Aug/18

31

US Open Inside Scoops

Andy Murray is not too happy with Fernando Verdasco who he claims received illegal coaching in the locker room after a break during their four setter yesterday in the sweltering day heat. Then it was revealed by Michael Dickson of the Daily Mail that Marcos Bagdhatis witnessed Verdasco taking an ice bath in the locker room to help him cool off from the brutal heat.

Verdasco has had a nice rebound this year, winning two rounds so far against Murray and his old pal Feliciano Lopez who beat him in the first round last year in four sets. Last year I saw the ending and Lopez was serving it out at 5-1 in the fourth then made a sarcastic remark to his box in Spanish. The tone and delivery were curious so I had to ask a Spanish gentleman near me to translate what F-Lo just said? And he said Lopez said that Verdasco was “the worst player in the draw.” Lopez won and the former pals/doubles partners shook hands as briefly as anyone ever has without an iota of warmth or friendship.

Ben Stiller was at the Nadal match on Tuesday night and posted a comment about Rafa on Instagram: “I love this guy.” Rafa replied that he’s looking forward to getting on the court with Ben again to which Stiller replied that he’s eager to hit again too and he’s been working on his new tactics for three or four years.

Another big Rafa fan is the former boxing champion Donny “The Golden Boy” Lalonde of Winnipeg, Canada. Lalonde was a world light heavyweight champ and once boxed Sugar Ray Leonard. He posted a comment on Rafa’s Instagram: “All I have to say is I’m glad you weren’t boxing in my weight class in my era.”

Marcelo Rios is on vacation with his family and his parents and sister and six kids in the Bahamas right now, aboard a giant yacht which Rios says is his new toy. In one of his Instagram videos he’s in the water with a shark. And other photos show Rios shirtless with a body as ripped and shredded as any bodybuilder.

Mike Tyson was at the US Open again this week with his daughter Milan who is part of the USTA Net Generation gang. Clearly the USTA is grooming Milan, who is 11, to be a future champion. Tyson said he was a big fan of John McEnroe back in the 80s and that he followed his career. I once did an interview with McEnroe about boxing and he said he met Tyson once in the late 80s and he said Tyson was feeling his chest muscles to see how strong John was and John said he replied to Mike that he didn’t need muscles there for pro tennis, his leg muscles were more important. I included the anecdote in my Facing McEnroe book.

A couple of years ago Tyson got caught stealing an ice cream from an usher in Ashe Stadium. The usher reported the incident to police and the story ended up in the New York Post. Tyson, I was told by a mutual friend, is not allowed by his wife Kiki to carry money or a cell phone. So without any money or phone he can’t get into any kind of trouble with some of his so-called friends or hanger ons.

Enjoy Brian Earley while you can. The tournament referee who has become a famous figure at the Open for his treks onto Ashe Stadium with his ever present walkie talkie, whenever rain drops begin to fall, is apparently moving on from the USTA position after the tournament.

Jeff Tarango said he’s staying at the Long Island home of George Soros during the US Open. Really?!? Tarango works as an international TV analyst during the tournament.

Tyson artwork by Bud Boccone.

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84 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 2, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    Zverev has to be losing self belief, he’s a failure at majors though he’s a superstar at non majors. He’s got King Kong and Donkey Kong on his back right now regarding majors. Lendl has to figure out how to get that double gorilla off his back.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 2, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    I remember being ridiculed for saying Isner has a threat to win the USO. Well look who is in the QFs? He beat DelPo in a big match in Paris last year and has the goods to do it again if DelPo advances.

    isner is taking American tennis to new heights within the last decade and deserves all the credit for his terrific play.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 2, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    Isner’s success also highlights the lack of success of the NextGen. They succumb not only to the Big Four but other vets who have stepped up since they are not being challenged from behind. Guys like Ando, Isner, Nishikori and even Grigor still are in the mix since the NextGen isn’t pushing them out.

    I think the ATP needs to scrap the Milan tourney since it is full of overhyped players. Right now, only deMinaur looks like the real deal with Hewitt coaching him to greatness.

