Fans get up close and personal with Family Circle Cup competitors

By Eric

DANIEL ISLAND, SC (WCIV) -- People got up close and pretty personal Tuesday on Daniel Island. Fans at the Family Circle Cup were treated with a host of matches from top-tier talent, and an experience of a lifetime.

It's all about the view at Family Circle Cup Stadium. Fans saw players like they never had before, both on the court and off. No television, no filters, just front row tennis, from all the front-runners.

"She (Venus Williams) is taller and thinner than I thought, hits the ball really hard," said Karen Gentile.

"It's a lot of fun to see. It inspires you. But, they really are playing a different game," Kevin Griffith said.

Venus Williams, Vera Zvonareva -- names synonymous with championship tennis. They're women who have made the game a grade-A attraction. Fans will follow them anywhere. Fans can't take their eyes off them.

A midday match set the stage for Williams' second round victory, a win that made the price of admission worth paying.

"It was great, a lot better seat, get right down and really see her (Venus)," said Griffith. "She served the ball incredibly today."

For the younger fans, a souvenir signature made a lasting memory.

"I got two autographs and one from Petrova, she's from Russia," said tennis fan, Shelby Moored.

Nadia Petrova, the 2006 champ, entertained youngsters by signing autographs.

"They're really good about giving them," Moored said. "I told them they did a great job. They all had great matches."

Great play made for a great lesson learned for Graham Dearmas and his daughters, both young tennis players aspiring to be like the ladies competing in the Family Circle Cup.

They came to the Family Circle Cup from Florida. For them, it was a trip that led to treasure, and meeting Venus Williams.

"They were shocked, mouth was open, eyes were open. They were in shock. I was even in shock myself. I'm just happy," Graham Dearmas said.