June 25, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

The Laurel Oak Country Club in Sarasota, Fla. is an upscale, beautiful development with high initiation fees and some homes valued over $1.5 million.

For many years while she was playing on the WTA Tour, Hall of Famer Monica Seles called it home.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it immune to life’s realities.

Andrea Collarini, a New York-born journeyman currently ranked No. 341 who has represented both the U.S. and Argentina, found that out the hard way this week.

The 27-year-old reached the singles semifinals of the ATP Tour Challenger at Laurel Oak before losing to eventual champion Tommy Paul. But on Thursday, after his third-round upset win over No. 7 seed Bjorn Fratangelo, he had a large number of items stolen.

After a shower in a locker room, Collarini left his gear unattended and headed out for a couple of minutes to make an appointment with the physio. When he returned, he said he found a 50-ish man going through his belongings.

In shock, Collarini wrote he got the man to give back what he had just taken (a couple of dirty socks and some wristbands). And he chased him away. But he then realized the man had rifled through his bag. And he was missing a fair few crucial items.

He wrote on Twitter that he chased the man as far as a parking lot. But he suspected he had already gotten into his vehicle and fled.

A lot of gear stolen

As it turns out, Collarini lost a LOT of stuff.

Here’s his Tweet itemizing what was missing. The list includes three of his five rackets.

Collarini obviously got a good look at the guy when he confronted him in the locker room. He helpfully provided visual identification from the livestream. It seems the man appeared on court after the victory against Santangelo.

Collarini clearly was less than impressed with the reaction of tournament staff. He also pointed out the lack of any security in the locker room in question. As well, Collarini wrote that the security cameras outside that room were turned off.

Lack of security a contributing factor

There are only a couple of paragraphs in the ATP Tour Challenger guidelines that refer to security. But they state that the player’s lounge and locker rooms must be restricted to credentialed personnel.

Sarasota

Holding a tournament at an actual club, as opposed to a site-specific venue, is a more significant challenge.

Reached Sunday by Tennis.Life, longtime Sarasota Open tournament director Tony Driscoll said the incident will be investigated by the authorities.

“We’re turning everything over to the sheriff. They’re looking into it,” Driscoll said. “It was unfortunate. It wasn’t the players’ lounge – but a locker room that was closer to the tennis centre where they were playing. The guy apparently followed him in there and took some items.”

Driscoll added that despite the alleged thief’s proximity to Collarini in the screenshots, he wasn’t a tournament volunteer and didn’t have an on-court credential. He believes the man was a fan, with a VIP credential. 

Challenger tournaments at that top level (the Sarasota Open provides more than $100,000 in prize money, plus hospitality) are required to have at least $1 million in insurance.

It’s not known whether that insurance would cover this type of situation.

Collarini earned $5,020 US for his effort in Sarasota. He then had to head north, to his next tournament in Tallahassee, Fla. The Argentine will play wild card Sekou Bangoura in the first round, with the winner meeting top seed Paolo Lorenzi.

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