Tennis Prose



The Djokovic vs Zverev Practice At US Open

Image may contain: people playing sports and tennis
By Scoop Malinowski

A high quality practice happened on Thursday at the US Open, pitting two of the world’s best tennis juggernauts, world no. 4 Alexander Zverev and former world no. 1 Novak Djokovic, currently ranked 6.

It was an interesting practice with many highlight reel moments. I didn’t see it all, just the last 25 minutes. They hit the court at high noon, Djokovic wearing blue shorts, blue shoes, white shirt and hat. Zverev had a salmon orange shirt, blue shorts and green shoes.

I was told Zverev left the court for a shoulder issue at one point but returned and seemed to be at optimum health and fitness. Ivan Lendl roamed the back wall and side of the court watching closely and occasionally offering his input. Sometimes Lendl strolled over to Poppa Zverev and discussed something. The third guy with team Zverev, fitness guru Jez Green also observed the proceedings but his only visible contribution was to pick up a random ball and send it to Lendl who then forwarded it to Zverev when he needed it. Green stood apart always from Pop Zverev and Lendl. Green and Lendl carried racquets through the practice but never used them for anything but to pick up a ball.

Zverev has beaten Djokovic in their only ATP meeting last year in Rome 64 63. And he appeared to be a touch better yesterday. Blasting his baseline assaults that seemed to be more than Djokovic wanted four days before the tournament begins. I can’t be sure but Djokovic seemed to be holding back a fraction of his genius and his fifth gear or maybe even fourth gear, in order to save it for when it really counts.

Zverev is hungrier right now, he lost surprisingly in Toronto and Cincy and his ranking dropped from 3 to 4. Ivan Lendl was just hired to become Zverev’s new co-coach in a move that seems provoked by damage control and frustration and perhaps a loss of patience and belief in the 21 year old. Zverev was 3 in the world but he has yet to make his presence felt at a grand slam. Lendl, of course, struggled to win his first major after many failures and delivered Andy Murray to his first major after similarly suffering through years of disappointments.

Lendl would speak with Zverev at times but Zverev often would not turn his full body and face to be face to face with Lendl as he made his points. Their connection and bond does not seem to be at full fruition just yet. When Lendl would speak to Zverev there always was a good distance between them, maybe ten to fifteen feet. On the changeover breaks, Zverev sat by himself.

As did Djokovic. His team kept their distance on every break, leaving the boss alone to rest, recover and collect his thoughts. I don’t remember seeing any of the Djokovic entourage ever approach him to tell him anything.

When it was close to two o’clock, the kids in the crowd rushed the front rows on Zverev’s side, planning their positions to get their autographs. But the two tennis titans delayed the kids and kept going all the way to two. When it was over, each team and each player shook hands with each team, and Djokovic and Zverev shared a special handshake and embrace around the net. But that was it. Tremendous respect but no verbal interaction or small talk.

Zverev signed a bunch of autographs on one side of the court and Djokovic made his way to the far side and seemed to have a five minute conversation with one person in the front row drawing a huge crowd, then he proceeded to the back wall and talked with another older, white haired guy and took his phone to make a selfie, they shook hands and the guy held Djokovic’s hand so he could express his extended message. About ten minutes after the practice Djokovic left, escorted by security back to Ashe through a throng of people, many of who still optimistically and diligently hoped they could still get an autograph. But Djokovic rode the security caravan like a surfer rides a wave, with his head tilted down and a fixed smile on his face. One kid got too close and security pushed him away.

Zverev was not finished for the day. He went back out to the practice court with his team and was working on his serve.

· ·


  • Duke Carnoustie · August 24, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Insanity in the U.S. Open men’s draw for Canadian tennis.
    Felix draws Shapo in a crazy 1st-rounder of these buddies. That has to drive Canadian fans nuts.

    Not even the biggest news up there, though, since Peter PoLLansky has managed a feat that will likely never be matched. He loses to DY and gets in as a LL for the fourth time in as many Slams. Polansky will suffer his 8th defeat in Slam play when he meets Sascha Zverev in the first round.

