Tennis Prose



Ready for the Citi Open

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy first Citi Open was a memorable one. It was 2007 and it was the first time I ever saw John Isner, or the first time I ever heard of the name John Isner.

He was on a practice court on day one, looking like an NBA center but equipped with mesmerizing tennis talent. Of course, Isner was born as an ATP star that week, winning five matches all by third set tiebreakers vs Henman, B Becker, Odesnik, Haas, Monfils in the SF before finally losing in the final 46 67 to Andy Roddick.

There have been a lot of special memories covering the Citi Open six different years and this will be number seven. I saw Safin play at the Fitzgerald Tennis Center in one of this last years. In 2007, wearing yellow adidas shorts, he beat Haase and Hernych in three sets before losing to Monfils.

I saw Kiki Mladenovic lose early two years in a row and then sit and cry and moan about her result, sitting in two different spots, once by the media center tent entrance and once on the far side of the practice courts near the trees.

The first time I saw Juan Martin Del Potro live was at the Legg Mason, he had the long hair look working then.

Another year, which was probably about three years ago, Mardy Fish was working with a then-struggling Ryan Harrison on a practice court, specifically trying to sharpen his forehand.

Two bizarre matches at Citi Open come to mind. Karlovic was playing Paire in a night match and Paire was acting like he should wipe up the court with Ivo, talking a lot to his box in French. Well, it turned out Paire was mocking Ivo’s game in French but the surprise was Ivo understood French and heard what Paire was saying about him. But he didn’t make an issue of it till the handshake at the net. Karlovic won a third set breaker and then the tensions escalated. The two had to be separated on court and then again outside the court as they both came together again on the walk back to the locker room. Ivo discussed the matter to a couple of press people as he rode an exercise back minutes after the win.

Another weird match was two years ago, Tomic vs Johnson. Tomic was acting like a clown and joking with the chair umpire about how long his service game was, extended by about ten deuces. Johnson was playing with full intensity and seriousness while Tomic was clearly giving a substantially less then a hundred percent effort. Tomic even questioned the chair ump at one point if he could look up to see what the record number of deuces was for a game so he could try for the record. Johnson ended up winning.

The Citi Open is definitely a special tournament with a long history going back to the 70s, when John McEnroe once went into the crowd to pester an old lady who was having trouble with her umbrella. A player told me this anecdote for my Facing McEnroe book.

The tennis memories never end at the Citi Open and I look forward to sharing with you some more this week, where such players as Caspar Ruud, Kei Nishikori, top seed Dominic Thiem, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils, Jack Sock, Alex Zverev, Tennys Sandgren, Jelena Jankovic, Nick Kyrgios, Grigor Dimitrov, Lucas Pouille, JM Del Potro, Donald Young, Gilles Muller, Dmitry Tursunov, Hyeon Chung Steve Johnson and qualifier and ATP 557 Alexios Halebian will be featured.

· · ·


  • catherine · July 31, 2017 at 2:10 am

    Scoop – I know the men’s draw is stronger but you’ve missed mentioning Simona who is seeded 1 and will probably walk off with the trophy unless Sloane Stephens causes an early upset 🙂

  • catherine · July 31, 2017 at 2:44 am

    (and no Dan, Angelique Kerber is not playing)

  • Hartt · July 31, 2017 at 6:27 am

    Scoop, am looking forward to your reports from Washington. Am very excited about the tourney – not only does the men’s side have a very strong field, but 6 Canucks have journeyed south of the border.

    Milos won the event in 2014 and his partner in crime in the final was Pospisil. Vasek plays Laaksonen today and if he does not win that match I will totally give up on him. Playing doubles is the forever young Daniel Nestor. Danny thought he may play a lighter schedule this year but so far he has been everywhere.

    For the women, 17-year-old Bianca Andreescu got a WC and plays Giorgi today. I hope the match is streamed, Bianca is an exciting young talent. Another youngster, Francoise Abanda, is in action today and faces Georges. Franckie played well against Ostapenko at Wimby, hope she can do well today. And Genie Bouchard will play Christina McHale.

  • catherine · July 31, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Hartt – I noticed the number of Canadians – I suppose they’re getting practise in for Toronto, Washington being nearer than Stanford ?

  • Hartt · July 31, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Bianca got a WC for Washington, but yes, Stanford would be a very long way to travel. So it will be a short trip to Toronto for the women and also to Montreal for the men.

    Denis Shapovalov was supposed to play the qualies but because he got to the SF in Granby he was otherwise occupied.

  • Hartt · July 31, 2017 at 8:34 am

    This is so exciting, Sascha is No. 8 in the new ATP rankings and No. 6 in the Race rankings. He is no longer the future, he is now!

    He has added Juan Carlos Ferrero to his coaching team, who will be with him for at least the remainder of the season. Ferrero on Sascha: “He surprised me with how strong he is.” On what needs improvement: “His attitude on the court is up and down . . . He’s young and he needs to grow up, and he has to control his emotions on the court, but day by day.” (ATP site, July 30)

  • Andrew Miller · July 31, 2017 at 9:06 am

    If it’s Montreal Nadal has a shot! He’s won it there before.

  • Andrew Miller · July 31, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Hartt, direct flights, it’s an easy trip for many canucks in eastern region of the maple leaf.

  • Andrew Miller · July 31, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Federer on Sasha (my interpretation): “yeah he is good. He’s not me, but he’s good.”

  • Andrew Miller · July 31, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Ferrero on Sasha, my interpretation: “this is a sweet job. I can teach him an old style of play that not only has gone out of fashion but that also no longer works on today’s tour. There’s a reason Coria and I slid down the totem pole of rankings and it isn’t the chicken pox, or even Nadal. It was me.”

