Hello, Tommy Haas. Welcome to the VLiNG Party Deck at the Cincinnati Open. For those of you who don’t know, Cincy has several practice courts where fans and pervs alike can watch their favorite pro players. You can often get within touching distance of these tennis giants, whom you normally only witness from a stadium seat a lot farther away. With the practice courts, you get to cling to the chain link fence like a rabid circus-goer, staring way too openly at the poor dude or lady who is trying very hard to ignore all the creepy gawking and unsolicited tennis advice as they go about their day’s work.
The Western and Southern Open in Cincy has embraced the practice court voyeurism with vigorous enthusiasm, and commercialism. Enter the VLiNG Party Deck, which is pretty much just as it sounds. There’s an actual deck, set up with chairs and umbrellas, like you’re chilling out in your backyard with friends. There’s also a “hydration station,” where you can get liquored up while you ogle the main attraction on your lawn, i.e., the tennis player booked for that practice session.
Yes, that’s right. If you’re too tired, or too drunk, to prop yourself up at a patio table, the “hydration station” has a handy set of white couches to crash out on. Very nice, clean modern lines, which no doubt didn’t look that clean after the 10 day tourney. Next time, go for a print fabric maybe? Love the tennis ball table, though the edges may be a bit sharp for tender shins.
But we digress. Our very lovely Rafael Nadal has been quite popular in the past at the Cincy tourney for playing shirtless during practice sessions. This year, Tommy Haas apparently decided to do his best to fill Rafa’s tiny shoes and lure a few fans in for a taste of German hotness. If the tourney booked him for the Party Deck intentionally, they got rewarded for their perceptiveness.
As we passed the gathering crowd on Court 15, my peripheral vision noted there were two shirtless men practicing there. Ho hum, seen it all before. “I think it’s Tommy Haas,” J.D. noted. I careened wildly over to the staircase and bounded up onto the party deck before you could say HubbaHubba three times fast.
Not a bad view from the deck, eh? Cincy wisely lures people in with umbrellas to shield you from the burning sun, as well as fans and misters to cool you off. At least you can blame all that overheating on the sun, as you ogle the main attraction.
As the throng continued to swell, and Tommy got even sweatier and more awesome, people started stumbling to the hydration station–to quench their thirst after their mouths got dry from hanging open for so long. VLiNG mixers, which the makers claim have electrolytes and other good stuff to keep you from passing out as you get loaded, were no doubt selling well that day. The PR peeps even ran over some complimentary cans, sans alcohol, to Tommy and his hitting partner in order to say thanks.
Notice there was a cute girl involved, perhaps in an effort to encourage Tommy to stay on court. Shirtless. And maybe buy a couple cases of VLiNG for his friends…
Once Tommy left and they cleared out the people hanging from the rafters, or umbrellas, as it were, the VLiNG folks immediately started plotting out possible future party deck boozer bait:
Let’s not forget the ladies…
Whatever they decide, we’re guessing VLiNG will be hoping Tommy will oblige them with another shirtless hunk performance next year. Here’s one parting shot for you, the one-handed backhand, for those who like that sort of thing.