Friday, March 8, 2013

BNP Paribas Tennis Showdown - The Men

by Savannah

I'm not sure when ESPN joined the men's match. I don't know if they started with the entrance of the four participants when the roars for Serena and Rafa, especially Rafa, almost brought the roof down.

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Who knew that one of these kids would become the star of the evening?

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The players took their places and normal routines were followed.

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It's hard to capture the great shots that both men made.

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And then came time for the comedic interlude.

We'd spotted Ben Stiller and his wife early in the evening and the crowd cheered as Rafa went into the crowd and handed his racquet to the actor.

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No one thought much of Delpo's choice - one of the kids who'd jockeyed for the spot closest to the star players earlier in the evening.

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There were murmurs when the little girl went right to the proper position on court while Stiller had to be prompted where to stand.

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She was an unexpected star of the evening. With great footwork and nice hands at her age I wonder if she'll be able to fight her way to the pro ranks. She's got a few years to go.

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From my vantage point it looked as if both men had a great time.

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There were on court interviews to give and huge tennis balls to be signed.

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Exhibitions are what they are. Both Delpo and Rafa seemed to embrace the spirit of fun earlier and easier than Serena and Vika but in the end a good time was had by all.

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The players all deserved a standing ovation and got them. They deserved to be on the pedestals they stood on at the beginning of the evening. Three of the four are now in California playing at Larry Ellison's BNP Paribas Open that will always be known simply as Indian Wells to hard core fans. One is presumably in her home state resting and preparing for Miami.

Thanks to all of them for giving fans a chance to see not only their skill sets but their personalities. It was a great night.

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