The 2012 CitiOpen felt like a mini-US Open. With men’s and women’s matches in simultaneous play, there were more players and coaches running around the grounds of Rock Creek Park this year and it made the tournament feel more important than ever. That’s saying a lot when you’ve got to compete with the Olympics for the tennis world’s attention.
#1: Wayne Bryan
Wayne Bryan is a funny guy. He says things we can’t to players and fans. He told the crowd at the Pro-Am that “Jonathan Marray just won Wimbledon and $250,000.00. The money’s all gone now. He spent it all…on beer”.
At the Corona ‘Night at the Net’ event, he brought up a random fan and told everyone that it was Enrique Iglesias and asked him to sing. Moments later, he brought two men up to the mic (who happened to be reporters) and told the crowd that they were half of the original Four Tops. And asked them to sing. Zing! No offense, and here’s a bucket of Corona swag to lessen the sting. Slightly risque stuff in a politically correct world, but all in good fun. He is every tennis fan’s wild uncle. You laugh a lot and you cringe a little.
#2: The Biggest Little Station in Washington: Live Sports Radio
I loved the little radios I get at the US Open every year. In fact, I keep an American Express card on hand that I only use once a year at the Open to get my hands on one. They’re a great way to get in-depth coverage of the match you’re watching, and more importantly to find out about a match next door that’s about to go to a third set tiebreak. LiveSportsRadio.com stepped up this year to offer ’CitiOpen Radio’. Former ATP pro and current Tennis Channel contributor Doug Adler impressively anchored the exhaustive coverage, with Marc Stern from ESPN 980 co-anchoring in the booth. WTOP and Washington Capitals correspondent Ben Raybe covered the grounds for the broadcast. I hope that this is a permanent fixture in Rock Creek Park and I’m grateful that the guys let me go on the air during the women’s finals to talk tennis.
#3 Charlie Brotman: DC Legend in the Booth
There’s a reason they call it the Charlie Brotman Press Box. He is a Living Legend. The man was calling Washington Senators baseball games when my dad was a kid in the ’50s(!) and he still ably navigates up and down the five stories of stairs five times a day to provide the crowd with stadium announcements. He’s an unbelievable encyclopedia of all things sports-related in the Nation’s Capital. In the video above, he even talks about his pro football minority ownership interest in the Washington Federals of the long-defunct USFL.
#4 Carole Dell
In addition to serving as the hostess of the event and spending probably 100 hours on site at tournament events, Carole Dell spent a hot Saturday dedicating herself to the animals for PetConnect Rescue, which places rescued animals with loving owners. As the wife of the founder of the event, she has access to an impressive suite on Stadium Court. Yet here she was, in the heat, trying to send some sweet dogs to good homes. Some people give money. Some people give time. When they do both, that’s dedication. She chatted my family up and even invited us to pop up to the Lagardere suite anytime. Who says Washington’s no longer a small town? OK, I admit that I do. Sometimes my position is poked full of holes when I meet good people like Carole Dell and Charlie Brotman.