Report on the Calabasas Challenger

10-21-2006, 12:23 AM
So I was there today (friday) for the cal challenger qfs. I caught the 11 am match although it started maybe 20 minutes after at a posh tennis club. Other players there are Phillippoussis, Querrey, and Udomchoke.

When I first entered, there were two guys pounding it out on the first court which i guess is the show court as it had benches and seats. these guys would not miss hitting it to each other. One was Odesnik, 21yo, American, who's ranked 178 in the world. The other I do not know. His opponent, the aussie Nathan Healey, ranked 191 in the world, 26yo, came and they had a short warmup.

Things looked run quite well. There were ample ball people - although maybe a third of them were too old to ballboy, ages ranging from 10 to 55yo; umpire, linesmen, courts were clean. An annoyance was the people behind the show court rallying and talking during the match.

What struck me most was that these guys were battling so hard under the hot sun (no clouds whatsoever) in front of a handful of people, half of which wouldnt be there if they werent club members and could watch for free. To do this week in and week out must be exhausting and I can really understand now why some juniors drop out soon after going pro. There's not much fame to be had. After winners especially early on, thered hardly be any clapping. Towards the end it got better but hardly anyone knew who was playing nor who to root for. I found it easy to just go for the righty (Healey). Ironically, half a world away at the same time Nadal and Berdych were battling it out in the Madrid Masters. Then there's the age of Healey who's 26 still grinding it out for the 50 atp points and prize money which i think was around 10 thousand. I think the tournie organizers are gonna be losing money since tickets are 12 dollars and there were probably like 20 people at most who paid.

But all and all, it was very entertaining. The score was very close. Odesnik was up a break in the first but blew the lead and Healey seemed to find his number upping up his serve mph while Odesnik had gone full throttle since the beginning and lost steam toward the end despite eating a banana. I'd do it again for sure and wish i couldve stayed longer but l.a. traffic sucks that bad and left before i could see robert kendrick.

10-21-2006, 07:34 AM
Thanks lordmanji ;)

Yeah, Challengers aren't very glamourous, but there are better ones out there. And the players earn a decent bit of money with these events, so it's better than your average office job for them.