  • Hartt · August 24, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    I can’t speak for other Canadian tennis fans, but Shapo vs Felix in the first round is driving ME nuts! Not only does this mean 1 of them will definitely be out in the first round, but it means I must choose. I did not expect to be put in this position so soon. Dan once forced me to say which I thought had the most potential, and after much hemming and hawing I said Felix. But this USO is so important to Shapo – he has all those ranking points to defend!

    I guess once the match starts my gut reaction will let me know which youngster I really want to win the match. And, unless they are extremely nervous given the situation, we should enjoy some high-quality tennis.

  • Dan Markowitz · August 24, 2018 at 10:09 pm

    Hartt, I feel for you. You have the Sophie’s Choice of tennis pickings having your two favorite players face off against one another. The American men qualifiers are DY and two surprises, Mitchell Krueger and Colin Altamirano, who’s 22 and ranked 345.

    The promising young Americans like Opelka and Frantangelo, not so young I know, but seemingly a better bet to get through than Kreuger and Alimarano, both bit the dust. Opelka has been very disappointing since he took out Sock in Delray. He might be too immature or just still too green.

    The Shapo-Felix match will certainly be the highlight of Day 1. I will be there with Jeff Salzenstein, the former Stanford Cardinal and top-100 ATP player, to give you some insight on the other matches, which interest me in this order: Harry v Anderson (I love seeing Harry get crushed), Wawa v Dimitrov, FLo v Verdasco, Klahn v Izzie, Robredo v Tsitisipas (these ancient Spaniards are amazing, there’s five of them all playing on Monday, Tommy R, FLo, Verdasco and Ferrer) and M. Zvervev v Fritz.

  • Dan Markowitz · August 24, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Dear readers,

    It’s look like Scoop and I have not been extended press passes for this year’s US Open even though we have better ranking numbers than other tennis web sites that have received credentials and we have received US Open media credentiials the past few years.

    We would both like to attend the Laver Cup coming up in Sept in Chicago and our applications for media credentials are currently being reviewed.

    If you value our coverage of these tennis events, please post that you read and the reason why you seek tennis news and opinion at our site. I think it could help us receive credentials especially for Laver’s Cup if there is an outpouring of readers of our site who make their voices known.

    Thank you,

    Dan Markowitz

  • Hartt · August 24, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    They did an interview with Altamirano on Tennis Channel. He said he was in the USO main draw once before, when he was 17. He expects to be better prepared this time.

    There are so many tasty matches that first day. Of course I will be glued to Felix vs Shapo. I expect the fans are more upset about this than they are.

    As you know, I am a big Milos fan as well, and had a tough time when he played against Shapo and Felix. But then I rooted for Milos. This is 100x worse, because the 2 youngsters are so close in age, are such close friends, and I tend to think of them together. If only they could have met a couple rounds later!

  • Tom Sawyer · August 24, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    Unfortunately there are several first round match-ups with players from the same country pitted against one another. That always annoys me but I guess that’s how the ball bounces sometimes.

    Felix/Shapo, Kohli/Hanfman, Garcia-Lopez/Munar, Schwartzman/Delbonis, Nadal/Ferrer, Lopez/Verdasco, Medvedev/Donskoy, Izzie/Klahn…seems like a lot.

  • Hartt · August 24, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    Dan, where should we post our support for Tennis-Prose?

  • Hartt · August 24, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    They have scheduled Shapo vs Felix on Grandstand as the last day match on Monday. That sounds like a wise decision. I bet that match will draw a huge crowd.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 25, 2018 at 12:21 am

    Where to post our letter of support? Should we mail one in?

  • catherine · August 25, 2018 at 2:47 am

    I hope Petko has packed her laptop – she plays Ostapenko in her first match. Well – there are many cultural sights and events in NY and she can take full advantage before it’s back to Germany.

    Angie could not have asked for a better opener – 410 ranked Gasparyan. But I don’t expect Angie to win much for the rest of the year. She’ll try, but that post-Wimbledon thing will get to her. I wonder if she carries the little badge around in her luggage ? I would.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 25, 2018 at 3:46 am

    Amazing scenes in Indonesia. Denis Istomin wins the Asian Games singles title, beating China’s Wu Yibing in a third-set tiebreaker. Istomin collapsed in joy as the pro-Uzbek crowd roared in delight. He then was handed a cell phone and talked to somebody for about a minute before wrapping himself up in the Uzbekistan flag. Now he is on the phone again.

