It’s Rhyne In Australia! And a Monday US Open Finals!?
Yessiree, folks, my pick of Rhyne Williams as the breakthrough American young gun in 2013 is starting to bear fruit in 2012. Williams won the USTA wildcard event last weekend receiving main draw entry into the Australian Open. He beat Kudla and then Smycek in the finals. He also beat Kosakowski, who a number of us liked as he almost qualified at the US Open. Think of this boon for Williams. Instead of having to pay his way for his first trip to Australia and try to quali at the Aussie O–a harrowing challenge as winning three matches in that heat is very difficult. Now he goes Down Under knowing he’s going to pocket the $20-25 thou that comes with even losing in the first round.
This is what Williams, 21 and ranked No. 190, said about moving up the rankings, “Everyone can play and you have to be an animal to even think about getting inside the Top 100.” Apparently, the Tenn U player weighed over 200 pounds when he left college and said he could barely move on the court.
This is one of the most difficult aspects of pro tennis to comprehend: How fit you have to be to compete at the very top. Probably more important than who your coach is is who your physiotherapist or trainer is. I know I was shocked when I actually traveled with Spadea during the 2005 season to discover that the guy had revolving coaches and not a single guy he used to help him train. I remember once going to a gym with Vince where he did some squats with weights and rode a stationary bike and I’m thinking, “I work harder than this in my workouts.” I never saw either of his two coaches that year ever accompany Vince to a workout.
What I don’t understand about this Wildcard USTA event is why James Blake and Jack Sock were excluded? Both have to play the qualis now in Australia. And why was the event played indoors over one weekend, meaning Williams and Smycek had to play three matches in a row. Williams said it was weird to be training outdoors during the off-season and then have to move indoors to play this wildcard event. The USTA in its infinite wisdom holds it indoors!?
That’s not the only cuckoo decision made by the USTA last week. Now they’ve decided to hold the men’s final at the US Open on Monday night. A Monday finals? What are they going to have John Madden and Pat Summerall announce the match. I’m not in favor of playing the finals at night. It gives the big server a tremendous advantage and takes a bit of the warrior aspect out of the match without the sun and heat. What I am in favor of is having two twilight men’s semis on Friday. Why can’t you have a Frothy Friday with matches at 3 and 6? People would flock to get out early on Friday and attend those matches. But no, everything at the US Open has to be conducted with a nod to the TV Gods.