Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 10th 2015 Contents A52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, April 10, 2015
Last week I had the good fortune
to be able to attend four matches
at the Miami Open Tennis Tourna-
ment, which proved to be much
more than just a tennis tourney. It
was full blown entertainment for
the entire day on each of the two
days that I was there!
But let s first start with the actual
tennis. I had tickets for a women s
quarterfinal: American Sloane
Stephens vs third seed Simona Halep
from Romania, and a women s semi-
finals with Spaniard Carla Suarez-
Navarro against ninth seed Andrea
Petkovic from Germany.
I was expecting a large American
crowd for the Stephens-Halep
match. However, either the Roma-
nians were extremely loud, or there
were just so many more of them
than there were Americans.
They chanted, yelled, commented
loudly and laughed as they encour-
aged their countrywoman through
her game, to such an extent that the
referee, on numerous occasions, had
to ask them for silence.
This was in stark contrast to the
seemingly-lone American in our sec-
tion, who tried to compete with the
chanting Romanians by shouting
"Super Sloane!" in her high-pitched
American accent at every chance
During the Suarez-
Navarro/Petkovic match, I felt as if
I were in Spain, but at least I could
understand a bit of what the fans
were saying, and could join in with
support for my namesake on the
However, despite the huge Latin
community in Miami, most of these
supporters were from Spain, as per
their thick Spanish accents.
In fact, there were so many foreign
languages being spoken around me,
United States at all. There were more
foreigners than Americans, with a
heavy representation from Europe.
I heard Portuguese, German, dif-
ferent Spanish accents representing
Latin America, Spain and Argentina,
among other European languages
which I could not identify. How s
that for sports tourism!
I also had tickets for two men s
quarterfinal matches. While I was
hoping to see Novak Djokovic and
Andy Murray play, the luck of the
draw had it that I saw Berdych
(eighth seed from Czech Republic)
vs Juan Monaco from Argentina, and
22nd seed American John Isner vs
4th seed Kai Nishikori from Japan.
During these men s games I felt
like I was watching a 20/20 cricket
With vooping left and vooping
right, it was more a match of who
could hit the ball the hardest.
There were few rallies, and if it
weren t for the entertainment pro-
vided by the crowd, I would have
certainly fallen asleep or altogether
left the match.
Monaco s nickname is Pico, and
the Argentinian supporters screamed
"vamos, Pico!" in vain as he lost in
a valiant effort to Berdych. The same
"Super Sloane" supporter joined the
Argentinians in their chanting, but
with her hysterical Americanised
version of "vamos Pico," which had
me in fits of laughter.
Men s tennis has not changed
much from the days of Pete Sampras
in terms of very short rallies. The
women s version of the game is
much more interesting, with many
more rallies and greater, more con-
sistent finesse and tactical play.
In fact, I was so bored during the
Isner-Nishikori match, that I turned
my attention to other events in the
Miami Open which proved much
It so turns out that the Miami
Open also hosts a fun tournament
for the top pro beach volleyball play-
ers in the USA.
Being a former collegiate and
national player, I was quite thrilled
to be able to see such high-level
beach volleyball up close, and this
is where I spent the rest of the
Isner/Nishikori tennis match.
Front row seats on the sidelines
of the beach volleyball court watch-
ing 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist
Kerri Walsh, top defensive specialist
in the world, Brooke Sweat, and best
male offensive player for 2014, Travis
Schooner, battle it out was an expe-
rience I never thought I would have
in my lifetime.
I am not one to be star-struck by
any means. I have seen all the above
tennis and volleyball athletes play
Television glamorises athletes, and
seeing these athletes play on TV
makes them seem untouchable,
unreachable, and even superior to
the average joe like myself. It does
the same thing to our local athletes
like Lara, Ganga, Yorke and Keshorn.
What was driven home at this
Miami Open experience, seeing these
athletes play in person, is that they
are just people like you and me.
Seeing them live, "humanised"
them. Just as I make my living
through physical therapy, they play
beach volleyball or tennis in order
to make theirs. They make mistakes,
have emotions and have their own
challenges like us all. They are just
on TV a lot more.
Carla Rauseo, DPT, CSCS,
ATRIC is a Doctor of Physical
Therapy and a Certified Aquatic
Therapy Rehabilitation Instructor
at Total Rehabilitation Centre in
San Juan. http://www.totalre-
Miami Open, what an experience!
Carla Suárez Navarro, of Spain, returns to Serena Williams during the
women's final at the Miami Open tennis tournament on Saturday in Key
Biscayne, Florida. AP PHOTO
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