James - Los Angeles, CA | Read James' First Entry
This is not my retainer.
There it was, on my hotel night stand. What it was doing there, I couldn't tell you. Whose room it was before mine, the concierge couldn't tell me. Hotel policy. Hotel policy also banned Damir Dokic, but there he is at the complimentary breakfast buffet scarfing down Mueslix. Not sure what the binoculars and duct tape are about. No time to find out, I have a tournament to cover.
Once I return this retainer.
Easier said than done. Am I looking for someone with good teeth or bad teeth? Is it a glass slipper I have to try out on everyone? Hold still while I shove this in your mouth? Housekeeping gives me a lead. It was a mademoiselle. Merci!
I get to the site. Inspect some grills. Amelie's got a great smile. Not that she's smiling. She just lost to Bethanie Mattek in the first round. The groundskeepers are already out repairing the holes left by her high heels. Bethanie, you minx. Here, open your mouth.
I stop by the players lounge. Chat up a few -ova's. They're all surprisingly chummy behind the scenes. Maria and Svetlana do a mean Paso Doble. Bravo! Open wide. This glass slipper isn't fitting anyone. Justine tried for 45 minutes. That woman wants everything!
Hours are flying by. I bump into Tursunov on the practice court. Girlfriend likes to gossip. Apparently a male player was spotted sneaking out of my room the night before. Great. I'm never going to start this story.
I swing by the commentators booth (P-Mac, love the highlights), a tent hawking Bryan Brothers CD's (2 for 1 -clever!), the concession stand (I swear that cashier looked like Gaston Gaudio)... I'm getting nowhere. Suddenly I'm swarmed by a pack of crazed Serbian fans. I'm famous! No, they think I'm Novak Djokovic. No, they think I'm Jelena Jankovic. Wait, they're Croatian. God this journalism stuff is hard. They still carry me on their shoulders to the bathroom. They're a kind people, whoever they are.
Sadly, they carry me to the ladies room, where I'm escorted out by security (rude!). So now I'm stuck outside the stadium. Me and David Hasselhoff. He offers to be my story. I offer him a tic tac.
Roland Garros! You've had your way with Pete, Lindsay, Roger and Chucky. And now you're kicking my ass.
I turn to trudge back to the hotel when I walk into a wall. A 6'4" wall by the name of Marat. I apologize in Russian (why?). He offers a smile, and a tic tac (rude!). He heads off, but not before-- "My retainer." He picks it up off the ground, then disappears inside.
Marat! He left it in one of the WTA-ers' rooms one late late night. Well I'm glad he has it back. But what about my story? Then it hits me. And it's juicy. Marat wears a retainer! Ha-HA! This journalism stuff ain't so hard after all.
Wait til I tell Dmitry.