I have watched the U.S. Open tennis tournament on TV for most of my life. As the daughter and granddaughter of professional tennis players, that’s sort of what you do. But on Sunday night for the first time I got to witness the event in person.
For me the U.S. Open is the most exciting and energetic Grand Slam tournament because it’s held in New York and players can eschew stuffy all-whites for colored headbands and mini dresses. It’s elite tennis with an American twist, which means extra glitz, celebrities, and ruthless hollering.
When we exited the subway stop at Shea Stadium and headed toward the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, my breathing shortened and my eyes watered. After growing up around tennis, attending several tennis camps, and practicing my buns off just to make the high school team, it hit me. This is the real deal. I was not, however, expecting to see a 145-mile-an-hour serve. One hundred and forty-five miles an hour. Thanks to Taylor Dent I saw two of them. He lost to the number-two ranked player Andy Murray but if we learn how to harness his power we wouldn’t need wind farms.
It was one of those evenings that reminds you of the glory of a worldwide sport such as this. With tennis, there are no wimps. There’s no one to hide behind. It’s thrilling, it’s terrifying, and at times — it’s pure magic.