Esari Karppinen has been the ultimate fan at the 2014 Delaware Investments U.S. Open. He has watched every match on the ASB portable court. Every point. Forty-four matches. Plus qualies.
The U.S. Open is a major tournament, screened via SquashTV on the Internet in every corner of the globe and the semis and finals are shown live in dozens of countries. Hearing the variety of languages spoken in the galleries, it is clear the event itself attracts spectators from many countries. But few are as avid as Karppinen.
He is from Finland, from a town just outside Helskinki. The only other time he has been in the U.S. was in 1977 when as a teenager he came to Boston to play in an ice hockey tournament (his team was runner-up to Canada). He is an electrician. In honor of thirty years of service, his company awarded him a two-week holiday.
Thus, the U.S. Open. Karppinen arrived on Wednesday, the daybefore the qualies began, and hasn’t left. He watched the qualies, then all the main-draw matches. He likes the side-wall view because he can see the expressions on each of the player’s faces as they come in to serve. Recently, with no matches until the evenings, he has explored Philadelphia, going to the Zoo and strolled around Old City.
But come game time, the Finn is found behind the right side-wall, intently watching every point.