Tennis matches under an inflatable bubble at the East Potomac Park courts came to an abrupt end last night when an auto careened off the nearby Southwest Freeway, hurtled across a meadow, tore through the bubble and a net and came to rest on one of the courts.
Play was in progress on four of the five courts, but no injuries to any of the players were reported. The motorist was taken by ambulance to George Washington University Hospital, but after reaching the emergency room, he walked away before he could be identified or examined, D.C. police said.
Paul Smith, who was in a singles match when the 8:30 p.m. incident occurred, said: "I was back at the baseline, and I heard this crashing noise; the car comes flying right through the bubble, within 10 feet of me . . . ."
"You lose your desire to play," he said.
The car was eventually towed away, police said, but play never resumed after the vehicle punched what one witness described as a car-sized hole in the green rubberized fabric of the bubble.
He said that despite the hole, the air-supported structure remained in place until its operators arrived to deflate it.