Stephens & McHale Hit On The USS Midway
Published July 17, 2012 12:00
CARLSBAD, CA, USA - Two of America's most promising young stars, Christina McHale and Sloane Stephens, had a very special experience on Day 1 of the Mercury Insurance Open, playing tennis on and then touring the USS Midway, the longest-serving US Navy carrier of the 20th century and the most visited floating ship museum, with over five million visitors since 2004.
A party of five - McHale, Stephens, their mothers and McHale's grandmother - headed to the carrier and were given a guided tour by Herb Zoehrer, a retired US Navy captain and one of the best docents from the USS Midway.
The ship was commissioned a week after the end of World War II and embarked on an unprecedented 47-year odyssey that set new standards in naval aviation. More than 225,000 Americans took part in the odyssey that ended after Midway served as the Persian Gulf flagship in Desert Storm. McHale's grandfather was in the US Navy, and she was particularly excited about the tour - and they also got to sit in the cockpit of one of the fighter planes on the flight deck.
Following the tour, McHale and Stephens got on a special mini-tennis court on the flight deck and played a super tie-break - which Stephens won. Halfway through the tie-break, two sailors joined the girls for some impromptu mixed doubles, and then they competed against Scott McGaugh, the USS Midway Marketing Director, and Zoehrer, who is a competitive player himself.
The backdrop for the match included US military planes and helicopters, the Coronado bridge and the downtown San Diego skyline on a picturesque day.
"It was extremely cool. We had a really good time," McHale said afterwards. "We've never played tennis on a ship before, so that already sets it apart from anything we've ever done, but also it was just so much fun meeting all of the people who were there - Herb, the sailors, and everyone who was a part of it. "
"It was so fun, and there were so many people," Stephens said. "Herb showing us around was a lot of fun and they made it a really fun experience for us."
And there were some other points of interest for the two players.
"We thought we'd come back with husbands but we didn't," Stephens said.
"They were already married!" McHale said.
"No luck there," Stephens added.
McHale and Stephens also took some time out afterwards to pose for photos with the sailors and some of the children who were also visiting the ship.