This year at the US Open Starwood Hotels (SPG) and Amex hosted an event in the hospitality pavilion. For those of you who have been into the hospitality pavilion or to an SPG event before you know how amazing it is.
Beautiful white and fuscia orchids lined the entrance. In the SPG/Amex room they had set up two amazing canopy type areas with lounges for guests to sit, chat and drink the amazing vodka peach sangria’s.
Guests gathered and talked about the rain delays and the impending arrival of seven time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander. A man in a group I spoke to had driven from Washington DC (from memory) that day for the event and the scheduled quarterfinals after dinner. He was passionate about tennis, saying that while he got tips from Serena Williams’ game what he wanted to know how players didn’t get more sun burnt and how they could possibly see on court without hats or sunglasses.
Around the room there were lots of similar questions, questions away from the standard questions thrown at tennis players for which they have almost standardised responses. Of course people were also talking about Rafael Nadal’s recent cramping problems.
When Mats Wilander arrived he was very smoothly interviewed by pro Luke Jensen. They talked about the importance of the competitive intensity in a players eyes and how players in Mats time used to deliberately wait for their opponent to cross the net at change of ends, starring at them or nudging them as they went past and it was all part of gamesmanship.
I, like many of you, am so used to the standard questions tennis players were asked and Mats was so refreshing. I never would have thought players didn’t wear glasses so as not to hide their steely stares. That was just one of the many questions Mats fielded and I have to say I was genuinely fascinated by his responses.
The event was a great success with a group telling me how much fun they had, how much food they ate (it was GREAT food) and how glad they were that they had come even though matches were cancelled due to the ongoing rain.
If you’re ever in NYC for the US Open I can’t recommend a SPG/Amex event highly enough. People were given the chance to meet, get balls signed by and pose for photos with Mats Wilander and Luke Jensen. The food and location was just phenomenal.
It was a delight to (enthusiastically) Tweet for SPG and the service at the W Hotel in Time Square has been amazing.