Jack Sock Has Turned Into Jackie Gleason

First, on Day 1 of the US Open I got caught spending $188 for a ticket in the nose-bleed seats of Arthur Ashe Stadium. I had arrived around 1 pm and thought I could buy a Grounds Pass for $65 to get into see what was an incredible array of Opening Day matches, but finally my options were narrowed to this one ticket. Still, it was such a beautiful day–about 75 degrees and sunny–and the constant array of quality matches was intoxicating.

The US Open is definitely getting too popular. I can’t believe there are so many tennis fans in New York City in August. When I’m inside, I feel the urge to quiz the average fan by asking, “Do you know what country Nick Kyrgios is from?” Or, “What is Rafael Nadal’s natural dominant arm?” Are these people really tennis fans or fair-weather fans?

I walk out immediately to see Kwon v Dellien on a side court. I had watched Kwon in the Qualis and the court they were playing on was not crowded and besides there was a beautiful Korean woman sitting right near where I sat down. One of the things I must watch when I’m watching pro tennis is not to stare at the beautiful women nearby. Sometimes I can’t help myself even when my son is with me. Callum asked me, “Dellien is from Bolivia?” Yes, I said, pretty amazing. But that’s the US Open, there are even players from Bolivia there.

Next I head to Court 17 to watch Riley Opelka vs. Fognini. Opelka wins the first set handily, but I could’ve told everyone this. Fognini rarely tries in first sets. But I’m surprised to see Opelka manhandle Fognini in the second set too. At one point, Fognini smashes his racquet and when he gets a new one, he asks a ballboy to get his shock absorber that has fallen out of the cracked racquet. I can’t believe a tennis player can be so lazy. In fact, Fognini moves in between points like he’s a male model, lazy strides with his chest puffed out.

Opelka will get to obliterate another Italian in Round 2 because Paolo Lorenzi came back from two sets down to beat 16-year-old Kalamazoo 18’s winner, Zach Svajda. The San Diegoan is listed at 5-9, but that might be kind. He weighs 130 pounds, but I’ve never seen a young player generate so much pace on both wings. He was whipping Lorenzi until he hurt his leg and seemed to lose his mojo. When you look up “grizzled tennis pro” in the dictionary, you see Lorenzi’s mug.

On my way to see Svajda, who’s dad was standing courtside next to I imagine a young guy who was Svajda’s coach, (I asked Svajda’s dad if he was Svajda’s dad and he said, “Yes,” and then I watched him as his son played and he displayed no emotion and didn’t even clap. I couldn’t imagine myself acting that way if Callum ever plays in the US Open; I saw the “Magician,” Fabrice Santoro, taking a picture with a fan. I tried to take a picture with Fabrice, but instead just took one of one my favorite players of all time.

Vince Spadea, who beat Santoro only once out of four tries, came by to watch Svajda play.

I have to admit that I did watch a little women’s tennis. On my own, I watched a few points in the Lauren Davis-Johanna Larsson match. I get a kick out of how Davis dribbles the ball between her very short legs before serving. Larsson is very emotional, especially for a Swede. And then Scoop got me to watch a little of the Su-Wei Hsieh match, but it didn’t hold my interest much, especially because de Minaur was playing Herbert, a very entertaining match that the Aussie won in four sets. Watch out for de Minaur. I think he’s ready to make a deep run.

I watched a little of Goffin v Moutet, but after taking the second set, Moutet could not keep up with the rapid Belgian. I missed seeing my favorite Belgian player, Steve Darcis, play. How the heck did Darcis get in the Main Draw anyway? I ended my day with the Jack Sock v Pablo Cuevas match. I got a good seat (which is what is pretty amazing about the US Open even with record crowds; if you wait a little on line, you usually can get a good view or seat).

Seeing Sock live for the first time in two years ago when I saw him lose to Opelka in Delray, it was shocking to see that he’s put on I’d say another 10-20 pounds. Sock is listed at 6-3 and 195, but I have to imagine he’s tipping the scales now at more than 200 pounds. His Nike shorts seemed painted on. His ass looked as big as Alaska. Still, he was stilling moving very well and whipping his crazy RPM forehand. Cuevas is the anti-Sock; 6 1/2 years older than Sock, the Uruguayan is uber-fit and his one-handed backhand is easily one of the top 5 one-hander’s in the game.

