Once upon a time, Indianapolis had a tennis tournament. It was held at the Indianapolis Tennis Center on the IUPUI campus and I remember attending it when I was a 12-year-old NJTL player. That was the year Boris Becker won Wimbledon for the first time at the age of 17 and I remember him walking through the grounds (flanked by security) and being in awe that a guy only a few years older than me could win the biggest tennis tournament in the world.
In time, our clay court tournament converted to a hard court event and I still traveled downtown to see some of the biggest names in the game battle it out, but 10 years ago, it was painfully clear the party was over. attendance was down, the big players were no longer making a point of showing up and the last person I saw practicing on Centre Court in 2004 was Michael Chang. It was the end of an era, but I wasn’t too upset. At that time, tennis wasn’t one of my top priorities…it was something I shared with my dad and when he died…my love of the game died too and I honestly never thought I would get “back into the game.”
I was wrong. A few years ago, something happened that renewed my interest in tennis and I have been a court junkie ever since. I typically wake up in the morning saying “There’s a tennis tournament happening somewhere in the world” and I am not happy until I can stream it. I also began looking into the Western & Southern Open and realized that it happened lless than two hours from my home in Cincinnati and I decided I had to go there. My family took me for my birthday two years ago where I met Victoria Azarenka, Richard Gasquet, watched Venus Williams practice (what a powerhouse!) and was like a kid on Christmas morning. As though it couldn’t get any better, last year, I attended as a member of the media and was in awe as I sat in on a press conference that included none other than Serena Williams.
I am pleased to say that this year I will once again be at the tournament and this time, my readers will be treated to all of the action as I blog live from the event. Not a tennis fan? Don’t worry…this blog will not only include news from the world of tennis, but plenty of color commentary as well. I will give you recommendations on food, cool things to do in Cincy, hotel recommendations and oh yeah…player interviews and photos as well.
If you are a tennis fan, live in the Midwest and have never been at the Western & Southern Open, I highly recommend it. The venue is awesome, the staff and volunteers are great, it’s the perfect way to spend a summer day and I can’t wait to get there.