Monday, September 01, 2014

US Open 2014 - A Taste of the Action

21 hours. Some would say that's too much time spent watching tennis. My wife would not be among those naysayers. After two full days of watching US Open Tennis, I was cooked. Shira, on the other hand, was itching to come back for more. Alas, we couldn't stay another day, so I was spared and Shira will have to get her fix the old fashion way, by watching the matches on TV.

As much as I like to kvetch about all the time spent court side, even I can tell you it's a thrill to be at one of the world's premier tennis events. We saw amazing players: Venus, Serena, Monfils, Raonic, Federer, Isner and Shira's favorite, Djokovic. We saw some impressive matches, like Raonic vs. Estrella Burgos and Isner vs. Kohlschreiber. We even caught glimpses of Courier and McEnroe, as they did commentary a few rows up from us in the press box.

There were a number of apparent differences between the US Open and the French Open, which we were at last year. The NY venue is larger than the Paris one, and the food selection was much more varied and plentiful. At the French Open, having a ticket to the main stadium didn't give you access to the second tier Suzanne-Lenglen court. Not so at the US Open, with our Arthur Ashe seats we could basically get into any match we wanted to (perhaps not the best seats, but we could be there regardless).

On the other hand, the French crowd seemed much more respectful of the tennis tradition that you don't leave or enter the stadium while the players are on the court. But, this is the US, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that people pretty much did whatever they wanted.

It was actually the ball kids who provided the perfect metaphor for the US vs. French variation in tone. In France, the ball kids move the balls around by discretely rolling them to each other along the edge of the court. It's actually quite a sight to see; it's a sort of human powered machine that follows a strict set of rules. In the US, the ball kids just hurl them to each other, having no qualms about chucking them diagonally across the court. I suppose that's just our cowboy heritage coming out.

Shira keeps calling this our 'Recon Mission,' which has me more than a little concerned. Next year, if I get off with 21 hours of tennis, I'll count myself very lucky!

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