Hall of Fame Open

By Tom Lally

We are lucky here in Boston to have some hall of fames pretty close by.  Baseball is in Cooperstown, New York, and basketball is right here in Springfield, Massachusetts.  But many people don’t know that there is another one even closer to home – the International Tennis Hall of Fame in beautiful Newport, RI.  Their grass courts play host to a professional tournament each year in the week after Wimbledon, and this year I spent a day there with my father to see it.

The tournament doesn’t draw the game’s best players or biggest names – think top 100 or 200 players, not top 10 or 20 – but that is still some really good tennis.  And you can get much closer to the play than I could ever hope to at a major tournament like Wimbledon.  It’s only a men’s tournament (the women play too that week, just in completely different tournaments) and it features both singles and doubles.

The main court has some stadium-style seating, with tickets for specific seats.  But on the pair of outer courts that were active, anyone could walk right up to the fencing and have an otherwise unobstructed view of the action.  I don’t care if there’s a fence between you, when you’re standing in just the right spot so that a serve is heading straight for you at 120 MPH or even faster, I promise you will flinch!  It gave me a much greater appreciation for just how fast the game is and how good the players are.  TV just doesn’t do it justice.

Speaking of television, they often don’t show much doubles, but after seeing it in person I would argue that it’s even more entertaining than singles.  Points typically start with two of the four players at the net, where there are many more angles.  Provided you have the lightning fast reflexes required when you have less time to react.  There’s just a little more to the back and forth in a doubles match – more movement of players up to the net or back to the baseline, soft shots or fierce angles from the net, wondering which player will handle a shot, sometimes even the partners switching positions.  I find that so interesting and a little more fun to watch.

We stayed all day, until the final match had finished around 6:00.  By that time we’d seen parts of at least a half dozen matches, and I would have gladly stayed for more.  The weather was just about perfect, like many summer days in Newport.

 

The author of this article is Tom Lally, Wealth Manager Assistant at U.S. Wealth Management.