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Old 11-10-2003, 05:51 AM   #1
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Default Westside venue gets mixed reviews

Westside venue gets mixed reviews
Court, stadium criticized; Agassi has no complaints with either
By MEGAN MANFULL
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle
Roger Federer has had time to adjust to the tendencies of the stadium court at Westside Tennis Club, but that doesn't mean he likes it.

The day before his opening match against Andre Agassi in the Tennis Masters Cup, Federer on Sunday criticized the size of the stadium and the condition of the new GreenSet court.

"The court is leaning a little bit," he said. "It's strange. There's a little bit of waves on the court and the ball bounces strange. We all have the feeling that it's going downhill sideways."

Rainer Schuettler said he also was unhappy with the conditions.

"The court is definitely not great," he said. "For me, it's actually surprising the condition of the court, since it's new. I didn't expect that."

The players are correct about the slant. Every outdoor hardcourt is required to have a slight slope to help with drainage. The stadium court at Westside, which was laid by the ATP and GreenSet, drains to the side.

As for the "waves," ATP tournament director Brad Drewett said no two outdoor courts are the same. He added that players are having to make an adjustment by playing on outdoor courts after spending two months on indoor courts. This is the first time the Masters Cup has been held outdoors since 1974.

"To get an outdoor tennis court absolutely computer perfect ... I don't know of a court where that's been done," Drewett said. "Yes, the court has a slope on it, but that's standard and usual. I think once the players have been here for some time and made the adjustments after six weeks of indoors, I'm sure the tennis is going to be great."

Agassi, who was the first to arrive at Westside last week, said he has experienced no problems with the court.

"I think every court has its sort of personality," he said. "You know, wind blows a certain way; a court always drains a certain way. It leans one way or another, and you realize on this side of the court the wide serve is more effective than on that side of the court. You figure out a few subtleties with the court.

"But I don't think it's sort of anything that needs to be focused on. It's an incredible stadium, and it's going to be an incredible environment. At the end of the day, two guys have to deal with it. That's what tennis is all about."

Agassi added he liked the intimacy of the 7,500-seat stadium and that "it's a great size stadium for tennis."

But not everyone agreed. Carlos Moya said he was surprised it wasn't bigger. And Federer said the event should be held where more people can attend.

"Center court is quite small for my tastes for a Masters, but I don't decide that kind of stuff," Federer said. "It looks small. It's not so high. I don't know how many people fit, but I think for a Masters, you could fit more in there.

"I just think that more people could come out and watch and see the best eight. ... You've only got top-10 guys here, and for this I think it should be a very big event with a big stadium."

===============

I'm a fan of the intimate atmosphere for things like this so I guess a small stadium sounds nice to me... it's too bad there's "controversy" about the court and the stadium considering it's brand-spanking new

Last edited by Deboogle!. : 11-10-2003 at 06:00 AM.
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