Nike’s Clash of the Champions
To promote the new Matthew Knight Arena at University of Oregon, Nike hosted a “Clash of the Champions” exhibition match between Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, and Victoria Aznarenka. Serena Williams was supposed to attend, but had to pull out due to medical reasons. Crazy thing, this was a basketball court that had been converted to a tennis court by laying the hardcourt surface on top. I was worried that people were going to get hit by stray balls, since there was no walls around the court, but only a few stray balls made it to the spectators.
The ladies started off the evening with a singles match. It was mostly serious, not counting the good amount of flirting coming from the U of O college boys.
The mixed doubles was more fun than any sort of serious (except Sharapova, who couldn’t understand her partner’s antics). The teams were green vs. yellow, Nadal and Aznarenka vs. Federer and Sharapova. John McEnroe sat in the umpire’s seat, so there was also plenty of talking back to the umpire going on.
The players did plenty of nonsense shots, including hitting between the legs, crossing over the net (Federer), and kicking the ball back over (Nadal).
Federer started crawling on the court, and even doing push ups during Sharapova’s serve. She didn’t quite know what to make of it.
And then… John McEnroe was called onto the court to show the kids how it’s properly done. Federer took over the umpire seat for him.
For the men’s match, Nadal and Federer started to play a little more seriously, while also having some fun shots and banter with the crowd.
Such pretty men.