Friday, July 30, 2010

#95 Indianapolis Tennis Center

It’s the end of an era. In August the Indianapolis Tennis Center will be no more. For those unaware, Indianapolis has been home to the Indianapolis Tennis Championships (formerly RCA Tennis Championships, formerly the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships). In addition to the outdoor stadium and outer courts, the indoor tennis facility will also close. That facility has around 800 members. The IUPUI tennis team also plays there. It will be a great loss for the downtown area and the Indianapolis tennis community.

I went to the RCA Championships at least once when women participated. I remember going with Paul once (he played tennis in high school) and he took lots of pictures of the women players. Back then I liked watching Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg. My favorite though was Aaron Krickstein. Who, you might ask? He’s a tall, dark and handsome player from Michigan who is probably most famous for his 1991 U.S. Open loss to then 39-year old Jimmy Connors.

For the past 10 years I have volunteered at the tournament in patron hospitality. Basically I would help direct people attending corporate parties. It was great fun to be immersed in all things tennis for a whole week. One year my duties included taking dessert tickets from the players (at one time they ate in the same area as those who paid for the expensive buffet) and I took a ticket from Patrick Rafter one night. Sigh. Another night David Wheaton spoke to me for a while (asking about my height and family, etc.). Last year turned out to be the last tournament in Indy. I think Atlanta got the dates this year. My volunteer buddies got together a few weeks ago for a cookout. Funny, we’d see each other once a year but it felt like no time had gone by. I hope we can continue to get together even though the tournament is gone. I will especially miss Jane, who died in 2007. Jane was the life of the party, but most importantly, one of the nicest people I have ever known. RIP Jane and the Indianapolis Tennis Center and Championships.

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