Eugene isn’t just a city, we are the home of the Ducks. Just look around you. The new baseball and basketball stadiums are proof……not to mention the O’s displayed proudly on people and cars. On March 8th, over 12,000 ducks fans and Oregonians will be packing themselves into Matthew Knight Arena….but it won’t be to cheer on the green and yellow.
Just one of the variety of events the new arena is offering, Nike Clash of the Champions is the one this USTA cardholder and fan has been waiting for! On the court will be Maria Sharipova, Victoria Azarenka, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Victoria Azarenka is filling in for Serena Williams who was originally scheduled to play. I, like many avid watchers of professional tennis, was not surprised when it was announced Serena was pulling out of the event. Williams whose injuries began in 2004, has been hit and miss on the professional circuit since. Facing more health problems recently, she withdrew from the exhibition on the advice of her medical advisors.
Despite my wanting to see a Williams sister in action, I am giddy with anticipation for what I hope will be huge night for tennis fans in Eugene. Seriously….have you ever seen Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal smack the ball around? If not, I hope for your sake you already bought your ticket because the event is sold out. Local tennis fans wasted no time getting their tickets, selling out the event in an hour.
The exhibition, which begins at 5:30 p.m., will feature Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka playing a singles set, followed by a mixed doubles set with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The clash will conclude with the biggest of them all, a men’s singles set between the top two players in the world, Federer and Nadal. I’ve watched these two titans of tennis battle it out for years from the comfort of my living room. Now I get the chance to see them in person and I don’t even have to drive a few hours to get there! Ticket holders will also get a chance to see current players from the Duck tennis team play on center court from 4-5 p.m.
Younger tennis fans haven’t been forgotten, The Pacific Northwest USTA will be hosting a Free Family Tennis Festival from 3 – 4:30 p.m. prior to the main event. The Family Tennis Festival is open to all event ticket holders, ages 5 and up, and will feature a variety of interactive games and activities for all playing abilities. No need to bring your racquet, all equipment will be provided. Just bring your best game and head to the Matthew Knight Arena’s Basketball Practice Courts, located on the building’s east side.
For those of you lucky enough to have tickets, I’ll see you there. Those of you that aren’t going, don’t worry, I’ll let you know how it went. Look for a follow up article from me….that is if Nadal doesn’t ask me to be his hitting partner.
Post Author: lindsey_asay.