    Istomin has to play SteveJo on Monday in NY so he has to get there all the way from Indonesia. SteveJo, of course, is in the W-S final against Medvedev. Should be interesting on Monday.

    I know Istomin beat Novak at the Aussie Open but this could be the biggest win of his life, giving his country a gold medal.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 25, 2018 at 3:49 am

    Istomin taking selfies with the fans in Indonesia. He told one fan, “I can’t give you my T-shirt. I need to play U.S. Open.” Now he is again wrapped up in the flag. Great scenes in Indonesia.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 25, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Istomin is a big story and always seems to make big news through his career. As a junior he was average, nothing special, a friend from Uzbekistan told me. He was an ordinary junior not even the top junior is Uzbekistan. He was playing Futures and had a bad car accident on a trip to a Futures where two passengers were killed. Istomin survived but wrecked his leg and was in hospital for months and did not play for years. Then when he started again he was a different player, a different person and he became very good. Amazingly odd story, most every one else such a horrific car accident would have ruined their career but Istomin somehow actually got better. To win the Asian Games is obviously a major experience. Can’t see Denis beating Johnson and jet lag though on Monday, though it will be interesting. Johnson has to play the emotional grudge match vs Medvedev who he had a near brawl in Citi Open with last year. Then Medvedev will probably play Tsitsipas at US Open, who he had a near brawl with in Miami this year.

  • catherine · August 25, 2018 at 8:14 am

    What’s happened to the site ? Only the last two articles are shown.

  • Hartt · August 25, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Istomin has said he was ready to quit tennis with the long rehab after the car accident, but his mother (who is also his coach) convinced him to try playing again. It is such a dramatic story.

  • catherine · August 25, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Didn’t know the Asian Games was being held. Absolutely nothing about them in the British press.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 25, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Catherine, Well Britain isn’t eligible to compete in the Asian Games 🙂

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 25, 2018 at 11:19 am

    “I feel good to have the gold medal… It’s very important for me to win a gold medal for my country. For me it means a lot,” said Istomin, who had won silver in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.

    “It’s very important for me to have the gold because probably it’s my last Asian Games and my last Olympic Games in two years, so I feel good,” he added.

    “Qualifying for the Olympics was the main goal.”

  • Dan Markowitz · August 25, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Hartt and Duke and any other supporters of Tennis-Prose, I think it would be best if you sent in a post about how you value the work done here at Tennis-Prose and I can collect the posts and forward it to the appropriate media credential directors.



  • catherine · August 25, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    Duke – sure, but the Guardian usually covers that kind of event. We’re not involved in African Football Cup or athletics but they get a mention.

    Maybe papers are short staffed with all the sport going on.

  • Michael in UK · August 25, 2018 at 12:56 pm


    Here in the UK I have just found out that Amazon have bought the rights to the US Open.
    I suppose I could suspend my ciurrent Amazon embargo but without a smart TV it would mean watching hot matches on an iPad mini.
    It wil be interesting to see if for many viewers a streamed service can cope with tennis.

    Catherine, as the only other person I know here from UK can I ask if you wil be watching via Amazon?

  • Michael in UK · August 25, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    …the matches, not hot matches, sorry all.

  • catherine · August 25, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Michael –

    I did mention earlier that I’ve already seen some complaints about Amazon’s grabbing the rights, it’s been news for a while, and no, I won’t be watching – partly because of my feelings about Amazon and rather more importantly because I don’t have a TV (my choice). I can watch somewhere else but maybe won’t bother unless it’s a riveting match.

    So I’ll rely on streaming, which is a bit erratic but someone out there always gets around a monopoly, highlights – if there are any – and reports. I don’t always need to see a whole match to get a good idea of what’s happened.

    So I’m afraid you’ll have to hold your nose and break your own embargo. After all Amazon will shortly be running the world so why not ?

