No audience, but a top tournament: thanks to many extra security requirements, the 48th ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament can still take place. But who make it possible? Who belongs to the select group that works all week in Ahoy? And what is life like in the tennis bubble? Today part 4: the Court Team
Last year they were still called the 'Runners'; this year the official name is the 'Court Team'. Most of the activities for René Cabanelas, Arnaud de Haan, Storm Bathoorn and Thomas Bonthuis, however, are virtually unchanged: from early morning until late at night, they ensure that 'everything' on and around the court is arranged and that the players and referees lack nothing. That does mean that they work long hours. Cabanelas: "On Monday we were on the track at 8 a.m. and went home at 1:30 a.m."
Cabanelas is not complaining, it is not without reason that he takes two weeks off every year to be there in Rotterdam Ahoy. This also applies to Arnaud de Haan, who has been active in Ahoy for the seventh year. "Normally our team is bigger, but because of the corona measures we now do everything with the four of us. The old faithful Krijn de Jong and Jan Akkerman are unfortunately not there this year."
The Court Team can also manage with fewer people during this year's memorable corona edition due to the lack of the VIP village and the seminars, which always involved a lot of lugging and moving. But there are plenty of jobs left: arranging fresh towels for the players, ensuring that there are enough balls ready to play at any time, tidying up the courts, tidying up changing rooms and performing all kinds of manual and tensioning services / lugging work. Due to the corona measures, an extra task has been added this year: everything on the court - ranging from the referee's microphone to the seats on which the players sit - must be disinfected between matches.
De Haan has seen the work change over the years. "Compared to seven years ago, everything is now faster and more business-like. And every year there are new features. Take this year the new center court, which has suddenly turned into a kind of intimate space." , even though the Court Team is in the 'player bubble' this year. "A player like Monfils was sometimes crazy last year and is very open, but in general the contacts are businesslike. And that makes sense, those guys should just concentrate on tennis. However, the wheelchair tennis players, for which we also work, are somewhat easier to access. "
The ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament has a reputation among players that everything is 'perfectly arranged'. The Court Team won't settle for less either. "An example: after the last evening match, we collect all the players' clothes. The next morning at 10:30 everything is ready for the players again. We understand that almost no tournament offers that service."
The ATP has called the facilities and service of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament for years as 'excellent', and that is a matter of honor for the Court Team. "We actually have two clients,” says Cabanelas. "We work for Ahoy, but we also have to listen to the people from the ATP. At the same time, you also do it for yourself: you have to enjoy it and not think too much about many activities. We actually do the jobs that just have to be done."We are not very busy all day, but you still cover considerable distances unnoticed. This year, due to the lack of the VIP village, we are clearly making fewer meters than usual, but we are still walking like this" One day another 14 or 15 kilometers. ”
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