Even a nonchalant sports fan like me gets excited arriving at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens to watch tennis at the U.S Open.
I was 8 years old the first time I saw the 12-story high Unisphere, a stainless steel replica of the Earth, that was commissioned for 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. I remember walking through the fair, overwhelmed by the crowds and the exhibits.
Now, I attend the US Open with my husband, a tennis player and avid fan. While I learned to play tennis in college, I haven’t stuck with the sport. And I’m not much for spectator sports, beyond watching our daughter play tennis, now in her last year on her college team. I know enough about the professional players and understand the game and the scoring.
We had time before the evening segment began to stroll around the grounds and watch parts of several matches, some with famous players, some with young contenders. We caught a men’s fast-paced doubles match; a marvel at teamwork communication.
Entering Arthur Ashe Stadium, seating capacity over 23,000, we bought the obligatory Coney Island foot-long frankfurters and glasses of beer, and were ushered to our seats. Early in the two-week competition, the matches are designed to narrow the players. We’re in luck; we’ll see Maria Sharapova and later Andy Murray.
Russian born, Sharpova, 25, 6’2”, easily defeated her opponent, Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain, in two sets, 6-0, 6-1. Graceful as a gazelle, she’s strong and confident. An American resident since 1994, she spoke to a television reporter after, without any trace of an accent, saying what New Yorkers love to hear: that of the four tournaments comprising the Grand Slam, the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open, this is her favorite.
Scottish Andy Murray, also 25, won 6-2, 6-1, 6-3, defeating Ivan Dodig of Croatia.
The matches will get more nerve-wracking as the week progresses. We’ll catch some on television; yet there’s nothing like being there, if only once a year.