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Reflections On Indian Wells Tennis 2018 • BNP Paribas Open •

Photo by Alejandro Gonzalez

 

 

By LOU Fuller

 

Living virtually a topspin lob from Queens, NY my whole life, the U.S. Open has always been my hometown tournament. In fact, coming from a tennis family, I made annual trips to Forest Hills for the “Nationals”… Great memories of seeing Vic Seixas and Herb Flam in the ’50′s, Gar Mulloy, Bill Talbert, Pancho Segura and in the mid-’60′s Pancho Gonzalez & Richard Gonzales Jr. , RAFAEL Osuna, Torben Ulrich, Newk and Roche, Roy Emerson, Martin Mulligan, Laver, Rosewall, Stolle… All the Aussies. [Gene Scott, seeing Julie Heldman take out BJK, Herb Fitzgibbon, Clark and Carole Graebner, Gussie Moran…]

 

Since the Open’s move to Flushing in the late ’70′s, I have been attending virtually every year for 4 decades. However, the experience of watching live tennis has waned for me in recent years, what with noise, congestion and the cavernous • some think a poorly designed Arthur Ashe Stadium… Now, in fact, more and more every year I have been turning down tickets to the matches, opting instead for the comfort of my living room and the High Def, 60″ t.v. on the wall.

 

Now this is how you watch tennis, I’ve been convincing myself, all these many years.

 

All that changed with my trip to tennis paradise, aka the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, for the BNP Paribas Open.

 

With an incredible opportunity to sit in proximity to the court only eclipsed by the lines-people, I am transfixed watching live, up close tennis like I haven’t in many, many years. I’m watching the stars, and future stars of our game–and it’s not just watching, it’s SEEING and HEARING and FEELING the joy, anger, frustration • all the emotions the players bring to the battle. The ‘c’mons, vamos’”, Allez… the fist pumps…. racquet smashes, angry words with the umpire, or even with the crowd.

The nervous player’s box, where the coach chatters with his or her player incessantly. The sweat pouring off. The grunts & groans of extreme exertion (fortunately I was spared the SHRIEKING of Vika & Maria), the sounds of running, stopping, sliding, reversing…. The sounds of thunderous flat, heavy top and nasty slice…. The elegant massage of a beautiful dropper. The electricity in the air…. The crowds backing their favorite.

The genuine embrace of friendship or the perfunctory handshake at the net. Anything and everything right there for you to sense and feel. The experience of the battle is so PURE.

 

Not insignificant is the ABSENCE of the blathering t.v. analysts who tell me way more than I need to know or hear…

 

Back home, watching the last three days of the tournament, once again in the comfort of my living room and my 60″er, listening to the blathering pundits.

 

Real live tennis. Now I know what I’m missing.

 

Editors Note: LOU is so right. Tennis is awesome on TV. But there’s nothing like the real thing. Tennis is feeling the same thing the whole world is living in ••• drumroll •ready? • THE GREATEST GENERATION GAP known in mankind…

The TENNIS demographics for ticket patrons (people that buy the same seats annually 11 months ahead of the following year’s event) as well as a ticket purchase for a daily session globally are mostly people aged 45-65. And maybe ten percent below that and above that. So live tennis can’t be so costly. Grounds passes should be $20 dollars tops. Parking shouldn’t be $25 cash no receipt. Ticket sales can’t be via social media. And the old fashioned “Follow Up” barely exists… There is so much tennis that can share with the WORLD.

Watch tennis live and let sponsors pay the prize money just like it was for more than two decades…

Make it affordable for all…

#Hateseeingemptyseats

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