The name of the tournament may have changed, but the long-standing National Parks Recreation Family Day remains at Washington’s pro tennis tourney. I’m happy to report that it continues to be one of the best kids days in tennis nation. Due to the inclusion of the WTA this year and the doubling of the number of matches, the footprint of fun had to be compacted from previous years. The close quarters didn’t bother the kids. The first 3,000 family members attending today’s session received free admission and a free lunch. Facepainting, moon bounces, the Washington Kastles Mascot Topspin, appearances by pro players and a 10 and Under Tennis playoff kept kids occupied while their parents longed to watch the professional tennis that surrounded them on all sides.
There were also dogs. PetConnect Rescue is a pet rescue agency that must be in at least its third year at Family Day. The organization started in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and has saved thousands of animals slated for euthanasia. After a brief trip to the media center, I found my family getting photographed with a cute pooch. As I chatted about the organization with a knowledgeable rescue volunteer, I learned that the volunteer was none other than Carole Dell herself, the first lady of the CitiOpen. Her dedication to the animals on a steamy day was impressive. As the wife of the founder of the event, she has access to an impressive suite on Stadium Court. Yet here she was, in the heat, trying to send some sweet dogs to good homes. Some people give money. Some people give time. When they do both, that’s dedication.
Sometimes, the tennis community seems so small. You’re never more than three degrees of separation from anyone in the sport. Yesterday, I held a door for a volunteer and helped her get a cart down some steps. Her name was Erin Querrey. Yep. The little sister to Big Sam and a summer intern at Lagardere, the tournament’s host and Sam’s agency.