Annual Tennis Championships features elite athletes and local music
After watching some of the world’s best athletes run each other ragged all over the north end of IUPUI’s campus at the Indianapolis Tennis Championships, fans will be itchy for some hands-on action of their own — and this year the hosts are happy to oblige. A free party will ensue following each evening session through Friday, closing out days filled with a breed of competition Indy only sees once a year.
The tournament is headlined by Andy Roddick and James Blake, two elite American athletes in a sport that is becoming increasingly international with its heroes. Last year, Blake defeated Roddick in the championship round, and this year they are seeded one and two, respectively, and are heavily favored to square off again in Sunday’s final contest.
Looking to play the dark horse are Andy Murray, a 20-year-old Scottsman who defeated Roddick for a title in San Jose earlier this year, and Dmitry Tursunov, an emerging Russian star with a big game and bigger mouth. He publicly documents his tournament experiences involving his dance moves and women’s underwear on his blog “Tursunov Tales” at www.atptennis.com.
After the tennis action winds down, the beer garden will stay open late to host live music and games of “corn-hole” for the fans. An $8 ticket for the evening match buys admission to the center court, as well as access to the festival atmosphere the tournament is creating for its 20th birthday.
The fan activities engage crowds of all ages during match-play, as the grounds are bustling with interactive games and give-aways. Between matches, fans can buy tennis balls for $1 and then hurl them toward a giant novelty milkshake on center court. If it goes in, you win a prize — however, there is no prize quite like the comedic value of defenseless line-judges dancing around a barrage of tennis balls raining down from the stands towards their skulls.
Those of you who can scarcely see Roddick’s 100mph serves — let alone get a racket on them — will still be able to compete for prizes in the Nintendo Wii Challenge, a free video-tennis tournament available throughout the week.
Thursday is college night, which is being hyped as “Tennis Meets Animal House.” There will be drink specials and a $2 discount on admission for college students, faculty and alumni. The rock will be provided by Living Proof, “Indy’s Best Cover Band” according to Indianapolis Monthly. The music starts around 9 p.m. immediately following the day’s marquee match; but drinks, food and entertainment will be available all day and night.
There isn’t a bad seat in the house, with ticket prices ranging from $8 to $65, and one of the city’s most underrated events has special offers for “We Love Our Troops Day” on Wednesday, “College Day” on Thursday and “Ladies Day” on Friday. The tennis sessions begin at 12:30 and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Wednesday, Matt Roushe performs; Friday, Island Breezes will treat the city to their mellow tunes, ushering in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Check out www.nuvo.net for daily updates and a schedule of special events and discounts.
Indianapolis Tennis Championships
IUPUI campus (just west of Military Park, just south of Herron School of Art & Design)
Ticket and other info: www.rcatennis.com
Check out www.nuvo.net for daily updates and a schedule of special events and discounts."""