You know you’ve hit the big time when you get to play your doubles match on a practice court behind the loo. That’s right, my friends, that building you see right there houses some of the public restrooms for the Cincy Masters. What’s really cool is that many of the tennis balls end up on the roof of that building, just like the birdie does when you play badminton in the backyard at home. Only difference is, none of the players’ dads have to get the ladder out to go up and fetch the ball.
While the quaint conditions might be a bit claustrophobic (though thankfully upwind) for the players, it does mean spectators get to be really close to the court. You may have to duck when a powerfully served or unfortunately shanked ball abruptly bounds towards your head, but being right up on the tennis can be quite exhilarating. Also, the few rows of bleachers are behind the baseline, so for those that enjoy that angle, the view is spectacular. As the pictures below will reveal.
The doubles ritual of touching your partner after every point.
This treat of a doubles match featured four talented singles players that drew an enthusiastic crowd. Swiss pro Stanislas Wawrinka teamed up with Finnish player Jarkko Nieminen, while the German Philipp Kohlschreiber paired with Russian Mikhail Youzhny. Fans got to see three one-handed backhands on court at one time, and lots of pretty and entertaining tennis.
Please do *CLICK* the pics if you want HUGE versions that show a lot more detail.
Stan warming up his volleys.
A ball in the hand is worth two on the volley…or something like that…
Kohli to serve. Seriously cool shoes, dude.
Kohli lining up for a smash.
Nieminen leaping for a shot.
The Youzhny serve.
Nieminen dipping down low for the half volley.
Stan on the return. And that’s all I’m saying.
Stan showing a little skin on his booming serve.
Stan chasing down a lob. Run, boy, run!
Stan and Jarkko, two guys with two balls…
Stan gets up close and personal with the net.
Oh yeahhh, wicked volley winner from Wawrinka.
Spooky levitation trick. Or just an off-screen ball kid with a rather enthusiastic toss.
Kohli returning Stan’s serve.
Kohli serving, Youzhny poised and ready for the return.
This one is all about Kohli’s incredible calf muscles.
Kohlschreiber/Youzhny powwow. Mikhail is glancing suspiciously in our direction. #WhateverItIsWeDidntDoIt
The ball kid wisely decides to be a bit less enthusiastic with this ball bounce to Youzhny.
Stan going up for the smash.
Nieminen casually waiting for some of those lost balls to roll off the roof. Secretly he’s hoping one will bean an unsuspecting person heading into the bathroom on the other side.
He may have gotten his wish. #racquetclap
“Have you noticed Tommy Haas totally doesn’t wear anything underneath his shorts?”
Stan guarding the net. And looking damn fine while doing it.
Stan and Jarkko, ready for anything.
Nieminen serving, Stan ready to pounce.
Kohli’s all Serious Bizness.
I think this one’s yours, Jarkko!
Kohli trying to distract Jarkko by flashing some skin. It works for Tommy Haas, doesn’t it?
The boys conferring about strategy. Or plotting world domination. Or planning future ice bath pics. We’re not sure.
Flying!Stan on the serve.
Stan dipping wayyyy low for a volley.
Jarkko and Kohli, sentries at the net.
Ready for handshakes at the net. Can you tell who won? 😉
You might also enjoy: Stan Wawrinka: The Other Guy and The Agony of Wimbledon: Facepalms, Face Plants, and Total F**kery.
PHOTOS: c2012 Valerie David for TennisInsideOut.com. Stanislas Wawrinka, Jarkko Nieminen, Philipp Kohlschrieber, and Mikhail Youzhny at Western and Southern Open, Cincinnati Masters 2012.