  • Andrew Miller · July 31, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I like Shapovalov, Dancevic, what ive seen about the very hyped hope he keeps at it Felix.

  • Andrew Miller · July 31, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Pops. Thought Pops would be like Berdych and Cilic

  • Hartt · July 31, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Andrew, lol, you are being so mean to poor Ferrero! Sascha approached him at Madrid re this coaching gig and they have been in touch, although not working together in person until now. Sascha said he wanted someone who had played in big matches. But as far as Sascha’s style of play, imagine Alexander Zverev Sr. will have the last say on that.

    Actually, Ferrero is making sacrifices to do this. He has 2 young children, including a baby. Fortunately his wife agreed with the decision. And he has his academy to consider as well. But the chance to work with a future superstar was just too good to pass up.

  • Hartt · July 31, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Felix is one of those youngsters who absolutely loves tennis, so he will definitely keep at it. Hopefully his wrist injury won’t keep him out of the USO qualies. Recently I saw a video of highlights of all his matches at the Lyon Challenger. Obviously we are seeing only his best points, but I was blown away by well he was playing. His movement on clay was excellent, to go along with all his other strengths. When he won the title, even though his opponent was French, the crowd gave him a lovely ovation.

    I am beyond frustrated with Pospisil. He is one of those players who has not maximized his talent and, at age 27, he does not have forever to get to a high ranking.

  • Andrew Miller · July 31, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Pops, the Querrey or Sock of Canadian tennis?

  • Andrew Miller · July 31, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Hartt, yep I am pretty mean today. Pretty soon I’ll make some quip about how US players can’t even surpass the era of Dan Goldie and Derrick Rostagno, or long for the days of the post Basset, pre Bouchard days of Canada’s wta players.

  • Hartt · July 31, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Andrew, I wish Pospisil had done nearly as well as either Sock or Querrey. At least both those guys have won singles titles, the closest Vasek came was runner up in DC in 2014. That was the same year he had his career high on No. 25, he has pretty well fallen off the map since then. Just recently he has started to claw his way back up into the top 100 – he is at No. 72 right now.

    He does have a few doubles titles, of course the big one was Wimby in 2014. Most of them were with Sock, although has done well with a couple other partners.

    Some tennis experts thought Vasek could make the top 20 (as did I), but that looks a long way off now. He was in the tennis wilderness during what should have been some of his best years.

  • Thomas Tung · July 31, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Andrew: Meanie or Manic Mondays?

    As for A. Zverev: he reminded me of a young Soderling 3 years back, when I first saw him at the US Open qualies. The poise and demeanor was like that of Robin during his qualifying days (2003) but even more focused and pronounced (I predicted Soderling as a Top 10 player). Watching Zverev on that day, I immediately thought of him as a multi-Slam winner based on that alone (3-4 Slams, possibly more). Soderling didn’t disappoint, and (so far) neither has Alex.

  • Andrew Miller · July 31, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Thomas Tung, probably both meanie and Monday! Yeah Alex Zverev is for real, some better slam prep and relaxation techniques and scouting and he’s going to beat his peers and many more at slams

  • Andrew Miller · July 31, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Pops is playing better!

  • Dan Markowitz · July 31, 2017 at 1:52 pm


    I’m so happy you have one of your two fave players in D.C. I could write a piece on Wotjek Fibak and I know you’d bring it back to Kerber of Simona H.

  • catherine · July 31, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Dan – I could easily connect Wotjek Fibak to Angelique Kerber since Angie is half Polish and maybe I could do a little essay on the Polish side of her character.

    Simona ? Maybe not so easy but I’m sure it could be done.

    Of course both my ‘faves’ as you call them will be there in Toronto but I promise you their names will not pass my lips or my keyboard. That will be a fun exercise, especially if one of them wins 🙂

    BTW – I once interviewed W Fibak.

  • Hartt · July 31, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Andrew, it would be hard for him to play worse than he did last year. I refuse to get excited until he is in the top 40. If that happens, he may renew my faith!

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 31, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    I highly recommend the talked-about Bernard Tomic interview.

    Find it here:

  • Hartt · July 31, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Pospisil is wearing what must be the ugliest shorts ever – a bright lime green with some sort of pattern. Even Stan’s red and white RG shorts were better than this. If it weren’t going against my patriotic duty I would root against Vasek based solely on those ugly shorts. 🙂

    As it is, he and Laaksonen are on serve in the first set, Pospisil 5-4.

  • Bobby · July 31, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Not surprised by the Tomic story. What became of Paire and Karlovic did they fight physically?

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 31, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Bobby. No blows were thrown but it was very testy and heated.

  • GameSetAndMath · July 31, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    I too remember distinctly Isner's 2007 DC tourney. In NCAA singles finals, actually Isner lost to (you guessed it in a final set TB) Somdev Devvarman. So, I was having some hopes for Somdev. But his career never picked up and he never had much success at ATP level. I am not even sure whether he managed to break into top 100 ever.

    But, if Isner really needed two Tie Breaks to win against Harrison, it means his return game has not improved at all.

  • Bobby · August 1, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Thanks for the response. Paire was foolish, as today’s players know multiple languages. I expect Monfils to make a strong run this week.

  • kickboxing store · August 4, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    kickboxing store writes:

    " Great beat ! I would like to apprentice whilst you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a blog website? The account helped me a applicable deal I have been a little bit familiar of this your broadcast provided bright transparent concept " how to improve fighting reflexes skull boxing gloves boxing gear las vegas



Find it!

Copyright 2010
To top