  • Hartt · August 25, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    I have read Tennis-Prose for several years now and make it a point to check it out at least daily. There are a variety of tennis sites that I follow, including ATP World Tour,, and Tennis Canada. Plus, of course, the official sites of the current tennis tournaments. Each has a different emphasis but there is a lot of overlap as well.

    It can be difficult to find original information and that is a major reason I enjoy Tennis-Prose, which provides a unique perspective on tennis. It covers stories that I don’t see anywhere else. For example, Denis Istomin recently winning the Asian Games and what that meant to him. Also, a detailed description of a practice session between Sascha Zverev and Novak Djokovic, which included Sascha’s new coach, Ivan Lendl.

    There are features, such as the Biofiles, that provide a fresh perspective on players, allowing the reader to know them better as individuals and becoming more interested in their careers as a result.

    The site also introduces readers to new young players. For example, a piece on Stefanos Tsitsipas, posted nearly two years ago, alerted us to a special young player. and we could follow his career even before his great run this summer.

    Tennis-Prose does an admirable job of providing fresh stories about tennis, something that is essential to ensure ongoing interest in the sport.

    Shirley Hartt
    Toronto, Canada

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 25, 2018 at 4:35 pm


    Tennis Prose is an invaluable resource in being an inside look at the game. What I value is seeing the sport from the varied perspectives of the pro game, amateur game and all levels in between.

    I consider Scoop Malinowski a tremendous contributor to the tennis world. He has authored many books on the greats of the game. He has interviewed many stars of the tennis world but also lesser known players who deserve recognition as well.

    He is also a noted boxing writer who has interviewed Mike Tyson and he is a true patriot and freedom fighter committed to justice in the United States.

    Dan Markowitz is also an excellent writer who played the sport and provides valuable insight at the youth level since his son is a top rated junior. This is simply coverage you can’t get anywhere else.

    Tennis Prose is deserving of accreditation everywhere in the world.

    Duke Carnoustie

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 25, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Sabalenka is a serious threat at the Open. This was complete domination today and she easily beat Georges as well.

    I may have to bet on her.

  • catherine · August 25, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Duke – I watched the match and I would have to agree with you. Aryna will enter the top 20 now. I wouldn’t bet on her at the Open however since she must be tired but she’s surely got the most potential of any of the younger players – not only battering groundstrokes but ability at the net, use of slice, a clever game. And all at 20. She’s got presence as well.

  • Gaurang · August 25, 2018 at 6:53 pm


    I love as it covers content not covered in any other website. It has great articles but also has lot of insider and behind the scenes stories (like practice sessions, chats with various players including the ones in the audience) that are not to be found anywhere else. They also cover challengers aa

    The comment section of the tennis-prose is amazing. Lot of sensible, experienced people post well thought-out comments. This uncovers so many details about players, both top-ranked and Challenger-level players. is a well done, intimate-sort-of tennis website. I hope it remains such for the years to come.



  • Duke Carnoustie · August 25, 2018 at 7:00 pm


    I just watched that Ajagba-Harper fiasco. Ever seen that before? Harper walked out of the ring. He was so scared to fight Ajagba that he left. I cant believe it.

    Ajagba is considered the world’s most feared fighter since your buddy Mike Tyson. Have you seen him fight? Does he have the goods?

  • Gaurang · August 25, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Scoop, Dan,

    I hope you realize your website is currently broken. Just go to your homepage — you will only see 2 news stories, and that it kinda breaks down.

  • Thomas Tung · August 25, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    To Whom It May Concern at the USTA:

    Scoop Malinowski and Dan Markowitz (as well as the rest of the regulars here at do a vitally needed job that is simply not found on other tennis sites on the web — namely, they provide unique commentary and observations which do not repeat the often-overly-partisan quips/comments which are, sadly, far too often found on other tennis websites. Here at Tennis Prose, you find passionate fans who do not let their natural desire to support the players they like override their behavior to others (and on the few occasions it has occurred, folks have calmed down and taken a step [or two, as needed] back).

