November 27, 2015

Kourtin’ Karen’s Sony Ericsson Open Week 1



Welcome to Miami

Tennis Panorama News was in Miami this week covering the Sony Ericsson Open. Craig Hickman of Craig Hickman on Tennis and JD Blom were on site covering all the on-court and off-court action.


Breaking News at WTA All Access

Due to Craig Hickman’s and JD Blom’s skills with the Flemish language they broke the “Clijsters won’t play in Asia” story on twitter first and with a complete translation later in the day.  Heads up to Chris Chase for recognizing this in Yahoo’s tennis blog Busted Racquet. It was interesting to see media outlets report the story without verification or source attribution.

Of  War and Radiation: Kim Clijsters Speaks



Soccer/Football Jinx

Photo courtesy of

Has anyone noticed that most of those players who participated in the charity soccer match for Japan earlier in the week have already lost in Miami?  The list so far includes Andy Murray, Fernando Verdasco, Marcos Baghdatis, Stanislas Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori.


Look out for Falling Seeds

On Saturday alone 10 seeds including Andy Roddick lost in Miami – 6 men  and 4 women.


Serena Sighting

From Serena Williams‘ twitter account, Williams and Caroline Wozniacki took in a Miami Heat game earlier in the week.



Losing Streak

Andy Murray (Photo of

Andy Murray is officially in a slump. He was a second round victim to Alex Bogomolov Jr. This marks his fourth consecutive loss beginning with the final of the Australian Open. Despite the loss, Murray will climb to No. 4 in the world due to Robin Soderling’s third round exit at the Sony Ericsson Open.


Doubles Point of the Week!




Swimming with the Fish(es)

Mardy Fish has a sense of humor to volunteer to participate in two photo-ops this week – swimming with the dolphins..

Mardy Fish and Dolphins Cheerleaders (Getty Images)

and posing with the  Miami Dolphins cheerleaders. Good news for Fish – not official yet but a Fish win in the next round, paired with Andy Roddick’s early loss will make Fish the top ranked US male.



Dance of the Week

Video and photo courtesy of Forty Deuce

Ana Ivanovic has paired up with Andrea Petkovic in doubles this week at the Sony Ericsson Open.  Needless to say Petkovic has shown her how to do the victory dance.


Photo-Op of the Week

NBA All-Stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat perfomed the coin toss at Saturday evening’s Rafael Nadal-Kei Nishikori match at the Sony Ericsson Open.


Do you wanna ride in my Mercedes boy?

Photo courtesy of

Kudos to who caught Roger Federer driving to the Sony Ericsson Open in a Mercedes.  Mercedes is one of Federer’s sponsors.


Parties and Events of the Week

Tennis Family Unites To Raise Funds for Japan Disaster Relief

Sony Ericsson Open Players Party – Welcome to the Oscars

New Experience with Sharapova and the Hot Shots

GR8 Friends For Japan Fundraiser with Novak Djokovic

Slideshow: GR8 Friends For Japan Fundraiser

Game, Set, Match, Videos and Photo Galleries!

JD Blom and Craig Hickman were all over the Sony Ericsson Open  from the matches to the “Party Patrol” events this past week. Here are links to videos and photo galleries. Also check out the live tweeting of the red carpet events they covered thorughout the week– here

Articles with Videos:

Videos – GR8 Friends For Japan Fundraiser with Novak Djokovic

Video – Roger Federer Practice Session at the Sony Ericsson Open

Video – Andy Roddick Practice Session at the Sony Ericsson Open


Photo Galleries












Gracias, Bogota by Junior Williams


Gracias, Bogota


By Junior Williams
I had a lot on my mind as my flight from Miami touched down at Bogota,Colombia’s El Dorado Airport Wednesday afternoon. Most prominent was whether or not I would regret my maiden voyage to South America.
A number of my tennis fan friends chose to skip the Davis Cup World Group Play-off between the United States and Colombia, citing U.S. State Department travel warnings and Bogota’s reputation for crime which goes back to the drug wars of the late 20th century.

When a driver from my hotel picked me up and engaged me in conversation -being nice enough not to ridicule my lack of fluency in Spanish – it was definitely a sign of things to come: Bogota is one of the friendliest cities I have ever visited.