There was a big crowd rooting for Sock with Mardy Fish, the new American Davis Cup coach, in it. But I knew when Sock’s buddy, Nick Kyrgios, showed up and sat in the front row, two rows ahead of me, Sock was doomed. Sock seemed to be getting into his groove when Kyrgios arrived, but I saw Sock look up at Kyrgios after almost every point in a critical juncture of the second set. Sock was smiling and shaking his head. I think at one point he said something about Cuevas being lucky. Kyrgios tried to encourage Sock like it was a Laver’s Cup match, but Sock bowed out in straight sets. Sock is now 4-10 since he reached the Round of 16 at the 2016 US Open, equaling his best showing at a Slam. It’s to the Challengers for Sock now and hopefully a fat farm too.

My English friend wants me to return to the Open on Wednesday to see his friend, Joe Salisbury, play doubles against Sam Querrey, who went down to Londero yesterday, and Jack Sock’s doppelgänger, Ryan Harrison, but I don’t think I can afford another foray out to Flushing Meadows.

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  • Hartt · August 28, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    We will see if the ATP develops some backbone regarding Kyrgios. Calling the ATP “corrupt” could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. I hope so. This is getting beyond ridiculous.

  • catherine · August 28, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    ATP isn’t going to do zilch about Kyrgios. He gets his name in the media and fills stands. That’s all anyone cares about. Imagine suspending Nick for the Laver Cup ?
    No, I didn’t think so. Camels’ backs are pretty flexible.

  • Andrew Miller · August 28, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Commentator jobs aren’t easy to get, have to have some stature. Gimelstob was lucky to nab one and he was under-qualified.

  • Andrew Miller · August 28, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Kyrgios will make life hard for anyone playing with him because he hates the sport, and he wants everyone to take that journey with him – the thrill of big time playing and the agony of agony itself. But if he does this against Steve Johnson, Kyrgios won’t make it out of week one. Some opponents will concentrate and send Kyrgios home.

    No one can “teach” Kyrgios lessons. He’s a brilliant player that’s shaping up to be the next Gimelstob – light years more talent, but ultimately very sour and incredibly depressed and in need of doubles or a better girlfriend or something.

    For all we know he was set off by the success of Aka Tomljanovic and her classy win.

  • Jeff · August 28, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Catherine is right, the ATP can’t do a damn thing cause of the timing. If they had not taken the Laver Cup on, they may have been able to do something but there is no way short of injury that Kyrgios won’t be at that exhibition. Even then, he would show up and give press conferences.

    Kyrgios has the tennis powers at his feet and has brought the sport to its knees. As much as I dislike him, I do in some way admire his ability to break all the rules and get away with it. And there lies his appeal – people wish they could break all the rules and get away with it like him. Thus he’s a cult tennis hero. Tennis is going to have to induct him into the Hall of Fame for how notorious he is now.

  • Harold · August 28, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Andrew, I dont understand your point. It happened last night. Johnson raised his point, but didnt fire him up enough to win

    “But if he does this against Steve Johnson, Kyrgios won’t make it out of week one. Some opponents will concentrate and send Kyrgios home.”

  • Harold · August 28, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    I agree Jeff, Kyrgios is an interesting dynamic in tennis. But, there is someone on the other side of the net that everybody keeps forgetting about. Its not just NK and the chair. The opponent has a big stake in all the crap going on . Imagine yourself on the opposite side..

  • Andrew Miller · August 28, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Harold, some opponents will concentrate and defeat Kyrgios. Kyrgios put on a show versus Johnson, and this act won’t last as far as I can tell. It’s almost a way to save face for the inevitable loss this week, possibly early next week if Kyrgios cares enough.

    The guy has so many problems! As much as I think Nadal sometimes is too much with his distrust and disinterest in Kyrgios, Nadal is an elder statesman and when Kyrgios played a few unsportsmanlike points in their match Nadal still won – savoring not just beating Kyrgios, but beating him for the last time they played at Wimbledon and also being able to say at the end of the day

    “Scoreboard – I got you back for the last Wimbledon and for Acapulco, and for all your talk I’m moving on in a bigger tournament and now 4-3 in our h2h.”

  • Andrew Miller · August 28, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    I’ll take Garin over De Minaur in this next-ish vs next gen battle.

    Nishikori escapes Klahn in 4. Nice effort from the lefty, but Nishikori remains an excellent player and should do well.

  • Andrew Miller · August 28, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Kyrgios wants the HOF invite without doing the work. He likes playing villain – Soderling did too. At the rate he breaks down he’ll be lucky to make a slam final.

  • Hartt · August 28, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Nick’s antics are totally unfair to his opponents. FAA and Karen, who both beat Nick, talked about how hard it was to maintain their focus. It is hard enough to win a match without having that added problem. FAA even said he couldn’t be friends with someone like that, an strong statement from the usually mild-mannered Félix.