    Since becoming a frequent visitor to this website a number of years ago, I have found myself enriched by the wealth of tennis knowledge on display here. Such knowledge allows me (and many other fellow readers) to develop more nuanced and complex portraits of many a player; including even those that might not be ones I particularly like watching (or have even heard of). The depth and range of Tennis-Prose’s coverage is simply staggering, reaching out from the minor leagues of pro tennis (Futures, Challengers), to human interest stories (promising junior players, aging veteran pros who managed to persevere, professionals in other sports who are tennis fans), and all the way up to the elite levels of the game (“behind-the-scenes looks” at Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Serena, etc) — and all of this at a frequently updated rate far more worthy of the “digital age” than many an established website.

    Quite simply, by not giving Scoop and Dan press credentials to the US Open, the USTA is showing itself to simply want to stick to a outdated, draconian outline whose mandate is only to allow silkily crafted, rigidly controlled press releases to the general tennis public — hardly a practice worthy of such a venerable and distinguished tennis institution.

    It is, quite frankly, unjust, especially when other tennis websites neither have the same amount of frequently updated coverage, nor offer the unique viewpoints and angles Tennis-Prose has consistently shown throughout its existence.

    In short, I duly request that the “powers-that-be” recognize what Scoop and Dan bring to the table as tennis journalists of great depth, scope, and integrity, and I firmly believe that doing so would be in the best interests of not only the USTA, but of tennis fans around the globe.

    Respectfully yours,
    Thomas Tung

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 25, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    So Steve Johnson got as high as No. 21 but I think he has reached his ceiling. You can’t be that great when you can’t hit backhand winners and he can’t. Medvedev outplayed him tonight.

    SteveJo will beat the jet-lagged Istomin and he is a nice guy. But I can’t imagine him reaching a Slam QF.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 25, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Anybody else still upset that Fed went to Uniqlo? Not at Fed but at Nike. How could Nike do this? They have arguably the goat and they let him go? Meanwhile they are still on the Tiger Woods bandwagon even though he is no longer a great champion and somewhat a disgraced bum.

    I see it as a slap in the face to fed and the sport of tennis. I know they still have Serena but how can Nike justify not wanting Fed to still represent them in his retirement? He was as synonymous with Nike as Michael Jordan.

    I do not believe Fed can win another major playing in Uniqlo. Seems unfathomable. I know I hate Nike because of this.

  • Tom Sawyer · August 25, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    I have recently discovered Tennis Prose and am so glad I did. Tennis Prose fills a huge gap that is lacking in coverage of the sport. Dan and Scoop go two to three layers deeper than anything I have been able to find in terms of coverage of men’s and women’s players that are not the superstars of the game, coaches, up and coming players, association news, interesting profiles…you name it.

    Tennis Prose has easily become my number 1 go-to website for information on the game, what’s happening during these tournaments (other than scores and generic reporting), and their level of reporting and journalism can only be improved by further access and media credentials.

  • catherine · August 26, 2018 at 2:14 am

    Interesting interviewette with Sabalenka on WTA site – she seems mature for her age. In some photos she also looks a lot like Petra 🙂

    You never can tell, I know, but I’m feeling that Sabalenka may be the new No 1 the WTA has been looking for. She has a much more varied game than Simona and a better mental attitude, so far.

    But, as I said, I wouldn’t expect that much at the USO.

  • catherine · August 26, 2018 at 3:31 am

    The stadium in New Haven is too big for this tournament. Barely half full for the final. Not a terrific atmosphere.

    The women’s tournaments pre-Wimbledon, Nottingham, Birmingham, Eastbourne, get good crowds so I’m not sure why NH can’t. It had a reasonable draw.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 26, 2018 at 8:17 am

    A major thank you to everyone for the outpouring of love and support for our site. It really feels fantastic to know the work we are doing here is so appreciated and a part of your tennis following experience. Whether the USTA decides to respect what we are doing doesn’t really matter, though of course we hope they will come to their senses, we will continue to provide you our dear readers with our unique style of tennis coverage.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 26, 2018 at 8:19 am

    Catherine, the fact New Have fails to prosper like Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne is indeed puzzling. Maybe it’s the allure of grass courts. Then again, the Aussie and French Open warm ups also thrive. It’s a mystery.

  • Hartt · August 26, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Scoop, I hope you and Dan do get media credentials for the Laver Cup. I plan on watching the entire tourney, and would love to see your reports about the event.



Find it!

Copyright 2010
To top