Day 2 Citi Open Spotlight
So I am already at the Citi Open, ready to start my day. Notes in one hand, phone in the other. Waiting for play to start when I suddenly realize, play does not start until 2 PM. Talk about being early. But! The bright side is that I was able to hit with Zarina Diyas, ranked 63 in the world, and let me tell you, even though she was coming back from an injury, she most definitely kicked my ass. I didn't have breakfast, no coffee, and nerves that were just spilling out of me. It took me 10 minutes to figure out how to hit a forehand. But more on that later.
New Shot Clock for Tennis
The Citi Open and ATP World Tour gave the media an opportunity to sit down and talk to Gayle David Bradshaw who is the Executive Vice President Rules and Competition. The reason behind this was because of the new shot clock that has been implemented into the tournament. After the US Open announced that they would add a serve shot clock for the players to use, the ATP gathered together with not only their committee, but with other tournaments as well as the WTA. They came to the conclusion that this would be another improvement for the game of tennis moving forward. This point in the conversation led to the discussion of how last years NextGen Finals tournament had a multitude of innovations to the game of tennis; a shot clock, live hawkeye, in game coaching for the players via headsets. They will continue to use these innovations for the next year but will stop after next year until further discussion about the possibility of making these new attributes to the game permanent.
To go into the specifics, there are two parts of the shot clock process; the Warm-Up Clock and then the Serve Clock. The warm up clock goes a system called the 1-5-1. One minute for the players to put down their equipment and get settled in their chairs, five minutes for warm ups, then another minute once they sit back down to get ready for their match. So far, according to Bradshaw, there has been positive feedback from the players and the chair umpires. Giving players a time and creating more transparency for the fans to understand how much time they have to serve. Now, the Serve Clock will be giving tennis players 25 seconds to serve. The clock will start once the chair umpire announces the score to the crowd. Giving the players a clear indications of when the clock is about to start. The receiver must remember that they are going at servers pace and must be aware at all times, no matter what time the shot clock is giving. We must remind tennis fans that this rule isn't new. The rule has always been around but by adding these clocks it allows fans to understand the time between points and make things clear for the fans.
Another rule that Bradshaw brought up that might be implemented is that players may start getting their own towels instead of ball boys getting it for them. It made me think of the junior days when I would have to get my own balls and my towel would be lying on the dirty court in the back. It not only is a good things to humble the players, it also is a safer way to protect the ball boys from germs and disease. Think about it, some players blow their nose into their towels and throw it to the ball boys. That's just disgusting.
It rained... That is all. For too long. The matches started playing at 10 PM. It's currently midnight and all the matches are still going on. Wawrinka and Donald Young are waiting to play. WAITING!!
Hitting with the Pros
Let me tell you something, I cannot believe that I had a chance to hit with a pro. I did not eat anything. No coffee. AND I was so nervous that I couldn't find my stride until halfway through the hitting session. The fact that I was able to hit with a Top 100 player in the world on the women's tour is always an experience. I felt like I was under a microscope of pressure. Making sure I hit everything back perfectly. Make sure I'm not making any mistakes so that way I can a worthy practice partner for a professional tennis player.