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|| News Item: Posted 1998-09-21

Extra Innings: 16 hours at the U.S. Open Tennis Tourney

By Robert Hanashiro

My colleague in New York, Bob Deutsch, has covered the U.S. Open for more years than I've probably been living. It's one of those grueling events involving long days, that spans over two weeks. It's an event I've always wanted to cover, but after reading this "day in the life" I asked Bob to write for SptShtr, maybe I'm rethinking this.

8:15am: Fight traffic across the Whitestone bridge.

9am: Arrive at National Tennis Center (or better known as Flushing, Queens if you live here!), park in a close lot, a benefit of being here for 20 years! Most everyone else parks far away and shuttles. I clean disks for 2 hours, then set up at court side.

11am: First match...probably a men's 5 setter between two unheard of Europeans, while Anna Kournikova plays elsewhere and Eileen gets to shoot her. ZZZZZZ. I'm using a DCS520 digital camera and spend most of the match looking at pics on the camera back as I shoot. What fun!

1pm: Transmit while I shoot a match...I have a PowerBook in front of me at my court side seat with a phone line, making deadlines easier.

4pm: Haven't left my seat and into my third match of the day! Starting to get dizzy watching tennis balls go back and forth. I've tried every available position here, they all suck. The stadiumis new and was built with TV in mind, and without any consideration of the stills. So our view down court is of TV cameras and the ball boys, who kneel directly in our shot.

Polite requests for them to move back and down are met with sneers from these kids, who know that in two years they will be CEO's and we will work for them. They do not budge. We shoot photos of them, to show how bad it is. The official response is, "uh...what are we supposed to do?".

6:30 PM: Match over...leaves me 1 hour to clean disks and eat my first food of the day...a highly overpriced "dinner" of a burger and fries for about $14.

7:30 PM: Night session, start it all over again...2 matches that may end at midnight.

11pm: I find out Mark McGwire hit 2 home runs tonight, so none of my work will make the paper!

12:00am: Same traffic is still at Whitestone bridge!

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