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Guffey: Why tennis is the very best fan expertise in sports activities

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On Sunday, Sept. 11, Carlos Alcaraz received the US Open in New York and subsequently turned the youngest males’s tennis participant to succeed in No. 1 on this planet. That identify was particularly acquainted to me. At solely 19 years previous, Alcaraz has turn into fairly in style amongst younger tennis gamers. I texted my brother, “did not we see him apply?” The reply was sure, we did.

Lower than a month earlier, I had gone to the Western & Southern Open, a tough court docket event in Cincinnati simply earlier than the beginning of the US Open. It is much less well-known than the grand slam, however all the main gamers – each on the boys’s and girls’s sides – go there yearly with out fail. It was at this event my household and I noticed Alcaraz practising on a court docket with simply three rows of bleachers arrange on both facet. (There are excessive colleges with extra seating room than that.)

I had gone to the Western & Southern 9 years in the past and hadn’t been again since this August, but it surely had me considering: Skilled tennis is the very best sports activities expertise for followers out of any sport on the market. Do not imagine me? This is why.

There’s nowhere else you may get nearer to athletes

Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams. Someday in Cincinnati gave me and my household the chance to see all of those top-ranked gamers, together with dozens extra. We went on one of many qualifying days, the place gamers are competing to make it into the principle draw of the event. This implies the highest gamers are most likely not taking part in precise matches, however that is even higher. As a substitute of getting an assigned seat in a big stadium court docket setting, you’ll be able to stake out your favourite gamers on the apply schedule and attend their 30-minute to two-hour apply classes.

And most will keep after apply to signal hats and tennis balls for all of the followers who caught round for your complete apply session. Once I went to the event in 2013, Novak Djokovic stayed for almost an hour interacting with followers alongside each inch of the fence.

What different sport has skilled practices open to everybody within the venue? The athletes even simply stroll on their very own to the courts, which means the participant casually strolling subsequent to you may be No. 1 on this planet or somebody’s hitting companion. You by no means know.

And, you’ve the liberty to decide on who you watch. As an illustration, within the early days of larger tournaments, you purchase your grounds ticket with an assigned seat within the middle court docket stadium. Nevertheless, you’ve free reign to any of the apply courts and different matches for your complete day. It is virtually an excessive amount of freedom as it’s important to determine which gamers you need to see essentially the most.

It is worldwide and year-round

The boys’s ATP tour and fellow girls’s counterpart WTA tour spans over 30 international locations with gamers of greater than 100 nationalities. And whereas you almost certainly know of the 4 grand slams in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York, the excursions are hosted in international locations and cities everywhere in the world, giving its international fan base an opportunity to see their favorites anyplace.

Discuss to a tennis fan within the US, and I might guess there is a good probability their favourite tennis professional is not American. However although they’re from a distinct nation, they can probably see them play in particular person in a number of cities throughout the US, from Miami to DC

And with the 4 main tournaments unfold out from January to September, there’s by no means a scarcity of high-level tennis to observe.

It is enjoyable

As a disclaimer, I’ve performed tennis my entire life, and it is kind of a household sport, so I’m a bit biased in the case of score how pleasurable tennis is to observe. However, there’s nothing tennis followers care about greater than seeing good tennis, and it is easy to get sucked in.

Whether or not you need to examine consuming strawberries and cream at Wimbledon off your bucket record or want one thing to do in Cincinnati for a day, strive a tennis event. Go to observe tennis, hang around with pals, drink, eat – no matter! I promise it will be a grand slam.

Contact Alysa Guffey at

The views on this Sports activities Authority are these of the writer and never essentially these of The Observer.


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