Tennis Week is Underway
By Helena Touhey
On the court and off the court, players are enjoying their time in Newport
The Infosys Hall of Fame Open is underway at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, where dozens of players arrived earlier this week from around the world for the annual ATP tournament.
On Thursday morning, Blair Henley hosted a “Chat with Champions” on the Horseshoe Court featuring Tommy Paul, who’s ranked No. 14 in the world and is the No. 1 seed in Newport, where he made his debut this week. He recently became the third active American player to reach the final four of a Grand Slam at the 2023 Australian Open.
“He’s one of the chillest Top 15 athletes in the world you will ever meet,” Henley said, smiling as a small crowd gathered to listen in the shade. “[Newport] has a chill and relaxed vibe,” she added, “and for those who have never meet Tommy, he also has a chill and relaxed vibe.”
“This tournament is definitely my speed,” agreed Tommy.
Paul’s girlfriend, Paige Lorenze, an influencer from Connecticut, joined him in Newport for the week. Henley told Tommy she heard he had to convince Lorenze to join him recently in Wimbledon, which he did by suggesting she’d be able to get lots of B-roll footage. Tommy confirmed this, saying, “I think it was a good play and it worked.” Newport, though, needed less convincing. “She’s raving about this place,” he said, “she thinks it’s the best place ever.”
Tommy had some leisure time planned for Thursday afternoon: fishing. “Going to get off the site and try to live like a normal person,” he said, noting tennis is a “24/7 kind of job” and that “everything is revolving around tennis now.”
The rising star, who first learned to play on clay courts, is now a self-described “grass court guy,” adding that “I’m really loving the grass this year.”
Tommy won his match Wednesday afternoon, and progressed to the quarterfinal round, where he will face John Isner on Friday.
On Wednesday morning, Henley interviewed Nate Lammons and Jackson Withrow who are the No. 1 seeded doubles players. She asked them both what advice they would give to their younger selves.
“Just keep enjoying it,” shared Nate, who said that at age 12 he would’ve liked to know “there are a lot of bigger things coming.”
“Results don’t matter,” added Jackson, and “you’re going to start growing in your body,” which will change the way you move on the court.
When asked about the key to being successful doubles partners, Jackson – the more talkative of the duo – said it’s all about personality and having open communication. “You have to feel the trust,” he said. Playing with Nate required “finding the guy that I like and that I gel with, who makes going on tour going on tour with my best friend.”
Their best advice for playing doubles on the court? “To not be afraid of the ball,” said Nate, “and to make your opponent hit a harder shot.”
The duo won their match Thursday morning and progressed to the semifinal round, where they will face Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni.
Enshrinement Weekend Highlights
On Saturday, wheelchair tennis greats Esther Vergeer and Rick Draney will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Tennis Channel. Vergeer is a 21-time singles Grand Slam champion, 3-time International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Champion and four-time Paralympic gold medalist in singles. Draney is a three-time ITF year-end World No. 1 in quad singles. A tribute to both athletes, showcasing some of their memorabilia, is also on display in the HOF museum.
For more information about weekend events, visit tennisfame.com.View Newsletter