  • Andrew Miller · August 28, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Kyrgios has decisions to make, such as whether he wants to be a pro tennis player. Like Agassi in Agassi youth, this is what Kyrgios is good at. He may believe he’s a great basketball player, but odds are that ship sailed long ago and now he feels trapped by things such as pressure and the loneliness of the tour.

    Unless Kyrgios turns this around and his life, this story will not be good. The tour will definitely let go of Kyrgios to keep their reputation – Kyrgios would need to get a lawyer and would likely lose his case.

    He’s getting older and older for someone to start the process of maturing. Agassi did it between 24,25 and 29 years old. He hit rock bottom and had all sorts of personal problems.

    Kyrgios is not even safe as Australia’s best player. Kokkinakis is back, and De Minaur is dead set on becoming a solid player. Whoever else is in Australia’s youth programs probably likes the lifestyle Kyrgios shows and may challenge too in the very near future.

    We already have one casualty in Oz and that’s Tomic, who gutted his own career to make the world see he’s miserable and he hates everything but the high quality life he was gifted.

  • catherine · August 28, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Off topic but there are so many topics in this thread it can’t matter. For anyone interested Sabalenka explains how she copes with the ‘real’ reality.

  • Hartt · August 28, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    Even Kyrgios realised he overstepped the bounds and could face serious consequences.

    On his twitter:
    “I would like to go on record to clarify my comment around the ATP being corrupt, it was not the correct choice of words and my point and intention was to address what I see as double standards rather than corruption.” Based on that wording I wonder if he did consult a lawyer. But if he is smart he will send a formal letter of apology to the ATP, rather than relying on a tweet.

    The tweet continued, basically saying that he did deserve some of his fines but repeating that he thought there was a double standard.

  • Harold · August 28, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Thats his management agency trying to save NK’s butt kind of statement.

  • Andrew Miller · August 28, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    Harold may be right, “we may not get paid, Kyrgios may be suspended from the tour. Quick, someone post this to Twitter! Draft that I’m sorry letter too! Someone, anyone, get on Instagram!”

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 28, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Harold, but Patrick’s brothers rebellious behavior was just as controversial as Nicks. If anything, I would think Patrick would show more tolerance for Kyrgios.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 28, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    One report says Roger lobbied Nicks mom Norlaila to leave agent John Morris for Team 8. Siurce Jannik Schneider, German Tenis Magazin.

  • Harold · August 28, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    You’re right Scoop. PMac shouldn’t be the one going to town on NK, even if it is deserved. Gilbert was subtle, saying NK is fast when he tries. Cahill pretty much said he doesn’t like seeing it

  • jg · August 28, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    The real story here is Federer’s business savvy, it doesn’t appear he goes after just anyone, just players who have an impact ( coco Gauf) and big deals (Uniglo), Kyrigos fits this mold, Federer is a smart businessperson plain and simple.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 28, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Federer told Schneider in miami hes just a player, not involved in recruiting.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 28, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Harold, Gar Mulloys book revealed Charlton Heston was so repulsed by John’s antics and behavior, he considered totally disassociating with Tennis and even stop playing. Heston also once said he preferred playing tennis over sex.

  • Jeff · August 28, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    Maybe the punishment for Kyrgios should be to stay off social media for the rest of the year. That would hurt him more than any amount of fine money since he builds his fan base via social media. I know when I take away my daughter’s cell phone for a day how much she whines and complains.

  • Harold · August 28, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    Did Stevie Johnson do a presser after the Kyrgios match? Haven’t seen one quote

  • Andrew Miller · August 28, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    McNally was playing decently but not well enough to have Serena down a set! Brave tennis from McNally, who does NOT remind me of Henin. The awkward forehand reminds a little bit of Edberg, her stepping in a few feet recalls Oudin. Good serve, nice attacking game.

    Serena looks really distressed out there.

  • Andrew Miller · August 29, 2019 at 12:00 am

    And Houdini, dressed as Serena, wins again. 6-2 6-1 after dropping the first set 5-7. Sheesh.

  • Andrew Miller · August 29, 2019 at 12:01 am

    TP qualies fave Koepfer up two sets on Opelka

  • Jeff · August 29, 2019 at 12:06 am

    I guess the media went home so Johnson did not have to do press

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 29, 2019 at 12:09 am

    Koepfer on a serious roll, it all started 1R qualies win vs Harrison 61 61. Rhyne Williams co coach of the year with Youzhny. McNally is the real deal, what a beautiful all court game. If you don’t like watching Caty McNally, you don’t know tennis.

