Tennis Prose



My Day At US Open Qualies

Arrived after 1, Djokovic was supposed to be in the new Armstrong but he didn’t show up. The new Louie is terrific, sunken low, no wind, well shaded, enclosed so it will get loud. It’s a very sufficient replacement for the old grandstand which everyone loved. The only thing left for the US Open to do to the grounds which are perfect is to recreate the old grandstand. I recommend the USTA dig up the old blueprints of the old grandstand and rebuild a new one, complete with Aces restaurant with hamburgers on the menu, so the smell wafts through the arena. If there is one way the US Open can be better – it’s rebuilding the exact old grandstand which was according to SI, the greatest seat in tennis.

The first match I saw today was Victor Estrella bombard Jurgen Zopp 63 61. The 37 year old Dominican is back to qualies which he did about ten times in his 20s and early 30s. Big win for Estrella who is now ranked close to 200.

Facundo Bagnis beat Juan Ignacio Londero 75 76 and guess who was watching? Nico Massu, who told me it’s fourteen years ago exactly the day he won the first gold medal in Chilean history, in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, saving four gold medal points in the fourth set tiebreaker vs the Germans Kiefer and Schuettler. It still ranks as one of the most incredible matches I ever saw. Massu gave me a long interview about that match and his singles gold. He is the only man to win double gold in tennis at an Olympics. Massu also told me he is friends with Marat Safin and he accepted my book Facing Marat Safin and asked me some questions about my books and how long it took to write. I believe Massu should be in the Hall of Fame for his double gold medal achievement. He said he had been playing poorly on hard courts that year but he suddenly got hot at the Olympics after beating Guga in the first round.

Massu was there as Davis Cup captain watching Christian Garin who lost 26 63 36 to Evan King who had a big black crew with him on the side bleachers – Sekou Bangoura, Chris Eubanks, Jarmere Jenkins and Asia Muhammad. After he won the first set, the pumped up King came over and nodded to his camp and repeated something like “That’s what I’m talkin about” several times. King was amped up and the intensity probably got him through. Massu told me Garin has everything to become a solid top player who can score big results.

Patty Schnyder has to be about 38 now and she won 64 in the third to Zanevska.

Speaking of the #OLDGEN armada, Tommy Robredo won also today, the veteran grinder beat 13 seed Henri Laaksonen 64 75.

Ernie Gulbis got sent home by Christian Harrison 63 26 46. Gulbis had some kind of issue after the first set and when the trainer came out Gulbis shook his hand, my colleague Richard Pagliaro noticed the greeting and said he never saw another pro shake hands with the trainer like that. Harrison qualified last year.

Donald Young was pumped up in the last match, beating Mats Moraing 63 76. Big win for Young who filled up the court and bleachers and got good support. Young is ranked around 250 now so he really needs to get some points in the main draw.

Eugenie Bouchard was playing next to DY and she trounced Caroline Zhao of Canada 60 61.

I was told two nice stories about Patrick Rafter by an old locker room attendant. He said Rafter wanted to just go for a walk with him after he won his first US Open and they walked outside by the old P courts. Also one year Patrick committed to play Dubai when Dubai was a place no one knew where it was. For a $500,000 appearance fee. Another top player got his appearance fee and already had his flight set up before his match which of course he lost. Rafter intended to play to try to win the tournament but he lost a tough match in the first round. Rafter told the tournament director he was not happy with his performance and refused to accept his appearance fee, which was $500,000. Rafter is maybe the only player in history to lose a match and turn down the appearance fee.

New Coaching Tandem: Massu told me Fernando Gonzalez is now coaching Elias Ymer of Sweden who plays qualies tomorrow. They started together last week. Massu said he didn’t even know about it until he read it in the newspaper.

Magnus Norman is with Stan Wawrinka again, they were working together on grandstand as Stan practiced with Nadal and then Tsitsipas. With the Greek titan were his dad Apostolos and Patrick Moroutaglu.

Dominik Hrbaty, the old Dominator, is here as a coach for Lukas Lacko.

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  • catherine · August 21, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    2004 Greek Olympics in Athens ?

    Yes – the old grandstand was great – nearly as good as the old No 1 at Wimbledon.

  • catherine · August 21, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    New Haven ravaged with a virus. Bertens, Konta w/d.

    Lendl joins Zverev team which was expected.

  • Jg · August 21, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    How about Sebastian Korda winning in 3, looked like he would lose easily after the first set but I think Novikov got tired and Korda got used to his pace. Also JC Aragone seems to raise his level at the Open, he looks like a top 100 player at the Open but little results the rest of the year. Unbelievable that Victor Estrella is 38, the guy is a machine, he could be playing in Scoops 35 and over tournaments.

