I went to the US Open on Wednesday. I was looking forward to a long day of exciting tennis with players such as Li Na, Del Potro and Serena Williams on the schedule. It was so hot when we arrived that our main concern was how we were going to cope with the heat during a long day of sitting in the sun.
We checked out some doubles on the outer courts and then went to see the end of the Li Na match in Arthur Ashe stadium. We hoped to follow this by catching the end of the Baghdatis match but by the time we got to court 11, Baghdatis was up 5-1 in the third set having already won the first two.
Next up on court 11 was Laura Robson. As Brits we were extra keen to see her play, but as we waited in line to get into the court, a storm rolled in and we had to head back, along with hundreds of others, to Arthur Ashe to shelter in the walkways surrounding the court. The storm didn’t last long, but the rain that followed did. It must have been about an hour before there was a break in the clouds and we could go back to the court to wait for Laura Robson’s match to begin.
Of course, first, they had to dry the courts - quite a long performance in itself. Eventually, the ball boys appeared, followed by the line judges and then even the umpire. All we needed were the players.
Instead, it started to rain again.
Not a heavy downpour but enough to prevent play. We were determined to be optimistic though. We put up the umbrella and waited and waited, because surely it would stop any moment. We played word games to fill in the time as we watched the court get wetter and wetter, knowing that even when the rain did stop, the whole process of drying the courts would have to start again.
At five-thirty we finally decided we’d had enough and headed for the exit. Needless to say, just as we got there the rain stopped. Another few minutes and we would have been out the gate, but the sight of a tiny spot of blue sky made us hesitate. We’d come to watch tennis. We had a chance to watch a Brit play tennis. Should we risk waiting a little longer?
Back we went to the court. Sat through a repeat of the court drying process. Watched the ball boys, line judges and umpire return. Almost held our breath while we waited for the players to appear. Would it rain again before they arrived?
It didn’t. We finally got to see a whole match. For almost two hours the rain held off and Laura Robson did us proud by winning two sets to love against Caroline Garcia of France.
We were so buoyed by this turn of events we decided to head over to the Grandstand stadium where Leyton Hewitt had just started his match against Bob Baker. Unfortunately, one game after we sat down, the rain started again. The players didn’t leave the court, but play stopped and the umbrellas came out. The officials obviously thought the rain would not last long, but for us, enough was enough.
We’d been at the Open for over eight hours by this point and had only seen about three hours of tennis. It was actually time for the evening session, but most of the day matches had either not finished or not even started. (Serena Williams’ match was eventually postponed until the next day.)
We were tired and we had a two hour journey home. But amazingly, despite everything, we still felt we’d had a good day. Maybe it’s because we’re British!