Saturday, June 6, 2015

Semifinal Saturday: Winston Salem Futures

My third and final installment of the 2015 Winston-Salem futures series.

To be honest, I didn't plan on attending the semifinals but these came in the mail earlier than expected.

Pictured key chains of Rhyne Williams and Tennys Sandgren during their time at the University of Tennessee. "Sift" is one of their favorite hashtags. Originally, I planned to give them to the former teammates at the Charlottesville Challenger in November.  When I first followed Rhyne and Tennys, I was fascinated by their friendships and was/still am envied of it.  Hadn't seen anything quite like it.  They even had their own language.  (They lost in the doubles final yesterday, but it was nice to see them playing with each other like old times).

Friday, June 5, 2015

Thursday In Pictures: Winston-Salem Futures

This is the second post on the Wake Forest futures.  ICYM the first one: My First Futures Experience at $15K Winston-Salem.  

They had chairs this time, first come first serve. Three courts in action on the left and one on the right for the second round matches.  A cool and breezy day.

The best thing about attending futures (and challengers) is getting to see the players up close.  Smaller crowd makes it easier to spot and interact with the athletes  Also, they are free of charge most of the time.

Brian Baker and Rhyne Williams watching Tennys Sandgren and Noah Rubin

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My First Futures Experience at $15K Winston-Salem

While eyes were on the clay grand slam yesterday, I experienced my first futures at the $15K Winston-Salem (first Men's ITF event in the state of North Carolina that I know of. Edit: according to @jaredmckiernan, they used to have a futures in Elkin years ago).  The on-going event is held at the Wake Forest University Tennis Complex, also home to the ATP Winston-Salem Open in August.  I attended the 250 event every year since 2012 and hope to return again this summer.

Futures are the lowest pro circuit events where players can earn ATP points.  They are not glamorous like the ATP level tournaments and sometimes lack amenities found in challengers (next tier up).  But all players start their career there (stepping stone).  Most spectators are friends, family, players, and hard core tennis fans.  Wouldn't be suprised if I was the only "fan" to show up yesterday.

Playing Courts (a.k.a the practice courts of ATP Winston Salem Open)

Unlike the ATP event, there were no proper sitting arrangements at this ITF tourney.  Viewers either stood or sat on the grass unless they brought chairs with them like Brian Baker (pictured below).