Posted by: englishdubai | November 30, 2007

Fifteen Love

Despite living on Wimbledon Park Road for nearly two years when I was working in London, I had never got the chance to actually ever watch any live professional tennis. When I got a call from a good friend last Saturday afternoon asking if I wanted to go to the “The Legends Rock Dubai” tennis tournament I jumped at the chance.

The tournament was held at the Irish Village and I always wondered what it would be like inside the tennis stadium. Upon entering, I was greeted with a nicely presented, intimate arena. With the weather a perfect 24c and a cool breeze, it was a wonderful evening to sit outside and watch some tennis.

The first match was Thomas Muster playing Michael Stich in the third place playoff. I had admired Stich’s service for many years and vividly remember him dominating Wimbledon on the fast grass surface with his power serves. While some of the flat out speed might be gone the same graceful action was evident and it was great to watch:

Sadly Stich lost in a competitve yet friendly match. Then after, we were all in a for a real treat, with the doubles exhibition match with Pat Cash and Mansour Bahrami versus Cedric Pioline and Mikael Pernfors.

For the next hour or so Mansour really stole the show, with lavish through the leg shots, cheeky jokes with his opponents and often some quite outrageous tennis shots. It was excellent fun and I would have loved to seen a double match with both Mansour and Nastase. Here they are at the end of the match and Pat Cash was wearing his trademark headband – which you can buy online with proceeds going to charity.

The atmosphere at the tennis was really family friendly with an MC between matches, rock music between sets and some great entertainment between matches. My favorites were two opposing dance troupes who put on a great show for about ten minutes:

Following the light hearted previous two matches the final between Jim Courier and Paul Haarhuis was a much more intense and serious affair. Quite rightly, considering there was $50,000 on the line for the victor. While Paul Haarhuis easily won the match it was a real treat for me to see Jim Courier in action. He really is a legendary tennis player of the modern era and to see the unusual whipping service that he produces was a treat. I managed to get a shot that I thought really encapsulated the energy he puts into it:

It was a really entertaining evening and something I would highly recommend going to at least once. It is especially family friendly and even better for me – I got in gratis thanks to my friends. A perfect way to unwind after the hectic Rome party at the start of the weekend. Tomorrow is the final of the Dubai Sevens – more live sport – I can’t wait.


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