Day 4 Citi Open Spotlight: Donaldson Juggle, The Aussies, and Ball Kids turned adults?
I've been coming to the tournament very early every morning, and have had the opportunity to hit with the same professionals. I'm happy that I'm hitting better each day, but it's not getting easier. To be honest, I thought I was going to die playing this morning. Half of the back court was still wet, and while I like to slide on some points, I slipped so big at times that I thought I tore my knee. I'm pushing myself and luckily all is well as I'll be coming back for more tomorrow. One of the highlights was that I hit with Bonaventure again, and she won her first round match today! It's not up to me to say whether or not I brought her luck, but deep down I hope I really helped, or at least I didn't hurt her chances... Here are some of other things that I happened to notice today: The Aussie Gang Most of the Australian players hit are stuck together like glue. They walk, eat, practice, and basically everything else together. I noticed this last week too when I was covering the Tennis Hall of Fame Open in Newport. Now, I am not saying that is a bad thing but it is interesting how they do not want to hit with anyone else, including the practice players. The only Aussie that I have seen hit with a practice player is Alex Bolt who lost to Tommy Paul in three sets today. I guess "separating from the herd" did not help. Ball Kids or Ball Adults Ball kids have to be attentive, alert and quick when it comes to getting balls ready for the players. On three separate occasions, I have seen an older generation behind the players getting the balls. There is no judgement here, but it does make me curious as to why the change in the demographic profile? The answer is yes! For this tournament, you are required to be 14 years older and above. There is also an extensive try out period where those who want to participate need to come in for two consecutive Saturdays during the month of June in order to qualify for the position. So I guess it's time to pick another name for the ball boys -- should it be "ball people"? I'd love to hear what you think? The Donaldson Juggle While Jared Donaldson was playing his match against Tsitsipas, I saw that he juggles the tennis balls in his hand before he begins his serve motion. I actually think it is quite the talent because no matter how long the point was, he was still able to repeat the juggle and motion without any hesitation. Just one of the many observations I have when watching tennis players go through their serve motions. By the way tennis fans, yours truly had the privilege of playing on the next court at Sacred Heart University courts in Fairfield, CT at a USTA 10 and under tournament when I was 10 and Jared was 8. Even then he was more mature of a tennis player than anyone on the court. I wonder if he remembers his Nadal look alike outfit with his sleeveless Nike shirt and Babolat racquet? Jared, win one for the Northeast USTA juniors!