Thursday, September 15, 2016

Open 2

If you are a tennis fan, you oohed and aahed watching the finals on Sunday.  Wawrinka played like a computer figure whacking the ball with his backhand in a way that seemed impossible unless you were inanimate and stroked on the basis of a programmer's algorithm.

I was at the Open during the first week.  The high school boys met up for dinner on Tuesday night and then saw Beautiful which was just as its title suggests it could be. It was like going to a Carole King concert.  John, one of my cronies, had bought terrific seats which were worth the shekels and then some. Dead center, about eight rows back, we felt the earth move under our feet.

The tennis center has made renovations that resulted in a much more pleasurable experience for the spectators.  There is a new grandstand and, this year at least, the old grandstand was still in operation. This meant that there were four stadiums (five if you count court 17 which has plenty of seats as well) where you could park yourself to watch great tennis. The small courts on the periphery have also had some work so that there are more seats while still giving the spectator a terrific view of the action.  We saw most of an excellent women's match within a few feet from the combatants.  An interesting note about that match was that each player looked fantastic and yet the winner was shellacked by her next opponent.  And then that winner was shellacked two rounds later 6-0 6-2.  So, the woman who, to me, looked like a champion was soundly beaten by someone who was subsequently soundly beaten.  And that victor did not make it to the finals.

We did not leave the center until about 8 pm so we watched tennis from 11 am til 8--nine hours of oohing and aahing.  Caught a bit of seven or eight matches.  We did not eat a whole lot at the center but even with the water and ice cream and something else I cannot remember we almost paid as much for the refreshments as we did for the tickets.  The people who are selling bottled water are hysterical as they count their money.

I have become more attuned to the sounds that complement sports than I had been previously.  I noticed that during turnovers in the stadiums there is music played to, I'll guess, entertain the fans during the 90 second breaks.  Also the spectators themselves are not as mute as in prior years. Tennis players in the past have demanded silence during their play.  I can recall being embarrassed when one of our trio had used a cell phone during a point. This time there was chatter during play which did not seem to be offensive to the other fans or the players.  The Ashe stadium now has a roof which was used during the tournament even when there was not much more than a sprinkle. When I went into the Ashe the roof was open, but still it seemed a little noisy in there. I have been told that the sound was din-like when the roof was closed.  The grounds themselves had an ambient sound which made the experience more festive than it would otherwise have been. The ambient sound was a composite of conversation, music one could hear seeping from the various stadiums, and the whoosh of the fountains that are here and there at the tennis center.  We could see, but not really hear, the ESPN sportscasters interviewing John McEnroe and other commentators.  A studio is set up on the grounds near the Ashe stadium which is for post match interviews and pundit analyses.  The noise you hear there is more from the gawkers who shout at the broadcasters.

If you are a sports fan, and fond of tennis, it is a bucket list item to go to the US OPEN once before your last walk over.

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