Words and photos by Duane Clawson
Let’s see, how do I describe my first real bit of event coverage for MTC? Well, the first word that comes to mind is, badass. As in tennis badasses, with names like McEnroe, Roddick, Courier, and Blake, all of which descended on St. Louis’s Chaifetz Arena as part of the PowerShares Tennis Series. The PowerShares Series is a touring series that pits some of the world’s greatest tennis players against one another in twelve select cities. The format for the evening is simple: four tennis stars, two one-set semifinal matches, one final, one-set match. Tennis fans can also enjoy different experiences provided by PowerShares, such as Play with the Champions, Back Stage Experience, and the Player Party Experience, for an additional fee. Tonight’s semifinals found McEnroe vs. Courier and Roddick vs. Blake. I will tell you I was not prepared for the speed of pro tennis; those serves are ridiculously fast! Although these players no longer compete on the ATP circuit, they have definitely not lost their competitive spirit.
The first semifinal match of the night found a spry 57-year-old John McEnroe defeating Jim Courier 7-6. McEnroe still evokes mixed emotions from tennis fans, as he still questions authority and finds some time to exchange words with a heckler that had made her way into Chaifetz Arena. All of the players leave no doubt they are playing to win but include a good mix of respect of each other’s abilities, as McEnroe looked at a couple of Courier’s serves in disbelief. Roddick, the defending PowerShares champion, went up against James Blake in the second semifinal and defeated him easily in a 6-2 match. Roddick’s 2004 Davis Cup serve, clocked at a mind numbing 155 mph, is listed as the seventh fastest serve on record. And I will attest, his serve still packs a wallop. This win set the stage for the final, McEnroe vs. Roddick. Both men are no strangers to final rounds, as the two combined have won a total of 110 titles. Roddick, and that insane serve, were dominating over McEnroe’s finesse, as he won easily 6-3. The final was not without controversy, as Johnny Mac lay on his stomach, looking up the line, to emphasize a disputed call not in his favor. Andy Roddick, in a post-match interview said, “St. Louis is a great stop for us, this has always been a great tennis town.” This was Roddick’s twelfth PowerShares Series title. Thank you to Chaifetz Arena for your hospitality and to the PowerShares Series for allowing us to be court side. Photos of the exhibition are below:
Contributed by Duane Clawson
PowerShares Tennis Series @ Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 2:00:00 PM Rating: