Sunday, September 03, 2006

US Open Blogging

I was one of the lucky ones. I had tickets to the day session on Friday. This meant I saw a lot of tennis and got out just as the rain that cancelled that evening's tennis began. Of course anyone down at the Billie Jean King USTA Center today must be psyched--great matches all day.
But Friday was pretty good too. Here's my report:
First of all, I have to admit that this trip to the US Open was a little different from my other excursions in the past. One, it was cold: pants and sweater all day long. No sun at all. And this was actually a good thing. Too often it has been sweltering down in Flushing and it just zaps your energy. You can't sit in the sun watching a match for more than 30 minutes at a time. So I was quite pleased--plus much time is saved not putting on additional coats of sunscreen.
Another big difference this year: I never set foot inside Ashe Stadium. We had the tickets but didn't go inside. The matches scheduled were fine but the stuff that happens on the outer courts in the first week is usually far more interesting. (In hindsight it wouldn't have been bad to see see either Henin-Hardenne or the Blake on Friday but it takes so long to get up to the seats that by the time we realized they were interesting matches, it was too late.)
But I was much more content watching the last set and a half of the Vaidisova/Jankovic match on court 11 and the Dementieva/Zvonareva contest on the Grandstand. I also saw great doubles including the Bryan-Morariu/Bryan-Navratilova match (well the first set anyway) and good teams such as Stubbs and Black and Shaughnessy and Groenefeld (who look nearly twin-like when on court with their matching blond ponytails and Adidas outfit).
When I go to the Open I want to see what I know I would never see on television. And since I knew that bad weather was approaching I figured this was even more important as the weekend would be filled with previously taped matches.
The Open crowd seemed a but more savvy than the folks in New Haven--for example I didn't hear anyone complaining about the length or level of the women's matches. At the Peer/Schiavone match, where there were several Israeli flags flying and words of encouragement in Hebrew, it was obvious that most people knew why this was a good match to come see--even if it was on court 4. Of course the women in front of me, as we walked in had this conversation:
"Why are we here again?"
"I don't know--because it's that Israeli woman."
I guess that footage played at Wimbledon (or was it the French?) about Peer and her army duties created a lot of publicity for her. The crowd was clearly on her side.
The only comment I overheard that made me groan was a young guy who in discussing with his friends which match to watch next said "I want to check out those Russian Amazons." I kind of just stared in disbelief at him. I think he thought he was being complimentary. But it read, to me, as a move to reassert his white male power over women who are taller and likely stronger and faster than he, by deeming them abnormal--i.e. Amazons.
But surprisingly that was my only negative experience of the day. Well except that all I got for USTA member appreciation day was a can of "commemorative" tennis balls. I guess I didn't really need another bag or cooler anyway--gifts from past years. And I did get a free soda that would have cost me $4 inside the grounds. Woo-hoo!

1 comment:

Diane said...

Oh, lucky you, Ken! I would have gone to the very matches you went to. I was upset I couldn't see them on TV, but had to follow them on the electronic scoreboard instead. Lucky you that you had good weather, too.

You made me think of when I was in Charleston in 2005 and the woman behind me said "Schnyder and Vaidisova. Why is that a night match? Who cares?" "Are you kidding?" I asked her. She just stared at me. But she came back that night to see the stadium SRO when Patty blew Nicole off the court.