  • Winston Smith · September 2, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    It’s great to see Mike Tyson getting in to tennis, the game sure needs a bit of sizzle! It is a bit premature to start thinking of Milan Tyson as a talent of any note. At age 11 she’s currently #68 in the Intermountain USTA section, girls 12s. Not bad but nothing special. Lots of kids with famous athlete parents: Wayne Gretzky’s daughter is a solid player in SoCal 16s, top 100 in section. My daughter played a kid whose dad had a solid MLB career, she was a top 150 national player, may play D1. Tennis is a tough game to play at a national level. Takes a lot of work!

  • catherine · September 2, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Kanepi gets a set off The Queen so all is no lost. Maybe Sloane can finish the job. She seems very motivated this tournament.

    What’s happened to Svitolina ? Just got wiped in 3rd set v Sevastova. Another failed female Next Gen.

    Is Zverev just too tall and skinny ? Who’s been the tallest No 1 ? If Lendl can’t solve his GS conundrum no one can.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 2, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    Duke,

    Izzy beat Raonic. Let’s not get too excited. You know damn well, Izzie has less than no chance of beating Delpo and if he somehow does, he’s got less of a chance of then beating Nadal in the semis. Issue’s had a nice run, but now he’s got to start playing the big boys. Raonic has never been a big boy. He’s been a big boy waiting at the Big Boy’s table, that’s all.

    So nice win for Izzie, but he’s got as much of a chance of winning the USO as John Millman or Jaoa Sousa do.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 2, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    Scoop,

    Please enough with Sandgren. He’s not an elite player. Sandgren’s father wouldn’t say he’s an elite player. Saying Sandgren is an elite player because he took a set off Djoko and is in like the Rd of 16 in doubles is like saying Ryan Harrison’s an elite player because he won a slam in doubles. Elite players don’t even play doubles.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 3, 2018 at 1:32 am

    Isner has beaten DelPo the last two times on hard courts. And he may play Thiem instead of Rafa. If he gets to Sunday, who is to say he won’t win that match.

    I know I rooting for him to get there. If he wins this tournament it will be one of the great stories in sports. Isner is a proud American who was one of the first people to criticize Colin Kapernick for kneeling. Him winning the U.S. Open would be huge for the country, especially in this era of the Big Four.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 3, 2018 at 1:35 am

    I think Sloane would be able to beat the queen. But I have a funny feeling Sevastova will surprise her. Seva should have won that match last year. Sure Sloane destroyed her in Montreal but I will pick the Russian.

  • catherine · September 3, 2018 at 2:31 am

    My WTA match of the day has to be Sabalenka v Osaka – may be the future of the game (but who knows in the WTA ?)

    Both are 20 and ranked 20 and 19. Both whack the cover off the ball. I think it’ll come down to which one has the most energy at the end.

    Naomi has had a resurgence in NY after a long slump. She’ll want to keep that up.

  • catherine · September 3, 2018 at 3:11 am

    Comment by Kerber in her post-defeat pc-‘I’m not looking around (at) other matches, other players, the draw, it’s not affecting my game or my preparation. I just go my own way.’

    I’m not sure if she means she doesn’t think about who she might play a match or two ahead, or if Fisette does any scouting and coaches her for different players. Or if she knows she has to stay focussed on the match in hand or she can get distracted and forget about winning. Maybe that bit is true.

    I have heard players (including Chris Evert once) claim they don’t look at the draw but I never believe them.

  • Hartt · September 3, 2018 at 4:36 am

    What is this obsession here with wanting to make everyone Russian? Sevastova is Latvian, not Russian, and I doubt that she would appreciate being called a Russian.

  • catherine · September 3, 2018 at 5:13 am

    Hartt – I suspect it’s some weird political thing which it’s best to avoid.

