Tennis Maryland had been looking forward to the new show court at the BJK National Tennis Center for almost two months. We were supposed to get a glimpse of it last week during the final qualifying rounds, but the threat of Irene turned us around half way to New York on Friday when we learned that Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day had been canceled. So it was that we left Maryland at 6:00 am this past Monday. Our mission was to be in the stands for the inaugural match on Court 17. Nicknamed the Pit because of its sunken court, the little stadium was hard to miss as soon as you entered the grounds. The first match was scheduled for 11 am and then rescheduled for 1pm. It filled up fast for the match, with the seating bowl and the bleachers almost completely filled.
First up was Sergei Stakhovsky taking on the #13 seeded Richard Gasquet. Gasquet opened the match by breaking Stakhovsky. He won the first point, first set and first match in the very short history of the Pit. The first Chase Review challenge was called by Stakhovsky, who lost the challenge and the third game of the first set on his gamble.
We weren’t expecting an exciting match, but we were very pleased by the play of Gasquet in the match. Later that day, the Pit hosted Christina McHale, where the crowd consisted of the entire state of New Jersey. Everyone in that crowd seemed to know someone who knew McHale or was a member of her tennis club. The crowd support didn’t hurt McHale, as she easily advanced to the second round.
We’ve heard rumors that Grandstand will be demolished in the very near future and the Pit will have a little sister in the form of another intimate beautiful show court. We’ll miss grandstand, but we’d trade it for two of these beauties.