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First Day at the Open

First Day at the Open
New York City, NY

New York City, NY


Saturday morning, we woke up at 7:30am, showered, got dressed, then headed across the street to grab a bagel (and coffee for me!) before taking the 456 train to Grand Central where we caught the 7 train to the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Queens. The train ride was a piece of cake! We met several other folks heading out for a day of tennis viewing. Once we got to Queens, it was a short walk down a wooden pier to the front gate. Luckily, a friend told us NOT to take a bag into the Tennis Center to cut down on wait time. That was one of the best tips we got all weekend! We stuffed everything into our pockets, including a string bag to use once we got into the Tennis Center, and breezed right through the gates! We immediately headed over to Louis Armstrong Stadium to get good seats for the first match – Sam Querrey (US) vs. Ivo Karlovic (Croatia). We got seats in the first row of the non-reserved section – woohoo! The match was incredible, and one of my favorite chair umpires was even working it! I went out at one of the side-changes to buy Morgan an official cap for autographs. At the end of the match, Mary Jo Fernandez came on-court to interview Sam, then Sam signed autographs for his waiting fans, including Morgan. Toward the end of the match, I got a call from my friend, Richard, who asked if we wanted to borrow his friends’ tickets to watch the Nadal-Troicki match in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Well, duh! As soon as Morgan got Sam’s autograph, we headed toward Ashe and our seats in the nosebleed section. First, we tried to make our way down to some better seats, but a nasty lady told the usher to make us move – not very nice! Oh well, at least we got to see Rafa live in Ashe! We only stayed for one set, though, because we were so high up in the stadium that we couldn’t see all that well. We headed to the Grandstand to watch Andy Murray (Scotland) play Jurgen Melzer (Austria). Melzer won the first 2 sets, but then Murray came back to win. As usual, Murray was full of his egomaniacal antics on the court, but it was fun to watch! Next, we headed over to the practice courts and were able to see Jo Wilfred Tsonga, Dinara Safina, and James Blake hitting – so cool! Right next to the practice courts is an area to try to get autographs from the players as they come off, so Morgan hung out and got several more additions on his cap! Thomas Blake walked by and agreed to pose for a photo with me – man, that guy is tall and so nice! I called the head coach (Brian DeVilliers) at Morgan’s tennis academy and found out that his player, Melanie Oudin , was practicing on one of the outer courts, so we headed over to Court 5 to watch her. Brian let Morgan come sit next to him on the court – very cool! Once Melanie was done, her hitting partners, 2 junior boy players, stayed on the court to hit some more and let Morgan be their ball boy. He was in absolute heaven! All these teenage girls kept coming over to watch and asked Morgan if he needed any help. He said, “Nah, I’m good!” Smooth boy! While Morgan was “working,” I got a call from my parents’ friend, MaryAnn Valiulus, telling me that another junior player, 14-yr-old Christian Harrison, was on the practice courts hitting with John McEnroe! Well, Christian’s dad, Pat, and his aunt, Patty, and I grew up together in Shreveport, so Morgan and I headed back to the practice courts to watch. I kept trying to find Pat, and I finally spotted Patty sitting in the bleachers. It was so much fun to re-connect with them after all these years! We hung out with the whole Harrison gang the rest of the night. Morgan got to chat with Christian and to meet his older brother, Ryan (16 yrs old). Then, we headed back to the City with Patty and Madison (Christian and Ryan’s 11-year-old sister) and grabbed some real NY pizza at Grand Central before heading back to the apartment for a good night’s sleep!


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