On the 1st of this month I went to the Ariake Colloseum (a real cr*p name I know!) in Odaiba to see the ladies semi-finals of the Toray Pan Pacific Tournament. I bought my ticket in advance hoping to see the likes of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova but the former pulled out before the tournament and the latter was knocked out early by a 40 year old Japanese player who sadly didn’t go on to make it to the last four. That would have been good for the attendance but it wasn’t to be. I was in the end thankful that World #2 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark made it through.
After some very wet weather in the days before it was a nice sunny day but the crowds certainly didn’t come out to see it with the arena being probably less than a third full. I got a ticket for 4000yen (30 quid!) and that was the cheapest one in the top of the stands. A good view of the action but I wanted to get a bit closer so moved down and around the arena a fair bit. I find the Japanese to be a bit too passive at times. They often tend to sit, watch and wait to be entertained and I was quite shocked to see that a fair few don’t even bother to clap!
They certainly clapped though when the foreign umpire told the crowd in Japanese to ‘sit down quickly thank you’ which is nice if you’re here on holiday and use some of their language. However, I hate it when you get complimented on your language skills just for saying some very simple phrase in their mother tongue. Furthermore, there was one guy behind me reading his book (probably just in between games but its still a bit weird if you ask me) and another sleeping as only Japanese can do. You name a place and they will sleep in it!
My ticket was for the two ladies semi’s of which the first one featuring Wozniacki v Azarenka was the best. A three set affair whereas the next match between French Open champion Schiavone of Italy and Russia’s Dementieva saw the latter win. Both matches were interesting not only for the gameplay but also for the strange grunts coming from the Belarus and Italy players. I can’t remember who was playing in the two doubles matches which followed and to be honest I didn’t really care. It looked like the last match was going to a third set and so I left before the conclusion of that as it would have gone on till close to 11pm and I had work early the next morning.