China Open: First day at the courts, we all get tested

The shadows made for interesting light on the Lotus Court during the opening rounds of qualifiers, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 at the China Open. Here Camila Giorgi of Italy returns a shot to Mandy Minella (LUX). Giorgi won the match 6-2, 6-4.

Today was our first test of two key abilities: our ability to report on tennis and our ability to find food. Oh yeah — and we enjoyed some good tennis and excellent weather.

We’ve been more successful at reporting than at finding food, especially food we like. We’ve been told several different things about which dining venue we can use. Today we ate with the other media. I think tomorrow we’re going to have to eat with the volunteers, which we did on Monday. From what we saw today, the media are getting fed better. Plus, the media venue is just 10 steps from our desks in the media center. But we’re troupers, we’ll make it work.

There are only seven students this year, which is about half the size of last year’s group. Madison Heinsohn is attached to the tournament director. Trevor Kraus and Stephanie Halovanic are handling multimedia coverage. Travis Zimpfer, Karen Miller, Calvin Lewis and Alex Silverman are doing the game stories and special events.

The first day is a bit confusing, trying to figure out who exactly our audience is and therefore which matches we’re going to cover. It seems that we did ok today, the first day of qualifying for the women. At least we haven’t heard any complaints yet.

One really frustrating thing is the seeming difference here in the concept of time. In America this tournament would have been planned out weeks ago, with contingencies for players who drop out. Here, we didn’t know who was playing today until late yesterday. Real rounds of play start tomorrow and no schedule has been released as of 6pm. We’re having to learn to go with the flow.

Today was the first of three days of qualifying for the women. Rounds start tomorrow, but it’s very unclear how the “real” rounds and the qualifying rounds are going to be held at the same time. Much about this tournament is unclear.

Lots in store for us tomorrow, with several activities and a full day of play. We’re looking forward to it. Be sure to check out the other blog. Good post today from Karen Miller about her desire to be a sports journalist.


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