The Rome Masters Part Three: The Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal Factor

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The Rome Masters Part Three: The Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal Factor

In the laid-back, take-it-in-your-stride tournament that is the Rome Masters, there is no such thing as a site plan, nor signposting to courts, nor programmes with orders of play to guide the inexperienced.

The trick is to arrive early and head for the two practice courts. Surely everything will become clear.

As if preordained, Roger Federer chose this moment to sashay onto the closer of the two courts, and I found myself, one grown woman amidst hundreds of young people and small children, crowding the fence for an unimpeded view.

It was a similar story at mid-afternoon when Federer and Yves Allegro were scheduled to play doubles. An hour to go, and the outlying court was already a chaotic mass of people, even while Lleyton Hewitt attempted to finish his singles match.

For the naturally reticent spectator, this is nightmare territory, but it required emergency action.

When in Rome, as they say…

So I pushed and trod and squeezed with the best of them to secure a perch just five rows back.

It was, it turned out, a perfect spot. The camera developed a life of its own, and the Roger and Rafa Rome experience got under way.

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