We were elated when Moët Chandon tapped us on the shoulder the other day and whispered the magic words in our ear: “Come on by our box at Arthur Ashe Stadium, we’d love to have you.” Twist our arms, we said.
We chose a midday stretch to get out of the office where we’d been inundated by the never-ending string of fashion news, party planning, and the usual. It was a tossup what we’d be coming to see, the day had been drenched in rain since sunrise and play of some big semi-final matches were not exactly “guaranteed” – regardless we figured the worst case scenario would be a few glasses of top notch champagne in a cushy box at one of our favorite events, and who knows, maybe even rub shoulders with a few A-listers. (Take a peek through the photos for a few bold faced names that were floating about the suite)
The commute was painless – a few minutes on the BQE and we were met at the gate by a sprightly PR girl by the name of Kara. The whole operation was expectedly white glove, and before we knew it we walked into a decked out party room to the sound of a limited edition magnum of Moët being uncorked. Now normally any time we walk into a room and someone uncorks a fabulous bottle of bubbly we’re quick to crack a smile, but in this case the cause for celebration was double: the sun was coming out, and play was about to resume – who was taking the court though?
Maria Sharapova in all her leggy glory.
The blonde bombshell powered through to edge out the deeply tanned Marion Bartoli, an excusable defeat as we can’t imagine it’s easy returning the serve of someone who audibly sounds like they might eat your head off. By the end of the match the golden goblet we’d been swigging Moët’s finest fizzy nectar from had been refilled approximately 5 times by a brunette beauty dressed head to toe in branded gear.
By the time our 6th refill had come along, none other than Andy Roddick and Juan Martin Del Potro sauntered onto Arthur Ashe’s blue and green tinted court – an unexpected treat for a day with unreadable weather patterns. It was fascinating to watch the change of gear after a heated women’s match – the difference in pace is breathtaking, serves tacked on an extra 30mph, the grunty moans that plagued Sharapova’s match were replaced only with a stoic silence learned through years of training and discipline.
This was to be Andy Roddick’s last game, and Arthur Ashe felt electric.
The American heartthrob who’d dominated the 2003 Open was clearly the crowd favorite – Roddick had won his first set, a minor victory that was cut short by the frustrating rain delay, effectively resetting the essential momentum needed to pull through this semifinal. The next sets were gut wrenching to watch. A packed to the brim stadium rose and fell with each minor victory and each crushing defeat – Roddick’s wife Brooklyn Decker could hardly handle the roller coaster ride, although we assume if she’d been with us in the Moët suite with an infinite supply of comically oversized bottles of champagne.
In the end, Del Potro’s momentum won out over Roddick’s physical prowess – taking him in 5 sets. The sweat soaked gladiators embraced, not in a way that signified the end of a match, but in a way that acknowledged that this was a capstone on a career. The sportscasters swarmed Del Potro, asking for his reaction, hoping for a sound byte of how he’d just extinguished the flame of the crowd favorite, but the Argentinian was pure class: “This isn’t my moment, I have nothing to say. This is Andy’s moment.” The sportscasters immediately taken aback by the curt dismissal proceeded to wave Roddick over for his last post game interview.
The second the mic neared Roddick’s face we could feel the entire stadium well up with tears – Brooklyn Decker couldn’t contain herself, burying her soaked face in her friend’s shirt, doing very little to help to stop the tidal wave of emotion that washed over the crowd:
“Since I was a kid, I’ve been coming to this tournament. I felt lucky just to sit where all of you are sitting today, to watch this game and to see the champions who have come and gone and I’ve loved every minute of it.” Tears streaming down his face, beaming smile ear to ear – damnit we promised we wouldn’t cry! Too late – the whole booth was in tears of nostalgia, no doubt aided by our full chalices of champagne.