  • Jeff · August 29, 2019 at 12:18 am

    You can see by court assignment how important Kyrgios is to the sport. First round on Armstrong and tomorrow on Grandstand. Tomorrow he is higher in the pecking order than Monfils and Shapovalov. Berrettini is on Court 9.

    I may have to admit I am wrong about all of this. He is clearly bigger than the game to get all the preferential treatment he does. Perhaps he meant the ATP Tour was corrupt in his favor.

    The McNally match was great and what a tennis family. I love seeing stories like this that only the U.S. Open produces.

  • catherine · August 29, 2019 at 12:48 am

    I like McNally too – I hope she has a great future. I’m glad I’ve seen her before because when I looked on the 30″ highlights they only showed Serena’s winners 🙂

    I feel sorry for a lot of ATP guys. It’s obvious the way to get attention is to behave like Kyrgios. The tennis is a sideshow. I really hope he goes too far very soon and gets a long suspension. Young people love Nick because they are naturally rebellious but as age creeps on you get really sick of this stupid stuff.

  • Andrew Miller · August 29, 2019 at 12:57 am

    It was not long ago, six years ago, Kyrgios bested Klahn in a three set challenger match with two tiebreaks. If you want to blame anyone for the rise of Kyrgios, blame Klahn. Klahn ousted him in the first round of qualies at the Australian in 2013, and Kyrgios went on to win the junior Australian Open and then begin his rise through challengers then main events. The rest is history.

  • Andrew Miller · August 29, 2019 at 12:59 am

    As Koepfer beat Harrison, Harrison should feel a little better. Koepfer had more in the tank.

  • Andrew Miller · August 29, 2019 at 12:59 am

    WTA looks good. Future looks good, present looks good.

  • catherine · August 29, 2019 at 1:03 am

    Svitolina crushed Venus Williams and gets to meet Yastremska who comes from the same city, Odessa. They have never played each other or practised together so it’ll be interesting. Svito might win on experience but could go either way. They play the same game pretty much. No fireworks.

  • Jeff · August 29, 2019 at 1:29 am

    There is one more logical reason why tennis officials like Kyrgios. He is one the few top-level players who plays doubles. The only higher ranked singles players in the doubles draw this year are the team of Pella/Schwartzman and Benoit Paire. Some players like Simon, Struff and Shapavalov are below Nick and also in the doubles.

    Only the Bryans, Kyrgios and Shapavalov probably draw for the doubles so the organizers love that they can put a match with him on a decent court and get some fans in the seats.

    That’s another genius move by him and I am sure he will point this out. This could be why he said in his statement that Kermode supports him.

  • catherine · August 29, 2019 at 5:21 am

    What’s this about an ATP petition for profit-sharing at major tournaments ? Can see that one flying. And is the WTA planning a similar move ? My crystal balls sees threats of strike action etc from the men (women wouldn’t dare)and so on and so on.

  • Andrew Miller · August 29, 2019 at 7:15 am

    The slams are bigger than any player. I learn so much each slam – thought the Australian this year was particularly good, then seeing the US Open, great way to see as many players as possible. It’s a little like drinking water from a fire hydrant in terms of how much tennis there is, but it’s good!

    On Kyrgios I am all out. He’s lucky to have an easy second rounder.

  • Jeff · August 29, 2019 at 7:29 am

    I have a better chance of winning mixed doubles with Catherine at this year’s US Open than Kyrgios does of getting suspended for the Laver Cup. I am not sure if Kyrgios murdered a chair umpire if they would suspend him for that, it ought to be named the Kyrgios Cup.

    Another trophy he has yet to win, I might add.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 29, 2019 at 8:10 am

    Hartt, if it is no injury why did Bibi have it taped, drama queen purposes?☺

  • catherine · August 29, 2019 at 8:39 am

    Scoop – I’m not Hartt but sometimes the tape is just preventative. I think you should stop this Drama Queen stuff about Bianca considering the seriousness of her injuries in the past and how she’s managed to continue to play and play well.Her opponents should just concentrate on beating her. Kerber said what she did because her own career is in free fall and she’s not coping. That’s not Bianca’s fault.

  • catherine · August 29, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Correction – Svitolina will only meet Yastremska if Dyana gets past Peterson, which is by no means a given.

  • Hartt · August 29, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Bianca said her knee had bothered her a bit in practice, but it wasn’t anything serious. She said the other bits of tape were to cover up insect bites.

    Her movement did not seem hampered in that match, so I’m inclined to believe her that there is no cause for concern, at least at this point.

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