15 August 2012

Midway through the Western and Southern Open

We're halfway to the finals weekend of the Western and Southern Open in Cincy. The weather's been pretty lovely so far this week, but today we burned. The players and fans suffered through very hot conditions and there were a few withdrawals due to heat illness.

As I sit in my hotel room with burned feet and lips, I can only admire tennis players who are able to play through hot conditions. The tourney I've been to the most is the Australian Open, and it's scorching there for most of the two weeks but today still felt brutal to me.

After 3+ days at the tourney, I have to say I think the crowds are amazing. They seem so supportive of the players and there's none of that horrible cheering faults and errors you can sometimes get at other tourneys. As an American who's been overseas for more than a decade, it's heartwarming to hear such great support for Venus, Serena and the Bryan Brothers. I'm used to crowds appreciating them or booing them (well Serena and Venus anyway) tho I've mostly attended tourneys in Australia and England) so to have such huge support is pretty special to witness.

Of course, being on the heels of the London Olympics and the Williams/Bryans gold medal runs it's expected the crowds would be appreciative but it's more than that.

Today, I watched the beginning and end of Venus' match with Chanelle Scheepers. The crowd's welcome onto Grandstand court was wonderful, and boy did they cheer her on in that tricky third set. She even commented afterwards how lovely it was to have the crowd want her to win so much. Both she and Serena have said how much they love the crowds here, how midwestern people have such great hearts and are so nice.

The Bryan Brothers practiced this morning, and a large crowd was loving every minute of it. Bob arrived first to huge applause, and when Mike showed up a few ladies went up to give him a hug and congratulate him on the Olympics. During their practice session, the crowd ooohed and ahhhed and it was so entertaining. Great stuff Cincy.

Their support is not limited to Americans - today's match between Tommy Haas and Juan Martin Del Potro was also well received. Tommy got a huge welcome and send off and Delpo also felt the love. I love watching live tennis, but it can be hard when you feel like the crowd is actually against a player instead of cheering for one. I can't say enough positive things are the Cincy crowds.

Some photos from today:

Bob Bryan arrives to practice

Hewitt losing to Troicki

Troicki beating Hewitt

Haas and Delpo

Haas

Delpo forehand

Lovely court 3



Tommy

Game set match - Del Potro

Great send off for Tommy

Delpo makes some fans happy

Petra surviving

Venus winning in three sets again

Fist pump Venus

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