I decided to spend my six days and five nights in the La Candelaria section of central Bogota, full of 300-year old colonial buildings,university students and narrow streets. My room at the Hotel Ambala was only $42 a night in U.S. currency, and the staff at the hotel made me feel very much at home.
The trade-off: A very small room with a bathroom you have to squeeze into,and the pulsating beat of bars and nightclubs into the wee hours of the morning. A far cry from the upscale JW Marriott in northern Bogota where the U.S. Davis Cup team is staying, but I’ll take the charm of La Candelaria any day of the week. 



National Capital building at Plaza de Bolivar




My American friend and I have been walking all over Bogota, from the Plaza de Bolivar – home of the national capital building – to the Plaza de Toros la Santamaria, the bullring hosting the Davis Cup. In this city that’s more than 8,600 feet above sea level, I can understand why many cited altitude as a big challenge for the U.S. team. We did lots of huffing and puffing in the hilly parts of Bogota.



Transmilenio/Museo de Oro station



When we weren’t walking, we took the Trans Milenio — a rapid transit bus system masquerading as a subway. It’s a good way to see other parts of the city, with mountain tops looking down over the metropolis.

Bogota is also the home of cheap and tasty eats, where you can get breakfasts and lunches for as little as $2 to $5 US (1800 Colombian Pesos= $1United States). Empanadas, tamales in banana leaves, and sizzling meats are just the tip of the iceberg. Dinners are also inexpensive, but don’t wait too late to go out for a meal. Very few restaurants are open past8pm.
Carrera 7 was a pleasant surprise on Friday night . No cars allowed. It was like a street fair for several blocks.

As far as safety is concerned, there is a heavy police presence in Bogota.It’s not unusual to see officers with muzzled dogs patrolling the streets.

The homeless are very savvy. Expect one of them to come to you and ask for change right after you purchase something on the street.



View of Bogota from Monserrate peak



While dining in a restaurant, I met a retiree who left Chicago to live in Bogota. I asked him for the must-see spots in the city. He mentioned Monserrate, a mountain top where a white church overlooks the Colombian capital.

I took his advice, and the views were breathtaking.


Monserrate Sanctuary



Since we were dining, he also gave me some “tips” on tipping, which is not customary in Bogota (though some eating establishments have service charges). He said if you want to give a tip, give it directly to the waiter or waitress. If you leave it on the table, anyone can take the money.
He also said Colombians are some of the nicest and most generous people you’ll ever meet. “If you ask for one thing, they’ll give you two or three.”
He went on to say that Bogota’s reputation as the most dangerous capital city in the world is unjustified.

I couldn’t agree more. Even when I was walking down crowded streets wearing clothes that screamed out I am an American, I’d get smiles,welcoming gestures and strike up friendly conversations with Bogotanos. 



I didn’t get a chance to see all of the hot spots here, such as the Museo del Oro which I hear is wonderful, but I’ll have plenty of fond memories of Colombia, and not just because of the tennis.
Gracias, Bogota! 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He was in Bogota reporting for Global Village Tennis News covering the US vs Colombia Davis Cup tie.

Davis Cup: Fish Keeps U.S. in World Group By Junior Williams

Bogota Bonus: Some Observations on Davis Cup by Junior Williams

Switch to Fish Completes a Winning Dish by Junior Williams

“Uncle Sam is in Trouble” – USA and Colombia at 1-1 on Day One of the Davis Cup World Group Play-offs by Junior Williams




Fan Guide For the Cincinnati Western & Southern Financial Group Tournaments

Fan Guide: Cincinnati Western & Southern Financial Group tournaments

by Megan Fernandez

Dates: Aug. 13-21, 2011


Why go? Because Cincinnati is a cut-rate Grand Slam doppelganger–an elite field combined with the top men’s and women’s players in the world, in a venue that’s a lot less chaotic and overwhelming than the majors.


Tickets run $30 to $75 for main-draw sessions. A ticket includes a reserved seat in Center Court and general admission to all other courts. (Usually, there are matches on the other courts through the Friday day session.) Single-session tickets are sold only for the Center Court’s upper-level section (Terrace). For lower-level seats (Box and Loge), the best deals are on Craig’s List.


