Tacos With A Side of Camilla Giorgi: A Dream Tennis Tournament in the Bronx
Steve Fogleman in the Bronx
Last night I dreamt that I was in a glassy, air-conditioned Ikea, dining in the megastore’s cafe, dutifully waiting out my spouse’s shopping spree. But the weird part was that they were serving tacos instead of swedish meatballs. Or maybe I was in the waiting room of a brand new maternity ward waiting for news on the delivery of a child. Better yet, I may have been in the international flights terminal of an airport waiting for my plane to a dream vacation. Dreams fade fast, but wherever I was, the strangest thing happened next. I looked out on the tarmac (or the Ikea parking lot) and saw a professional tennis match being played in front of no one in particular. One player looked exactly like Andrea Petkovic, and the other player was a doppelganger for Zhang Shuai. It was a pleasant distraction from whatever I was doing, especially since I couldn’t find those meatballs drowning in lingonberry sauce anywhere.
This is the 2019 Bronx Open at the Carey Leeds Center in Crotona Park. Crotona Park is famous from “Fort Apache, The Bronx”, a lugubrious flick from the ’70s. This event is bound to have a happier ending. I’ve been to a tournament like this one before: the 2011 WTA Citi Open in College Park, Maryland. Then, like now, I considered it to be my private tournament and I mean that as a compliment. At least the Citi Open became a permanent moniker in Washington sports. Move the Bronx Open anywhere else and it just wouldn’t sound the same. And there’s talk of this being a temporary shelter for the tournament as they figure out how to keep it in the U.S. Just as Memphis took safe harbor in Long Island, this little tournament is also on life support in the Big Apple. It’s like a baby New Haven, and it means outrageous opportunities for fans to interact with top players. Did I say fans? I meant a fan.
It’s also free. So free that you didn’t even need to enter the grounds to watch main draw matches yesterday. You could just heel your dog and watch Alison Van Uytvanck or Monica Niculescu win a match. The fun thing about a WTA international level event is that they’re fighting it out to make the quarterfinals–on a Tuesday. Come out and soak this one in before it’s gone.
It’s straight out of a tennis fan’s dream.