    Like referring to Zverev all the time as the ‘Russian’.
    Can’t make that one out at all. Might as well call Kerber ‘the Pole’. (some do of course)

    Maybe certain people get a bit confused, being not too familiar with European history, because the names are similar, being mainly Slavic.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 3, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Well Dan, Fed failed to win a set off Djokovic in Cincy. Sandgren played very well vs Djokovic and he is still ascending and improving and getting comfortable at the ATP main tour level, keep in mind this is still his first full ATP main tour season, he’s still officially a rookie.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 3, 2018 at 7:27 am

    Isner also beat Delpo in Miami Open SF, though it’s claimed Delpo was tired in that match. Yes for sure Isner can beat him again and threaten for this US Open, he’s a different player now and has been since Miami 1R third set vs Vesely. Plus Justin Gimelstob’s fist pumps and standing ovations from the player box are also a factor.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 3, 2018 at 7:30 am

    Winston, Tyson loves the sport and was first connected to hit through his wife Robin Givens, now long time ex wife, who was friends with Lori McNeil and Martina Navratilova, they all actually played at his house in Bedminster NJ back in the 80s. Tyson also has an Arthur Ashe tattoo on his arm. I saw Gretzky’s daughter lost 15 at Eddie Herr 6060, not sure about the MLB player’s daughter you mentioned. Singer Corey Hart of the 80s also has a serious daughter player as do several former NHL players.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 3, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Dan, Ranoic has been red hot this week, he even crushed the revived Stanimal in three sets. That’s a huge win for Isner to beat Raonic. Only a fool would bet against Isner vs Delpo.

  • Hartt · September 3, 2018 at 9:12 am

    I have no idea who will win in the Isner vs Delpo match, although I think Delpo has a slight edge. But I have to give credit to Isner for finally improving several aspects of his game. He used to rely far too much on his serve, but his groundies are better and he will actually come to the net, and play quite well there.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 3, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Hartt, Isner is returning better too, he’s taking attack minded cuts at the returns. His ground game has always been sufficient (wins over Fed and Djokovic and Rafa last year in Laver Cup after some close calls with Rafa). Isner is the worst nightmare opponent for anyone, especially the top five players.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 3, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Hartt. My mistake, Sevastova is indeed from Latvia.

    Sandgren and his take no prisoners approach in a night session at Ashe was impressive. He is showing he is a talent. I think he needs to improve his fitness and he will be even better.

    Kerber didn’t seem too disappointed in losing to Domi. Maybe fatigue setting in.

  • catherine · September 3, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Duke – I think Kerber was disappointed, who wouldn’t be, but as I said earlier I believe that, subconsciously or not, her year has ended with Wimbledon. That was a massive mental triumph for her – she wasn’t the best player in the draw in some ways, not the most all-round talented stroke maker, but she reached the final and believed in herself and won it. She probably just can’t get herself up for other events, not even the USO, maybe because she’s got that. And yes, fatigue, but not as bad as 2017.

    Angie has to reset herself, dig down to find the aggression, and that’s hard when you have to go on playing. What goals can she have ? Not No 1, realistically, only Roland Garros in titles and that’s a step too far. Just enjoy playing for the sake of it and maybe aim for Tokyo – a lot of older players seem to be saying that 🙂

    Anyway, I’m sure she’d like to qualify for Singapore so there’s motivation.

  • catherine · September 3, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Domi falls quickly to Keys 1-6 3-6 so Angie might consider herself lucky she avoided Maddie’s steamroller.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 3, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    That was one of the best matches I’ve seen from Keys, very smart tennis against a fired up foe. Keys will be big trouble for anyone. Osaka also was mighty impressive. She was crying after, this was a big step for her, first QF of a major and she had to earn it against a red hot supremely confident player in Sabalenka. Osaka seemed more emotionally hurt than happy, which shows she put herself under enormous pressure. Huge win for Osaka. She will gain a lot of fans from this one.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 3, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    I’m going to US Open tomorrow and if Izzie beats Delpo (there’s no way that’s happening) I will walk the ground saying, “John Isner is my favorite tennis player of all time.”

    Scoop, why do you say Kyrgios is flummoxed by the pressure of winning matches? If anything, I’d say it’s the opposite that he doesn’t care enough about whether he wins or not. There’s not that burning competitive spirit within him.

