This past week I have spent almost every waking hour at the Countrywide Classic Tennis Tournament at UCLA.
(Sidebar: I’m seriously so sleep deprived from it, that last night, when I got home from seeing Roddick win his second round match, despite injuring his back towards the end of the third set, I sat down, wrote the whole column and went to type in “Classic” and accidentally erased the entirety and had to write it over…from scratch! You writers and students will feel for me, I‘m sure.) (I know, I know--the “Un-do “ button. I know NOW.)
But seeing these great players up-close and personal was worth all the misery--the extreme heat, physical exhaustion, and working hard to get great tickets. Speaking of which, I really thank the following for taking such good care of me: Mindy Richmond of Mercedes-Benz of Beverly Hills, Toby Zwikel of Brener, Zwikel and Associates, and last, but definitely not least, my recently-annointed New Best Friend, Stephen Chavez of the new Hotel Angeleno in Bel-Air.
There were several highlights of the week. Of course, getting to see Andre Agassi play, and win, not once, but twice, was up there. I even spied the missus, Steffi Graff, and their daughter in one of the suites on Wednesday night. She really does look great. When she was playing, I thought she had the best body, but never thought she could be good-looking. But she’s actually pretty striking now. Unfortunately, my looks have gone the other direction. But back to tennis.
I had never seen Andy Roddick play in person, so it was especially interesting. His brand new coach, Jimmy Connors was sitting right there for both matches, a tad pudgy and wearing thick glasses, but the hair is hanging in there, knock on wood. (I’m getting a little punchy on this second writing.)
My friend, Lyndsey Green, a top travel agent at Protravel International, invited me to Hotel Angeleno’s suite for the Monday Night At The Net charity event, which benefited MusiCares. (The net posts that night were guitars. Cute.) For years, my friends and I wanted to get into a suite, so I felt like a success just being there.
We ate, listened to the fabulous Brian McKnight sing, and watched the comedic play of Andre Agassi, Jon Lovitz, Jeremy Piven, and the Bryan brothers, who are the #1 doubles team in the world. (Twins, who play with different hands!)
And guess who the most entertaining was? Andre!!! By far! Who’da thunk it? I’ve always known he was bright, caring, and philosophical, but would never have guessed he was so amusing. Now if only he weren’t Charley Brown’s twin, we’d have the perfect man.
I was fortunate enough to be in the air-conditioned Clubhouse, tennis’ version of the VIP room, for most of the time, and Jonathan, the great guy who guarded the entrance, couldn’t have been nicer to me, and I’d assume, everyone who took the time to say hi to him. (Oh, so I guess that may just be me then.)
I spent most of the time watching with the best BH ear, nose, and throat doc, Harvey Paley, his gorgeous teen-age son, Evan, and Evan’s equally adorable friends. My favorite is Aiden Lloyd, son of Britain’s former #1 player, John Lloyd, who’s now a commentator for the BBC. This kid is not just good-looking; he talks Wimbledon’s strawberries and cream with me as easily as he does tennis! What great company to have shared this with.
Small kindnesses mean a lot to me, so I have to tell you about the best moment of the week. The boys were sitting separately from Harvey and me at one point. The doc went to get soda, and I was hoping he’d bring back popcorn cause I was getting kind-of hungry.
After a while, I looked up and saw him hanging with the boys. The 5 of them were sharing popcorn! I was jealous, but had never made my hunger known, so I thought just tough on me. The match ended soon after, (we were watching Sam Querry, who’s an up-and-coming 18-year-old from Sherman Oaks), and I went to leave. All of a sudden, here comes Harvey, handing me half a bag of popcorn! They had saved it for me! The thoughtfulness of that act made me actually forget that I was sitting out in 100-degree temperature.