The US Open: Murray vs. Raonic

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Monday was a fairly relaxed day knowing that we had tickets to the US Open for the 7:00pm game. So Stark and I didn’t do much around town other then walk to the Hudson River Line and back just in time to walk the 20 blocks north and east to meet Ziv and his friend above Grand Central station for a late lunch.

Supposedly this place had one of the best burgers in town but I stuck to the mussels and a salad. I’ve decided any excuse for fresh water and a good salad is a valid one while traveling. I certainly want to have a foodie’s adventure but I don’t want to come home with an extra ten pounds just in time for winter hibernation chub to stack up too.

I originally had the goal of running every day and I really wanted to run the Hudson River trail but this isn’t exactly the town for midnight runs by yourself. I thought the day time would be sufficient enough but this is the first time I have ever been to New York when it wasn’t late fall, dead winter or early spring. In fact, I was a bit shocked at how muggy Manhattan is at 90+ degrees. There’s certainly no way I have time to get out there and run and get ready twice a day. So I’ve opted for walking everywhere in exchange.

But we certainly couldn’t walk to Flushing in Queens for the US Open so we gave in and bought some simple $10 subway passes which have been perfect for our other cross-water jaunts like last nights dinner with John and Serene in Brooklyn (which was really quite fun for how tired we all were).

Now, I’ll be the one to say it before anyone else throws me under the bus, not that it won’t slightly sting either way, but I am spoiled. Rather, I am lucky. Stark has always wanted to go to the US Open but never had a friend who wanted to go or had the time to drop in. He’s even been here in NYC during the open without attending. So my luck is being with someone who wants to go such interesting places and my specialty is to add as much fun as possible.

Obviously I have never been the the US Open either. In fact, I’ve never even been to a tennis match in any of my neighborhoods or schools growing up. I haven’t played tennis since the summers with Aunt Diana and Uncle Jerry in Bountiful when I was 6 or 7 years old and the same size as their rackets. But I don’t remember being bad at it which is certainly a plus.

Still, I didn’t know the rules so explaining the game to me when games are performed with absolute reverence was kind of interesting. In a stadium with tens of thousands of people, you can hear the ball bounce and the players random grunts of effort because the audience is so silent. For each score, there’s a sudden uproar. For each break in score, there’s an even bigger uproar. The out lines were obvious and the six sort of “line refs” were distracting, to me. Ball boys seem like civilized cheerleaders but that’s probably because of their colorful Ralph Lauren jumpsuits.

Stark’s directions through me off and I tried to make things much more complicated then they were. I understood the game and the totally random scoring system (15, 30, 40) pretty quickly but doubted myself for what I thought I knew. By the end of the three game set, I was keeping score myself and knew when it was over rather then starring at the court with an expectation of something more.

The two players were an interesting match for each other. Raonic had a strong serve, when he made it past the net. He hits fast and downward which was running Murray all over the place. But Murray took his casual, British nature and hit back these blazing hits with slowed down movements as if he were looking forward to tea time and this was merely a morning practice for him. Still, despite the perceive efforts, it was obvious the games were difficult to win and the most interesting matches were when the player’s impatience would turn aggressive and they’d lose their ability to control their game.

The game ended promptly by 9:39, just in time for the rain to come. In the sheets of light rain, we all moved liked cattle towards the 7 which was running express back to Grand Central. From Grand Central we walked the 15+ blocks home making the day complete with several miles of walking and one great adventure.

Here’s to coming back next year… And just incase I forget my tennis sweater again, don’t you worry, there’s a very large Ralph Lauren store built to the side of the stadium among the hot dog and pretzel stands (which we were sure to delight in).

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