    Also, don’t agree with Gilad that Kyrgios’ form is bad. I love his backhand and the short take back he has on it, very Agassi-like. His forehand is amazing when he flicks it. Sometimes he falls back on it which is more bad footwork than strokes. Hit main deficiency are his volleys, but they can be magnificent too.

  • Chazz · September 3, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Izzy might have the best serve in tennis but Delpo has the best forehand in tennis. I think Delpo wins. And then as expected he will get smoked by Nadal in the SF.

  • catherine · September 3, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    CSN beats Sharapova in SS – when was a one handed backhand last seen at this stage in the US Open ?

    I predicted Osaka would beat Sabalenka – Naomi is playing well and Aryna has come to end of her 4 tournament run. Could be these two will meet again before long.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 3, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Osaka-Saba was a fiercely contested match and hopefully the start of an intense rivalry. Meanwhile CSN beating Pova was a snoozefest and a slopfest with some of the worst serving seen at this level since Dementieva retired.

    I felt like I was watching a different sport.

  • Hartt · September 3, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    There were several of us cheering like crazy for CSN. She is an appealing woman and her one-handed BH is a lot of fun. Today is her 30th birthday so a great birthday present.

    And of course we wanted her to beat Maria who, unlike everyone else, got to play all her matches on Ashe at night. They were giving her every possible advantage. She was terrible tonight, making 38 UFEs to 15 winners. But what do you want to bet that hey will continue to treat her like she is a great player? I am so sick of hearing Evert call her, over and over again, a great champion. She may have been in the past, but those days are long gone. Her last Slam was the 2014 RG, over 4 years ago, and her last big title was the 2015 Italian Open, over 3 years ago. Her live ranking is No. 24. I know she was out for 15 months but she hasn’t done anything great since she came back.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 3, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    It’s clear now Maria is not the same player she was before the drug ban and you all can connect those dots. In her book she claims she got to be a foot taller than he dad and mom by supposedly hanging from a bar in her closet as a kid. If you buy that growth explanation, you’d probably buy ice in Alaska.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 4, 2018 at 1:38 am

    76 unforced errors for me means that Fed was worse than the infamous Robredo match. What is interesting though is that he was at 6-3, 5-4 serving at set point and en route to an easy win but Millman turned it around and took Fed to a place where he couldn’t put the ball into play.

    Meanwhile, Clownios tanked the second set against the same Fed as opposed to fighting through and creating the doubt that Millman did. I recall Millman cruising past Clownios in a Slam too but Scoop won’t write about how “cool” he is.

    DeMinaur, Ebden and Millman are currently the 3 best Aussies and Tomic just won a challenger so he will be back soon. Then we shall see how great the Clown Prince of Tennis is once his ranking drops like a rock like sock.

  • catherine · September 4, 2018 at 2:17 am

    Sabalenka got dumped on by some at the end because she threw her racquet but I don’t mind that. It was a close match, she had a match point, lost it, saved 4 more match points – and then was out. She could show her feelings. If this becomes a rivalry it seems Naomi already is the crowd favourite. Seems a little unfair, but there you are. They think she’s cute.

  • catherine · September 4, 2018 at 2:48 am

    CSN v Maria was an average kind of women’s match – not quite the snooze-fest Duke thinks, but nothing great. Maria really should consider other career options.

    I like the way CSN won this match and her previous with a bh X ct winner.

    The USO has always, IMO, been the worst GS for favouritism re scheduling.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 4, 2018 at 7:56 am

    Sabalenka had every right to smash her racquet and to smash her chair and another helpless target or two if she fancied. Losing that kind of match with what was at stake is perfectly understandable and acceptable. Right now Sabalenka should be in the US Open semifinals. Instead she will be haunted for days and weeks and perhaps months with HOW did I lose that MATCH point???!!??

  • catherine · September 4, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Yes – it’s ok to react like that. She was frustrated and also I think accumulated fatigue playing the last few weeks, winning in NH, caught up with her. I’m sure Tursunov will help her deal with it all.

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