I'm still in a tiny bit of denial that this may his last year on the ATP tour. But, since I have to realize that his retirement is a fact of life, I really wanted to see him in Indian Wells this year. And thankfully, I did!
Since I stayed in the Desert through Sunday, I saw him practicing (shirtless!) with Janko Tipsarevic that afternoon; HEY NOW!
Then, as Marat left the practice court, he was mobbed. But, I caught some good pics:
As I mentioned to my friend, Sophie, I don't know why I didn't just drop my camera and attempt to hug him.
Oh well. At least, I got this yummy torso shot:
Anyway, later that evening, I was able to catch Marat's second-round match against Nicolas Massu. Even though I was exhausted (and had to drive back to L.A. for work the next day), I hung in there, and the players took the court at around 7pm. The Chilean Massu fans were really rowdy, but most of the fans were there to see Marat in his last Indian Wells showing. Marat did not disappoint! He won it in 2 sets, showing us every bit of that talent and passion.
We'll miss you, Marat! Please don't retire!