Pasture for these players is inside a cage
The 2015 Citi Open kicks off August 1 in Washington DC. New on the grounds will be a platform tennis court. The court (aka cage) is a raised, mini (1/3 the size) version of a tennis court surrounded by 12′ high, taut, chicken wire walls, now the go-to court for many former pro tennis players. No pasture for these pro tennis retirees. Andy Roddick and James Blake are two we know are getting into the game, but quite a few other former ATP tour players are now at the very top of the platform tennis ladder. Here are four:
Jared Palmer, a former #1 in ATP doubles and winner of two Grand Slam doubles championships, is the 2015 American Platform Tennis Association (APTA) Men’s National Champion with partner Drew Broderick; Johan du Randt (click that last link for ATP info) is a three time APTA National Champion; Mark Parsons is a three time APTA National Champion; and, David Caldwell is an APTA Men’s Nationals Finalist. Former WTA women in the hunt include: Gabriela Niculescu who was on the tour between 2002 and 2008. Her younger sister Monica is playing in the Citi Open.
The game’s secret? It’s addictive (like tennis) and can be played at a very high level even as bodies get older.
The purpose of the platform tennis court at the Citi Open? To introduce tennis players to the game. It’s a natural fit.
Platform tennis, sometimes referred to as paddle, is played similarly to tennis but balls can be played off the screens (see video above). Movement and strokes are a little different, and points, if played well, can be very long. Twenty to thirty shot rallies are not uncommon in high level games. Until recently paddle was traditionally played only in cold weather. Warm weather balls and a surge in interest has ramped up participation year round.
The Citi Open court will host instructional clinics, challenge matches and Pro Am matches throughout the tournament. Look for some of the world’s top ATP and WTA pros to try their hand at the game.
The American Platform Tennis Association is a non-profit with over 13,500 members. The organization sanctions over 180 tournaments around the country including 26 National Championship events. Players are ranked, built upon a point system, as they are within the USTA, ATP and WTA.
Fun sport. I hope you get a chance to try it sometime.