Sunday, December 10, 2006

Asian Games - tennis

Now as pretty much everyone knows I love tennis. So I couldn't pass up a chance to watch the tennis at the Asian Games. The top players in the world weren't there since almost none of them are Asian (and unfortunately that top-20 mens player from Thailand was injured) but it was still good to see some quality tennis being played.

Matches were held at the Khalifa Tennis Complex near where I work and it was a pretty impressive area. The centre court could seat around 4,000 and the day I was there it was about 60% full. There was a woman from India playing, Sania something-or-other, and a large Indian crowd was out to watch her play. I figure at least 1,200-1,500 people there were from India. Sania was playing a mixed doubles match and decimated her Uzbekistan opponents 6-1, 6-3. People went crazy every time the Indian team scored a point.

With such a significant pro-Indian crowd it meant that only games where Indians were playing had a decent number of spectators, I went over to Court Two and watched two decent matches with non-Indian players and I think there was, at most, 25 people watching. I kind of felt sorry for the athletes - who wants to come all this way and have only a couple of dozen people turn out for your match while next door hundreds are cheering? I guess that is pretty standard in tennis, the crowd goes to watch the big names while the up-and-comers play on their own.

Overall I had a great day but a few things bothered me:

1) The marathon or some cycling event was held nearby so for the entire morning helicopters were buzzing around getting footage of that event. It is difficult to play tennis, let alone enjoy watching it, when helicopters are loudly flying around in the background. Thankfully they stopped by lunch time.

2) I don't think many locals knew a lot about tennis etiquette. I was stunned to see people coming into the Centre Court seating with babies & toddlers. Why would anyone bring small children to a tennis match?!? Not only that but people were constantly talking, cell phones were ringing, and people were even yelling out words of encouragement or whistling - even while the players were serving! I swear the ref was telling everyone to be quiet every second point but to no avail. Hopefully the organizers will have figured out that for the next big tennis tournament they'll at least prevent people from bringing in babies and toddlers, and maybe get people to turn off their cell phones before they come in. (Not that it'll help, I was at the chess venue where they checked to see that your cell phone was off and one guy just turned his back on once he was through security - and sure enough it rang and disturbed the players. Jerk.)

Overall 8/10, I'd go watch tennis again.

1 comment:

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