  • dan markowitz · August 21, 2018 at 11:44 pm

    “Big black crew?” You mean, “a crew of black players supporting…?”

    Good win for Evan King. How about Tomic winning first set against his countryman, Kokkanaikis and then going down rather meekly 0 and 3?

    Schnyder will be 40 in December. Impressive. Poor Gulbis, doesn’t seem to be able to do much of anything in the States and never really could.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 22, 2018 at 1:27 am

    Sounds like a fun day. The blacks definitely come out to support their own at the Open, good for them.

    Yeah Stan had mentioned in Cincy that Norman would be in NY.

    The lovely Diatchenko plays tomorrow after her big engagement announcement. No word on who the lucky man is, though he looks like a tennis player. I expect Scoop to bring us this Scoop!

    In W-S, Sandgren appeared to catch a break when Dzumhur withdrew but he lost to the German Koepfer, who is ranked 263 and used to play college tennis at Tulane. A terrible loss and Tennys will no doubt be dumped quickly in the Open.

  • catherine · August 22, 2018 at 2:23 am

    No results on court but another glossy photoshoot for Garbine Muguruza as she plunges down the rankings and out of the top 10.

    Serena seeded 17 at USO, which is above her current ranking.

  • catherine · August 22, 2018 at 4:34 am

    Duke- the lovely Wozniaki is currently planning her wedding – let’s hope this one actually comes off – and I’m sure you’re invited.

    The WTA should run two ranking lists – one for actual performance in tennis and another one for appearances in glossies and mentions in the gossip columns.

  • Dan Markowitz · August 22, 2018 at 4:52 am

    Dpesm’t appear that the Koz made OPEN Quails which would be a big blow to the Russian Floridinan. The kid made his ATP DEBUt at 15 in N32PORT and now he can’t make the OPEN Qualis.

    Must be hard at the gate ro hold a tournament in New Haven and only one
    American woman shows up, Vandeweghe, and she gets beat in first round.

  • catherine · August 22, 2018 at 5:15 am

    CoCo has an ankle injury and looks like she could be out of USO.

    Last night/this morning Garcia and Georges had marathons in NH – Julia beat Yastremska in 3,and I read the finish time as after 3am. Julia served only 5 aces but 8 dfs. She hasn’t looked in top shape since W’don.

    Yastremska had to qualify but she played well here – another talent from the Ukraine.

  • Joe Blow · August 22, 2018 at 7:29 am

    Did you guys win your appeal for Media credentials?

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 22, 2018 at 9:48 am

    Catherine, not only is Duke invited to the Woz wedding, he’s also on standy to replace the groom if he calls it off like McIlroy. Duke is multi-tasking 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 22, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Kozlov is ranked around DY, either he missed the cutoff barely or he’s taking a break due to lack of confidence. He’s had very poor success in US Open qualies in the past, losing in SS twice to Andreozzi and another match I can’t remember. Kozlov is in a funk right now.

  • Dan Markowitz · August 22, 2018 at 10:13 am


    I’ve sent our rating numbers to the USTA Media Director which are actually pretty good. I’ve phoned her and left a message, but she has not responded to either my emails or phone calls. She had said that if any openings came up near the start of the Open, she would contact me, but she also said our site is not a real news site, it’s a post/comment site. I don’t see why that should make a difference. We just have a different type of site. There’s a need for the and type sites and I think there’s a need for our site as well.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 22, 2018 at 10:23 am

    Our site is different, we cover tennis differently, she has to realize. I did a long interview with Nicolas Massu yesterday and he shared some incredible insights about his double gold medals in Athens 2004. It’s going to be a smashing success of a post, this guy was a journeyman and having a bad year on hard courts and all the sudden he wins TWO GOLD MEDALS. Fed and Rafa and Djokovic can’t even do what Massu did. Wait till you read what Massu says about the whole experience and how it changed his life. Massu should be in the Hall of Fame. We post some serious valuable content on this site, stuff that most other sites and outlets miss or don’t focus on. Biofiles with players – you cant find anywhere else. We have so much original content. It’s unfortunate if they bypass us this year. But we still will find a way to cover the US Open and get you quality content.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 22, 2018 at 10:24 am

    I will try to interview Tsitsipas father this week.

  • Joe Blow · August 22, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Kozlov lost a tough 3 setter to Coric in qualies a few years ago, when they were both considered top shelf up and comers..

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 22, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    I recall that match and it was a good battle, Coric was ranked far higher than Kozlov at the time and was further advanced in his career. Kozlov is in a serious funk right now.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 22, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Catherine, that Woz marriage to some no-name basketball player doesn’t interest me. I will reject that invitation.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 22, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    Taylor Fritz got pummeled by the sliding Krajinovic today. Krajinovic is seeded 32 at the Open but he won for the first time since March.

