A year ago today, I had one of my most improbable dreams come true. I finally saw Andy Roddick in person (“met” is a bit of stretch, as that would technically require a mutual introduction, so I won’t use that word). I am loathe to use this word with all its corny, romantic-comedy-movie implications, but I really do believe it was fate (yes, THAT f-word). And before you even start rolling your eyes and dismiss this as the musings of a pathetic, cheesy fan-girl, I urge you to hear me out. I shall lay down the facts and you be the judge if it was indeed fate/God’s will or not.
At around October of last year, I found out that I was to be sent to London for a week for work in November. Being the Andy Roddick stalker tennis fan that I am, I knew that the year-end tour championships were going to be held there that month. Which brings me to proof number one: the championships were going to be held the exact same week I was going to be in London. And, mind you, trips to London are few and far in between for our entire department at work, that I was the part of the 3-person team to be part of this trip is another point for my argument.
I waited until Andy qualified for the Championships before purchasing my tickets. He was among the last two players to qualify, so I was on tenterhooks for a couple of weeks before the final confirmation that he will be playing in London. Upon hearing the news, I immediately purchased my tickets.
When my tickets finally arrived via FedEx, I actually screamed with delight. So imagine my heartbreak when Andy pulled out of the championships with a knee injury. I spent a considerable amount of money on the best tickets to four sessions (you’ll see why four below) just to get a chance of finally watching my favorite athlete play. I was, understandably, crushed.
And from utter heartbreak, there was a glimmer of hope. Proof number two: I saw this on Andy Roddick’s twitter account:
Don’t get me wrong, I still knew that I had a snowball’s chance in hell of randomly bumping into Andy in, say, Oxford Street, or wherever. But having him in the same city as I was definitely increased my chances versus having him across the Atlantic, no?
So, anyway, I went ahead and watched the matches because (1) I wasn’t able to sell my tickets and (2) I did want to see Djokovic, Andy Murray, Federer and Nadal in the flesh (especially Nadal! Yumm! Haha.). I still harbored the teeniest glimmer of hope that Andy would have some promotional duties at the O2 Arena while I was there to watch the matches, but, like I said: snowball’s chance in hell.
But then it happened. I ashamedly admit that I dozed off more than once in my second row seat during the Djokovic vs. Davydenko match. But then, proof number three: I woke up to this on the big screen:
ANDY RODDICK. AT THE O2 ARENA. EXACTLY WHERE I WAS.
I felt like someone sucked all the air from the room. In a good way, of course. I was paralyzed in disbelief for about 10 seconds then got to work finding exactly where Andy was seated in an arena that held tens of thousands of people. I finally pinpointed where he was seated, thanks to the people pointing and that long-haired girl seated behind him. I actually had second thoughts on what I would do next but thank goodness I realized in time that I was being handed the opportunity of a lifetime. At the next changeover, I made a beeline for where he was seated.
I was shaking and my hands were getting clammy as I walked down to where Andy was seated. My breath was shallow as I took these pictures, and completely forgot that I had my flash on. After I took the second picture, Andy (and the unfortunate Italian man who had his face below my camera) gave me a rather annoyed look. But I was oblivious to it all. I still couldn’t believe that I was within 6 feet of a man whose career I’ve been following for almost seven years. ANDY RODDICK. Andy friggin’ Roddick!
I managed to snap out of my fan-girl daze long enough to try and get Andy’s autograph. I would post a picture of it here, but I have it on the ticket cover which has my name and address on it and that would be stupid (in a credit card fraud sense). And I got it not a moment too soon, because within seconds of getting it, Andy was whisked away by security to, I assume, a VIP box where he wouldn’t be accosted by flash-wielding fans like me.
So I actually saw Andy, against all odds. He pulled out of the tournament, but still came to London. He was at the venue, the same night that I was there, watching the same match out of 15 possible matches (and those are just the singles matches) he could have picked.
Still not convinced that the F-word is applicable in this situation?
Then, how’s this for further proof: I purchased my tickets to maximize the number of players I get to watch. Since the orders of play are not published until the day before, there is no way to choose who you get to watch, unless you buy your tickets the night before. The way I set it up, I was, for sure, going to get to watch seven out of the eight players (just take my word for it). And I got to watch Federer, Nadal, Murray, Davydenko, Del Potro, Djokovic and Verdasco. The only player I didn’t get to watch (a.k.a. proof number four) was Robin Soderling, the man who replaced Andy Roddick when he pulled out. Meaning if Andy didn’t pull out of the tournament, I would not have watched him play.
So, is “fate” the right word for this or not?