Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Outer Courts Awards

As we wrap up our time here at the 2013 BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, let's reflect on some of our favorite people, places and things from a week of Tennis Channel blogging.

Here are the recipients of the first annual Outer Courts awards...

The Outer Courts' Hottest Topic of Debate


Matt refuses to believe the six cameras around the court are capable of producing an accurate spot in such a short amount of time.  The animation REALLY gets under his skin.  While I also have my doubts, I haven't seen him have such little faith in something since Billy Gillispie was Kentucky's basketball coach.

Honorable mention: How to get back to the hotel from the stadium

Lesson Learned

Don't say "The" when referring to "Tennis Channel"

It took some getting used to, but after our employers threatened to waterboard us every time we say "The Tennis Channel," we learned quickly to call it "Tennis Channel."

Honorable mention: The casino bar at Agua Caliente is not the place to meet women

Favorite Stadium Court Song

Tom Hedden - "A New Game"

I can't get it out of my head.  I guess it's actually my least favorite.

Honorable Mention: DMX - Ruff Ryders Anthem 

Favorite Over-Priced, Impulse Purchase 

Rafa Nike Jacket (Black)

I've never been one to hit the souvenir shop on trips such as these, but something -- probably a poor job of packing for the week -- pulled me toward the shops and encouraged me to spend April's rent on clothes I don't need.

The jacket is really comfortable, though.

Honorable Mention: FILA 2013 BNP Paribas Open jacket; 2013 BNP Paribas Dri-Fit polo; shot of Don Julio tequila

Biggest Disappointment


Before we became official members of the ATP/WTA media at Indian Wells, we were tourists in Los Angeles for an afternoon after we landed at LAX.

Our first stop was Hollywood Blvd. and I've never been so disappointed in my life. I don't know what I expected to see, but what I saw was heartbreaking and worse than anything I could've imagined.

It looked, felt, and smelled like old Vegas.

Honorable Mention: Wi-Fi connection in the media room

Best Meal On Site

Cafeteria's pasta station

It wasn't until I saw Rafael Nadal load up a bowl of fresh ingredients from the salad bar and take them over to the pasta station that I had the courage to try out the move myself. I was intimidated by the whole setup, honestly. But once we saw Rafa work the cafeteria like a veteran and walk off with a delicious-looking, made-to-order bowl of rotini and veggies, pasta became the go-to meal for The Outer Courts.

Honorable Mention: Pre-packaged yogurt parfaits (strawberry, when it's available)

Favorite Match

(1) Novak Djokovic def. Fabio Fognini 6-0, 5-7, 6-2

It was a match we thought would end very quickly after top-ranked Djokovic owned Fognini in the first set. Matt even told one of our Tennis Channel colleagues that Fognini could be the worst tennis player he's ever seen. But things changed once the Italian stallion picked up the support from the stadium court crowd after he went up 1-0 in the second set. The sympathetic roars turned to genuine excitement as the match went on, fueling Fognini to force an unexpected third set. Unfortunately, Djokovic regained control and went on to win the match, but not before Fabio Fognini put on a show in front of one of the larger night session crowds we saw during our time at the tournament.

Honorable Mention: Kevin Anderson def. (4) David Ferrer 3-4, 6-3, 6-3

Favorite WTA Player

Maria Kirlenko

The Russian upset third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the fourth round of the tournament on Tuesday.

She's also our favorite Google Image Search of the tournament.

Honorable Mention: Dominika Cibulkova

Favorite ATP Player

Ivo Karlovic

It's no secret The Outer Courts loves Ivo Karlovic. The Croatian sensation impressed us with his towering stature, dominant serve, inability to return, and gut-busting Twitter feed.

We were familiar with Ivo, the tennis player, prior to Indian Wells, but we had no clue how incredibly awesome he is until we saw him up and close and personal here at the tournament. When many of the tour's stars exhibit short tempers and hot fuses when things aren't bouncing their way, Ivo still managed to show off his wit and good spirit, even in defeat.

Honorable Mention: Fabio Fognini

The Outer Courts' Favorite Moment

Roger Federer's Kentucky basketball radio show appearance

"Hey radio guys, go Cats!"

The brief, very brief, sound clip already has its own button on the show's soundboard back home.

Honorable Mention: Watching Nadal's much-awaited return to hardcourt

Thanks for the memories, Indian Wells.