    Todd Martin is correct on Taylor Fritz. He simply does not have a major ceiling. Maybe he can make the QFs if a Slam once. Of course, that is something our great Jack Sock has never done. Can’t see Fritz achieving much.

    Querrey lost a listless affair to Taro Daniel. Certainly married life has taken down his fire to a large degree.

    The lovely Diatchenko loses at the Open, so sad.

  • Hartt · August 22, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    In the USO qualies, Felix Auger-Aliassime won agaisnt Tallon Griekspoor in SS – 7-5, 6-3.

    The end of the first set was quite exciting. Felix was down 0-40 and it looked like Tallon would get the break to take the set. Then Felix hit 4 aces in a row, held, and then broke Tallon to win that set.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 22, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Expect Mourataglou to be in Tsitsipas’ box if the Russian makes a run…

    BRAD GILBERT: First off, I watched Tsitsipas kind of grow in our eyes in Canada. I did all of his matches. He’s 6’5″, he’s unbelievably athletic. He plays great defense. I like his ability to finish at the net. I remember two years ago about 26 months ago or 25 months ago, I watched the semifinals of Junior Wimbledon. I watched Shapovalov play Tsitsipas in the semifinals of Junior Wimbledon, and I remember watching with my son and Chris Fowler, and Patrick Mouratoglou told me about him, that he had been training at his academy since he was 14; you’ve got to watch this kid. And I sat there thinking to myself, I can’t believe this is the juniors. I can’t believe the level what I’m watching. Two years later, fast forward, it’s not surprising me at all. I think his upside is tremendous. I think that as he gets stronger, I think he can serve bigger. I think a good goal for him probably 12 months on is to cut his ranking in half, and I think that he will compete to win Slams. I think that after Zverev, he’s the best at the moment that’s 23, 24 and under, tremendous upside.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 22, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Now Zverev has signed Lendl, maybe the recent losses have caused panic. A bad loss at US Open sends Zverev two or three steps backwards. This is a very big tournament for Zverev. Tsitsipas is red hot right now and he could go deep, he really can. Though he looked to be on the short end of practice yesterday with Stan. But the fact Stan hit with Rafa and Tsitispas yesterday shows how highly regarded the Greek kid is right now. He’s mixing with the elites.

  • catherine · August 23, 2018 at 2:08 am

    Duke – are you still calling Zverev ‘the Russian’ ? – could get quite confusing. You never refer to Petko as ‘the Serbian’, BTW, and she was born there.

    Mourataglou and Tsitsipas ? Is Patrick looking beyond Serena ?

    He hasn’t been around another top player for the time he’s been with her. I can see him coaching a man now.

  • catherine · August 23, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Hot and humid in New Haven. Kvitova get by Diyas in 3. I hope Petra doesn’t reach the final.

    Sabalenka and Gavrilova play a three setter not of the highest quality – Aryna served 15 dfs and Daria 11. Lots of exasperation shown by both.

    Sabalenka and Kvitova are wearing the same outfits and look similar from a distance. As long as they don’t play each other…

  • catherine · August 23, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Oh and Sabalenka won that mixed bag of a contest in spite of all those dfs and 63 UEs. Post match she couldn’t find anything to say about it except she was glad it was over 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 23, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Clearly Patrick is sensing the end is near for Serena. If he was 100% loyal to Serena he would be with her all the time, working 24-7 to get her better. The fact he’s now splitting his time and energy tells a tale. Maybe Serena could be looking for a new coach?

  • Chazz · August 23, 2018 at 9:16 am

    I do agree that this US Open is huge for Zverev. He is probably looking over his shoulder and wary of Tsitsipas gaining on him. I’m sure he wants to be known as the best NextGen player. To me, this stuff is way more interesting than if one of the big 3 wins the whole thing.

    Fritz is an interesting one. His movement and lack of improvisation hurt him but his serve and groundstrokes are very good. He had points to defend at W-S so now is down to #74. Let’s see what happens next week. Depending on the draw, he could win a few matches.

    The stunning one is Donaldson – he has plummeted all the way down to #90. He was #48 just 5 months ago.

  • Gaurang · August 23, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    It’s amazing to see the overwhelming dominance of the Big 3 in slams — since RG 2005!!!

    This era will never happen again — 3-4 players dominating tennis for 14 years, and not done yet.

    The big 3 have won 46 out of last 54 slams!!! The others: 3 for Murray, 3 for Stan, 1 for Cilic, 1 for Delpo.

  • Gaurang · August 23, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Tsitsipas is very promising. But I don’t know if he will go deep in this slam, likely not.

    What’s happened to Escobedo! I like him a lot and was hoping he will reach top 25-30.

    Djokovic has the easiest quarter. Delpo’s quarter is the hardest. But Novak may have to face Fed in QF. That will be interesting match.



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