Center Court’s Terrace seats are decent. You can see the court well from the top row, but you may not be able to see players’ facial reactions. For a view from the top row of Terrace, click here:


Some notes on specific sections:

  • Boxes 501-504 and 719-724: not courtside, and covered and shaded all day.
  • Boxes 122-126 and Loge sections 224-227: uncovered yet shaded most of the day.
  • Boxes 122-125: behind players’ and umpire’ chair, which obstruct the view of part of the court.
  • Loge 225-226: behind players’ and umpire’ chair, which obstruct the view of part of the court.
  • Loge 208-217 and 221-232: the closest Loge seats to the court.
  • Loge 221-223: actually on the Terrace level.
  • Loge 324-327: as high as Terrace seats, but covered and shaded all day.
  • Terrace 312-314: covered by a canopy and shaded all day.


Avoid the traffic jam on I-71 coming from the south (the exit is shared by the tennis center and Kings Island amusement park) by taking an alternate route: I-75 to Tylersville Road (exit 22) to Fairway Drive. There will be signs to follow to Lot B and Lot C.


For the best parking, buy a Lot A pass online from a season-ticket holder. Lot A has a dedicated entrance.


Cincy is often 90+ degrees, and it feels hotter in the stands. Wear plenty of sunscreen and drink lots of water (you can bring in one closed bottle).


To cool off, check out the on-site museum. You’ll be surprised at how much history the tournament has: At more than 110 years in Cincy, it’s the oldest tournament in the U.S. held in the original location.


Score some shade in a covered box seat on the Grandstand court when there aren’t matches in session. Skip the table in the sun at the food court and eat there instead. This is also a great place to wait out a rain delay—everyone else will be packed inside the retail tent!


Kids can take watch an exhibition with pros, get player autographs, and more on Kids Day (Aug. 13, 2011). Tickets are half-price and include a seat for the matches.


When you arrive, first check the practice schedule posted on an electronic board near the player entrance, west of Center Court, and at the information desk. For the top players, stands fill up at least 30 minutes in advance of the practice time. On the day of the final, the players usually warm up separately on Center Court, starting a few hours before match time.


The best place for an autograph is in the breezeway connecting the main building to the player’s entrance.


Players often sign autographs and take photos after a practice session, at the fence by their chair.


Keep your eyes open for players walking near the south and west sides of Center Court. Does that tall guy in tennis gear walking alone look familiar? Could be Victor Hanescu or Mark Knowle. It’s okay to stop someone in a courteous manner. Often, players who aren’t in the spotlight like to be recognized and talk to fans.


To be on TV, get to the ESPN broadcast booth right after a semifinal or final. It’s set up outside of Center Court, on the southeast side. The commentators broadcast from there before and after each televised match, and fans are allowed to stand behind them. After a match, the winner is usually interviewed at the desk immediately. When the desk is not being used, fans are usually permitted to sit there for a photo op.


During matches on Center Court, coaches and entourages often sit in Box 130, in the northwest corner. They have also been spotted in Box 111, on the east side.


Spring for a room at the Marriott Northeast in Mason, the official tournament hotel. Stay there (or just go to dinner there), and you’re likely to see players and tennis insiders. For a good pool and restaurant, try this writer’s favorite hotel: Doubletree Guest Suites in Blue Ash, 7 miles from the site.


Gates open two hours before the day’s first match. Matches start earlier on qualifying days, which means the grounds opens earlier. If you arrive early, you might have a semi-private viewing session of a top player’s practice.


Eat the local cuisine in the food court: Graeter’s ice cream, Skyline Chili, and LaRosa Pizza from the food court.


Favorite souvenir: Stick-It-Wear?! t-shirts, featuring a stick-figure profile of top players past and present. They aren’t ID’d, but tennis fans would know Nadal’s high-knee fist pump anywhere. Look for them in the retail tent.


If you’re a roller-coaster junkie, make time to visit Kings Island amusement park, just across the interstate from the tennis center. (And keep an eye out for players.) It’s home to the longest, tallest and fastest wooden coasters in the world.


On Friday and Saturday nights, look east around 10 p.m. to see Kings Island’s fireworks show.


Megan Fernandez will be covering the Cincinnati tournament for Tennis Panorama News.  In addition to her online articles, she’ll be taking over our twitter account @GVTennisNews providing updates, commentary and photos during both tournaments.

Updated 8/10/2011