Glorious @FamilyCircleCup Begins & The Giant @AndreaPetkovic
Family Circle Cup marks a great time of year: the beginning of spring, the beginning of the outdoor tennis season for most of us outside of Florida and California, and the beginning of my own East Coast swing, planning trips to Newport, Washington, Cincinnati, New Haven and leading to Flushing Meadows.
In the four years I’ve covered the Family Circle Cup, this is the first time I stopped by before qualifying began. Players lounged around on Friday in between practices and enjoyed some low-key privacy for one day at a Premier-level event. That meant it was low-key for me too and a relaxing change of pace. For once, I strolled around the grounds instead of rushing between matches.
Alison Riske and Varvara Lepchenko took time on Stadium Court to practice together. Jelena Jankovic and Madison Keys were also on site, but I missed them.
CiCi Bellis and her family made the trip from Miami, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands and her husband spent significant time on court. Mattek-Sands even spent about a set playing a young girl who was excited to have a pro on the other side of the net.
Jesse Pegula and Maria Sanchez practiced together as well. Pegula and Sanchez received qualifying wild cards, along with Bellis and Samantha Crawford.
The biggest moment of my afternoon, however, was also the biggest thing at Family Circle Cup: A giant banner of Andrea Petkovic, your 2014 champion.
I could see her staring at me as I drove past on I-526. Good thing I’m a Petko fan, otherwise I could have wrecked my car.
Then at my hotel this morning, I pick up the Charleston City Paper and see this!!!!
Giant Petko using the Ravenel Bridge as a net. Nice.
Nice for the fans this year is an observation area for practices and new social media boards where you can see your own tweets on the big screen. It is also the only tournament I know where kids get in free ALL WEEK.
As I left Daniel Island yesterday, I was awe-struck by the beautiful display of national flags: one for each main draw participant.
— TennisAtlantic (@TennisAtlantic) April 3, 2015
This tournament puts on the nicest touches. Now I can’t wait to see Giant Petko defend her tiny little trophy. Since no one else in the player field is over seven feet tall, I think she’s a lock.