Just prior to Noon on Championship Sunday at the 2010 BMW Tennis Championship the two singles finalists and two doubles finalist teams were preparing for their repsective battles to cap off the week-long tournament. At the same time, couple thousand of people began arriving at the Sunrise Tennis Club to watch and display their appreciation for the skills and determination these athletes will show as they fight to the finish. These are the fans.
A fan is defined as an “enthusiastic devotee, follower, or admirer of a sport, pastime, or celebrity,” and that is exactly what can be found at this tournament. Whether cheering from the stands, waving their country’s flag, or enjoying the international food and live music, high-energy tennis enthusiasts have come out from all over the Sunshine State and beyond to support the tournament.
“I was at the US Open last year, and this is more exciting because you are so close, you can see the players' faces.” said Richard Hersh, from Sunrise, FL. “My wife likes to see the faces,” he laughed.
Hersh came with his friends, Mark and Sterling Kreiger, who have been bringing people to the tournament for years.
“Mark and Sterling have a brunch every year for about 30 people, and then they bring us all to the tournament,” explained Hersh.
Tennis aficionados of all ages and from all walks of life at the tournament shared similar sentiments.
Pat Davis-Lemessy and her eight-year-old daughter Denae, from Miami Lakes, FL, came out for the semifinals yesterday and, having enjoyed themselves so much, just had to return for the finals. Denae just started playing tennis and wanted to see a tournament. “After seeing the semifinal yesterday, she [Denae] wanted to come back today,” said Pat Davis-Lemessy.
Denae’s favorite team is top-seeded Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes in the doubles final. Not a bad choice for the budding tennis player as she selected the defending US Open and French Open doubles champions.
Especially enthusiastic are fellow tennis players, such as Joe Morguess from Tamarac, FL. “As a player and athlete my whole life, I really appreciate the speed and power [of the players], and I relate to it,” explained Morguess.
The thrilling action has inspired players like Carol Ferelli from Boca Raton, a lifelong tennis player who is sidelined for the moment. “I’m on the injured list right now, and watching this makes me excited to play again!” said Ferelli.
The fan consensus was that the BMW Tennis Championship was a delightful tennis experience where they could experience top-quality tennis up close. As Morguess put it, “It’s wonderful to see top players up close, it’s almost personal.”
Story by Briana Bramm, BMW Tennis Championship Media Staff March 21, 2010