Some Friday memories of Bally and I

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The US Open holds so many memories for me, including staying in our official hotel in New York, all the experiences on offer in this great city and my time supporting Elena (as her coach) while she competed in this very unique Grand Slam.

I thought I would share some of these experiences and let you see a few of the many hundreds of personal images I have of our time at Flushing Meadows during one of the greatest tennis tournaments, the US Open.

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This was an image I took right at the top of the Arthur Ash stadium while Elena was being interviewed after one of her matches, what an incredible view, and an incredible stadium.

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Here is Bally in front of the Unisphere, we often passed it. It’s such a striking piece of work, everyone stops to take a photograph, it’s just one of those must-do things. It was commissioned as part of the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

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Down to business next – the reason why we were in New York, a little matter of the US Open. It’s one of the four biggest tournaments in tennis history, the others being Wimbledon,  The French Open and The Australian Open. Here you can see Bally training on the marque courts in front of the world famous Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Centre, with the Arthur Ash stadium above.

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And of course, if you are attending the biggest tournaments in the world, the biggest tennis stars will be there. Coaching Bally was a privilege which brought so many other great opportunities. I was working in a business where legends are part of your everyday working life; great competitors like the one and only Serena Williams.

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The WTA would always set up events for the players, and in the picture above, Bally and Anne Keothavong, the current GB Fed Cup captain, were being interviewed by Sky Sports presenter Jacquie Beltrao. It was a great event and both Bally and Anne were excited to see themselves up on the massive screens in Times Square

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When you are part of the tennis world tour, most evenings afford you the opportunity to visit incredible restaurants, and as anyone who has been to New York would know, you are spoilt for choice.

Bally and I decided to visit a very famous Russian restaurant, what a fabulous time we had, I remember Bally was so excited to be able to enjoy some of the dishes her mother Olga had cooked her. We started with the traditional Russian soup called Borsch.

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Walking along the streets of New York is a feast for the eyes and the senses, there are so many different people, from so many cultures showing you their products, skills or art. I was fascinated to witness what an artist could do with a spray can, the completed art never ceased to amaze me. I found it an almost hypnotic experience to watch the layers of an image coming together, and seeing the skill needed to create these stunning pictures.

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Bally was always popular with the crowds, and she was often surrounded after a match – as most of the  players have experienced.  The crowds at the US Open really appreciate being up close and personal with the players. Bally loved this aspect of her job, she was always polite and accommodating when anybody wanted photos.

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Another part of being a professional tennis player which becomes part and parcel of sporting life, is the post match interview. Bally was interviewed by almost every one, Sky Sports, BBC Sport and EuroSport to name but a few.

Annabel Croft interviewed Bally many times for Eurosport, and the best memory I have of both of them together was of the fun they had before, during and after every interview. They were good friends and always pleased to see each other.

Nino Severino – Learn Play Grow Founder

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