As the crowds intoned the names of the players in cries ranging from anguished implorations to vague threats, the staggered applause and the discordant chants gradually fell into a beat.
The first match on the centre court, between Robby Ginepri and Robin Soderling, would always instigate unfamiliar tongues into twisting alien nomenclature.
Torn between the underdog and the top-seed, the urgings from either camp seemed to cancel each other out in collapsing waves of destructive interference. A dedicated contingent of Swedes, daubed in yellow and blue, and bedecked in Viking hats, rooted for the number one seed relentlessly even as the crowds allegiance shifted with every winner.
After pulling off the upset, Ginepri didnt seem to mind the shifting sands of support. “Both of us have similar names. Robby, Robin. Each time they said Robin, I assumed they were cheering for me.”
Subsequently, with Somdev Devvarman and Rainer Schuettler battling it out, the broadcasts were tuned to strength. Devvarman responded, riding on the back of a vociferous crowd to rattle off six games on the trot.
It is good to have the crowd behind you, but better still to have a serviceable backhand, as Carlos Moya found out on Monday.
Janko Tipsarevic probably garnered the sympathies of the crowd even though he dumped the perennial favourite out of the tournament.
“The crowd I thought was good. They did applaud me when I pulled off a good rally. Obviously they like Moya a lot because he has been here so many times. But I thought they were fair.”