademark grunt on every shot he whipped over the net. While he wasn’t quite at match intensity, it was plenty hard enough to work up a sweat.

Rafael Nadal Cincinnati practice session 2017


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two-handed backhand leftie swing Rafa practice


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Nadal windshield wiper forehand follow through Cincy tennis practice pics 2017

This wasn’t the only time we saw Rafa on Sunday, either. J.D. caught him over at the player’s entrance, apparently intensely interested in what the player in front of him was up to…and that player was somebody pretty special:

This is the joy of a tennis tournament, right? A bull checking out a ninja as they go through a security checkpoint together… #ABullaNinjaandaSecurityGuardWalkIntoaBar

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Back on the practice courts, David Ferrer was apparently revving himself up for a deep run at the Masters and one of the finest matches of the tournament–but we’ll get to that last bit later. This may have been one of the most pivotal practice sessions at Cincy, since Daveeed was practicing with eventual champion, Grigor Dimitrov.

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David forehand

The sun was BLAZING that day, which can make photographing the players difficult, but also causes some pretty cool ethereal effects when things go right…

shirtless David Ferrer sexy pecs abs torso naked chest cute smile


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Dimitrov racquet handle tape Cincinnati Masters practice shots

Grigor Dimitrov smile Cincy practice 2017


Cincy tennis Dimitrov forehand follow-through


red Nike shirt Grigor Dimitrov black shorts big forehand swing


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Hot ass Grigor Dimitrov one-handed backhand follow-through graceful Baby Fed

Then there was that moment in Grigor’s practice when he totally gave us the “You are so busted” stare as we totally inadvertently took a peach shot of his coach Dani Vallverdu. *eyedart*

Dimitrov drinking water on practice break coach Dani Vallverdu cute ass photos Cincinnati Masters 2017

Moving on… J.D. caught these shots of Petra Kvitova on the infamous Court #15 (previously #14) where big-name players often like to practice because there’s a giant chain link fence along one side, and no spectator access on the other. Sadly for Petra fans, it got even more difficult to see her later in the week, after she went out in the second round to a resurgent Sloane Stephens.

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With all the matches and practices going on simultaneously on 17 courts, it’s just a fact of tournament life that you’re going to miss a few things. Val tried to catch a few photos of Donna Vekic at practice, but unfortunately arrived just in time to see the Croatian wrapping things up.

Anyone familiar with Vekic knows that she often wears her emotions on her sleeve, making it clear on the court when she’s dissatisfied, frustrated, or triumphant — sometimes all in the same point. On the practice court, she’s also not afraid to go for…erm…shall we call it a disgusted “UGH“?

Funny faces tennis players disgusted meh Donna Vekic Cincy

Whatever her feelings about practice that day, though, Vekic was very kind to fans who had gathered at the fence for autographs and selfies.

Cincinnati premier 5 ladies tennis photos

We know we have Monica Puig fans out there that should enjoy these photos! The 23-year-old Puerto Rican player packs a lot of punch in every shot, and has curves for days. Puig made it through the weekend of qualies, but lost in the first round of the main draw to fellow qualifier, Taylor Townsend.

Cincinnati Open tennis open forehand Monica Puig white blue kit braid photos


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Cincinnati premier Monica Puig forehand follow through


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There is a lot more to come from our Cincy diaries, with our next installments including Dominic Thiem, Heather Watson, Sania Mirza, Fernando Verdasco, Kiki Mladenovic, Frances Tiafoe, and more! Subscribe by adding your email address to our mailing list in the upper right corner of the site, or follow us @TennisInsideOut on Twitter and Instagram!!

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