Now, a month after it all started, normalcy has returned. The
parking lot is as it was. The bleachers are gone. Venders have packed
up their tents and the potted plants were put back where they were at
the start of July. Plus, the courts that were covered by the
bleachers and concession stands have been resurfaced and received new
posts and nets.
"We have a three-year agreement," said Ken Stuart, Palisades club
owner and general manager. "They can use our facility as long as they
restore the condition of the club to what it was before the start of
the season. The WTT officials did everything they said they would
Palisades holds 1,800 and it is estimated the Breakers had four
sell-out crowds in seven of their home matches in just their second
year of existence. Stuart thinks that the numbers will grow as word
of mouth spreads about the level of play in the WTT.
"The one thing we need is time," he said. "There were far more
people here than last year. I didn't talk to anyone who didn't have a
good time. Next year more people will tell their friends, who will
tell their friends and so-on."
The fact that the women's Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova
played for the Breakers in her first match following her grand slam
win helped the team, WTT and Palisades Tennis Club gain exposure.
"We absolutely could have sold 10,000 tickets with Maria," Stuart
said. "And that wasn't even the most fun night."
The two times Bob and Mike Bryan, the No. 1 doubles team in the
world, played at Palisades for the Breakers would have to be
considered the "fun nights" to attend. The twins, who will represent
the U.S. at the Athens Olympics, played with energy and charisma,
pumping up the crowds and laughing with the opposition. But the crowd
favorites might not be back next year for the Breakers.
"The Bryans are great," second-year coach Dick Leach said. "Their
parents taught them to give back to the sport, and they're so good
with the media and the fans and kids. But I'd rather play with Ramon
[Delgado]. Ramon last was probably our strongest suit this year."
Stuart agrees that personnel will be a big change next season, but
timing will be the main reason, not the draft in April.
"The only thing I see as a significant change is scheduling," he
said. "We had to schedule around three professional tournaments. More
importantly is this is the year of the Olympics. Everybody was
scrambling around for some players to play in their event. Next year
will be better."
As far as playing without the Bryans or Sharapova, Stuart thinks
the Breakers have a better chance of winning with their regular
"I think that we are as good or better without the non-marquee
players," Stuart said.