Farmers Classic Wrap Up – In Pictures

In the end, the fans were partying like it was 2009. The finals for both singles and doubles may have featured different match-ups than last year, but the results were much the same: Sam Querrey won the singles (defeating Andy Murray), and the Bryan Brothers won the doubles (defeating Eric Butorac and Jean-Julien Rojer). For the first time in the tournament’s 84-year history, defending champions won in back to back years.

By winning this latest event, the Bryan Brothers captured title No. 62, overtaking the newly inducted Hall of Famers Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde for most doubles titles. Becoming the greatest doubles team of all time? CHECK!

Here are just a few pictures of the 2010 Farmers Classic, seen through my eyes. (Click on images to expand.)

Ernests Gulbis signing a few autographs for the fans. He stayed and signed for every fan and took pictures with whoever wanted one.

James Blake showed signs of life, reaching the quarter-finals before losing in 3 set to Feliciano Lopez. Damn you, Lopez! *Shaking fist*

Do not adjust your screen! This picture is in fact, blurry. I tried to zoom in as close as I could to get this picture of Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett (1st row, sitting next to the lady in the hat). He was supporting his friend James Blake. As KG walked off the court and the PA announced his presence, most fans applauded, but a few booed. KG clapped his hands and laughed it off.

A few of the TW staff hard at work. Based on this picture alone, it appears some enjoy it more than others.

Venus Williams stopped by the tournament to promote her new book and to sign autographs. She just so happened to sit in front of a TW banner. How'd that happen?! What a coincidence! Venus was super nice to her fans, who all paid $26 for her book and autograph.

Again, sorry for the blurry image. This is a picture of the "Samurai". The cheering section for Sam Querrey in the finals. Loud? Yes. Obnoxious? No.

Does it look like I'm actually on the court? Because I practically am! Thank goodness for hook-ups. This is a pic of the Bryans playing in their 100th final. 10 minutes after I took this picture, they took the match.

These next 3 pictures were taken on the final day of the tournament and within a few hours of each other.

Yup, that's American Idol judge Randy Jackson at the TW tent. He walked in and said, "Tennis Warehouse, this is Americas shop right?" Randy was very cool and easy to talk to. He wanted a racquet, so we got him the Babolat Aero Pro Drive GT, strung with RPM Blast. I was the lucky one who strung it for him. He kept saying to me, "This is the man right here," and "Thanks, dawg." I should've auditioned for him right then and there. It would've jump-started my floundering singing career.

Forget match.com, the Tennis Warehouse tent is where it's at! This young couple just got engaged in our tent. The guy came up to us early in the day and asked if we would help him propose to his girlfriend. They met 4 years ago at this tournament and so he wanted to propose here. He gave us the ring, which was in a tennis ball. Once she purchased something, we were going to hand it her like it was a free giveaway. Once we gave her the ball, he dropped to one knee, said all that mushy, ooey gooey stuff and proposed. And, yes, she said "yes." I was so nervous for him, I couldn't get the picture of him when he was down on one knee. Too busy wiping tears away, I guess.

Because of the relationship between the Bryans and our own Danny Castro, the brothers made a special stop by our tent to take a picture with us after their victory. It was super cool of them to do that, especially on a day when they made history. The Bryan Brothers are definitely two of the most humble, down to earth tennis stars I've ever met. It's just too bad their doubles career never really took off.

From the celebrity sightings to the weather to the autograph signings to the on-court outburts (see Alejandro Falla vs. Ernests Gulbis), to the record breaking finals, the 2010 Farmers Classic had all the elements to make it a memorable tournament for me. I laughed, I cried, it was better than “Titanic.”

I can’t finish off this blog without  the most important picture. Last but not most definitely not least:

The hardworking TW staff.

Until next year….

Jason, TW

On Location: Farmer’s Classic @ UCLA

The Tennis Warehouse tent

This week I’m blogging from the TW retail tent at the Farmer’s Classic pro tennis tournament in Los Angeles. Be sure to stop by and see us if you head to the tournament. At the TW tent you can score some great deals and meet our friendly and knowledgeable staff.

A staple event of the LA sports calendar, the tournament is now in its 84th year. This ATP event is now known as the Farmer’s Classic, but it has gone through more name changes than Sean “Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Puffy, Diddy,” Combs. Formerly known as the Countrywide Classic, Mercedes-Benz Cup, Pacific Southwest Championships and the LA Open, the Farmer’s Classic is an ATP 250 event.

One would think or assume that because this tournament is on the lowest tier of the ATP events, it would not attract big named players. Up for grabs is a mere 250 ranking points; Rafael Nadal probably has more loose ranking points lost between his couch cushions at home. But the list of past winners reads like a Hall of Fame ballot. Names include: Jack Kramer, Fred Perry, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Arthur Ashe, Michael Chang, Pete Sampras, Boris Becker and Andre Agassi. Not too shabby wouldn’t you say?

Taking place at the intimate setting of the UCLA Tennis Center, this tournament allows fans to get up close and personal with the players. There isn’t a bad seat in the main stadium and the lonely practice court lies adjacent to the food court. You could grab a burger and go sit at a table 2 feet away from the practicing players and have yourself a nice $50 lunch, but with a priceless view.

This year, the top players include: Andy Murray, Sam Querrey, Ernests Gulbis and Feliciano Lopez. As good as the other players may be, there is no doubt that this tournament is Andy Murray’s to lose. The dark horse would have to be James Blake. James Blake?! Ok, I guess I mean dark, dark, dark horse. This is more of a pick from the heart than it is from the brain, I know. But if he could find a way to play points like this, then he’s got a legitimate shot.

James Blake ripping a forehand

The Farmer’s Classic might be small on the venue and light on the ranking points, but it’s big on being fan friendly and heavy on the level of tennis. I’ve been at this event for the past couple years and have seen some high quality matches and points. As the official retailer for the tournament, Tennis Warehouse will be here for at least the next couple years, and hopefully, so will I. So come on by and say hi to the TW crew at our tent, get yourself a ridiculously overpriced burger, and watch some of the world’s best tennis players duke it out.

TW Crew with Feliciano Lopez

Have any of you made it out to LA for the tournament? What have been some of your experiences?

Jason “J Hua, The Forehand, J” Huang