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.


  • Steve · December 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

    “Bradley Klahn and Daniel Kosakowski are the second and third listed alternates, respectively.” –for the Wild Card spot.

    “Thirteen American men have been accepted into the Qualifying draw of the 2013 Australian Open. They include James Blake, Jack Sock, Steve Johnson, Denis Kudla, Alex Kuznetsov, Wayne, Rajeev Ram, Tennys Sandgren, Tim Smyczek, Ryan Sweeting, Michael Yani and Donald Young.” Doesn’t seem like Klahn is going to play the quallies.

  • Dan Markowitz · December 20, 2012 at 11:13 am

    It’s a hard call. To travel down to Australia for a couple of weeks and to lose in qualis would cost a player more money than he makes. Safer to go play Hawaii challenger if they still have it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Wasn’t it Jesse Levine who won the wildcard tourney last year? Good result again for Williams, he is emerging from the pack.

  • Dan Markowitz · December 20, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Very good win for Williams, Scoop, who you and I both like. Was your boy Steve Johnson in the event? And look at Levine, he said he’s going to go play for Canada this year. What is this Benedict Arnold-ing suddenly going on? Bogey leaves for Russia and now Levine for Canada!What’s next, Sam Querrey leaving for Sherman Oaks!?

    How come Johnson, who didn’t play in it, not get a chance to wc into main draw and a guy like Smycek, who’s older, or Chase Buchanan, who’s like #360, get the chance? Can’t be an age thing b/c Bettany Mattek-Sands was in the women’s draw and she’s older than Chris Evert.

  • marc nichol · December 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Hey Dan,

    I couldn’t seem to post under the Pete article…do these things close after a while? At any rate don’t you think it would be good journalism to state who you talked to (was it Bodo, in the picture?) and what specifically he said to you. But more importantly what was the exact quote from Pete? Pete is my favorite and has been nothing but deferential to Roger, and really anybody else of the younger generation…you can check out a recent interview with Steve Flink at Tennis Channel website…my God, he goes out of his way to compliment all of the big 4, and in particular praises the current-day John McEnroe. I just would like to see the exact quote or quotes. Pete definitely has a good point, one Fed fans don’t like to hear too much, but it does sound out of character for him even though he does have the right to make a case for himself. Thanks, Marc.

  • marc nichol · December 26, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Granted, I don’t know if somebody had ever asked him specifically, at least lately, who he thought the greatest player ever was

  • Dan markowitz · December 26, 2012 at 11:58 pm


    I did post that I got the story secondhand from a reporter who is at a lot of New York tennis and basketball events. I know he’s a beat writer for the Knicks so I’ll get his name the next I go to a Knicks game. But he said Pete said outright that he is the GOAT for the simple reason that he dominated Agassi while Nadal has dominated Fed. I think Pete believes he’s better than Fed and it showed in the exbos they played where Pete won one and almost beat Fed in NY. This is from a retired player 10 years older than Fed.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 27, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Pete has a point but it doesn’t seem his nature to beat his own drum like that, Pete was all about letting his racquet and results doing his speaking. Perhaps he just noted innocently during a conversation this fact about dominating Agassi and Fed being dominated by Nadal – without an agenda. Just hard to imagine Pete feeling any need or insecurity to suddenly proclaim himself the greatest of all time. Pagliaro told me he spoke to Pete not long ago and Pete’s view is that every era has the best players and it’s impossible to decipher who is the best of the best.

  • marc nichol · December 27, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Thanks guys for weighing in

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Hi Marc; here are the Sampras quotes Richard Pagliaro sent to me recently:

    “Everyone wants to name the one guy each generation has their guy,” Sampras said. “In the ’60s it was Laver. You had Borg (in the 1970s), Ivan (Lendl) and John (McEnroe) during the ’80s and myself and Andre in the ’90s. It’s hard to answer because each decade has their guy and I think now we have Rafa who has done everything in the game, won all the majors, won the Olympics and has a winning record against Roger. There’s no clear best player of all time. Each decade has their guy. Put Borg and Don Budge up there too.”

    Regardless of Nadal’s final Grand Slam total, Sampras says the muscular Mallorcan has already earned his place as one of the top three greatest players of all time.

    “Rafa’s definitely up there,” Sampras said. “You gotta put him in the top three or four and it’s not over yet. He’s in the middle of his career.”

  • marc nichol · December 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    thanks scoop..i’m not sure if i already read that, and that certainly does not jibe with what the knicks beat writer told dan, as i suspected, and i believe you did too…maybe that guy should stick to talking about melo and was interesting pete didn’t mention roger specifically but he has talked so much about roger’s accomplishments and greatness..maybe he felt it time to give rafa a little more love…still, nowhere did he say he was the best…he didn’t even single himself out in his own era, the era argument that he was making, but mentioned agassi too

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 27, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Marc, We know Pete adores Roger, it’s probably that he is beginning to really appreciate Nadal for all he’s done, it’s only fair by Pete to do that and Pete has always been very fair and real.



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