Aug/19

30

The Feliciano Lopez Experience

One watches a Feliciano Lopez match for many different reasons: the guy is gorgeous; the Spaniard has exquisite legs and hair; F Lo has the best slice backhand since Ken Rosewall; Lopez is a Spaniard who actually looks to come up to the net and volley away winners.

Yesterday at the Open, I couldn’t get a ticket for my son and I at noon. I have never seen the Open more crowded. The fact that there was a Mets home night game at Citi Field directly across the street probably added to the mass immensity.

Disconsolately, we start walking back up the boardwalk to our parked car. I tell Callum we’ll go to Jones Beach instead, but halfway along the boardwalk, a scalper approaches with two Arthur Ashe tickets in the 300’s asking for $200. I say, “I’ll give you $160 for the two.” He comes back with $180. I stick to my $160 and he relents. Afterwards, my son asks me, “Does $20 mean that much to you?” Kids always question your money decision because they don’t make any money of their own.

We go into the stadium because Cal wants to see Tiafoe v Zverev. Here’s the scoop about the stadium at least on the fourth day of the tournament, at the upper level, you can always move down to the better seats. I don’t mind the view. Tiafoe is playing offensive tennis and he takes the big German to five sets, but falls short. Tiafoe, Opelka and Fritz, the American Young Gen troika, are all out of the US Open having won a combine two matches combined. Oh vey!

Jenson Brooksby, or as I like to call him Brooksby Jenson, is next on Court 10 against Basilashvili. I think Brooksby will finally get killed in this match. He doesn’t seem to do anything really well. He doesn’t have a big serve; he doesn’t have big groundies; he doesn’t move particularly well, but he has a great head and fighting spirit. The young American goes down in 4 all the same.

Finally, we catch Feliciano v Nishioka on Court 5. I love the three courts, all side by side of Courts 5-7. Nishioka is as big as a piece of sushi, and I don’t mean to ethnic profile here. He’s the closest I see on tour right now to Johnny McEnroe. He can do it all on the court, but disappointingly, even as he wins the first set, Lopez takes him down in 4 sets just as he did against Fritz in round 1.

Lopez bends over a couple of times early in the second set, but he keeps on going. His game is very refined. His slice is so clean and powerful he very rarely needs to come over his backhand. Turning 38 in 21 days, the Spaniard has a very interesting match tonight against Medvedev.

Finally, I’m captivated by a women’s match, on Court 7, Kristie Ahn, who I saw practice last year at the USTA Center in Orlando, is playing the Sloane Stephen’s slayer, Anna Kalinskaya, who is almost as gorgeous as F Lo. But Ahn gets a lot of my attention. She’s 27 and from New Jersey and has won a total of $450 k coming into this Open. Still, she has a lot of the USTA coaches watching her match and she doesn’t disappoint. Ahn can’t be more than 5-3 I’d guess, but she has one of the nicest inside-out forehands I’ve ever seen and its hit flat and on a beeline. You can tell Kalinskaya with her Adidas contract and confident strut, thinks she’s going to make quick work of Ahn, but it’s actually Ahn, who has a nice all-around game, who makes relatively quick work of the Russian. And this I’ve never seen in a pro match; after the first set when Kalinskaya left the court for seemingly a trip to Brooklyn it took so long for her to return; Ahn stayed on the court practicing serves!

I watched a little of Shapovalov and Youzhny was pumping his fist towards Denis. I tried to watch some of Kyrgios, but without a reserved seat for the Grandstand it was standing room only and I don’t do that from the upper tiers. (A pet peeve of mine is when the ticket-holders for the reserved seats don’t claim their seats, let the people standing in the upper tiers come down and sit in those seats!)

So I go and meet my German-British friend who works for the Tennis Channel and is the captain of Roehampton club team in London who’s big-name player is Joe Salisbury. Salisbury was the top junior in England when he was 9, 10 and 11 his mother tells me, but then he got some kind of immune-deficiency disease and couldn’t cut it in singles on the pro tour. So he’s partnered with Rajeev Ram and they easily disposed of Qball and Harry. The Americans were laughing and joking around and Qball has to have some of the worst hands in the sport of tennis. Harry if he keeps on going this route, might not have a pro career at all soon.

Finally, we watched another British team beat an American team of Rubin and Kwiatowski. The latter went crazy on the ump when she called him for hitting the ball on the other side of the net on a volley. These doubles players volley so quickly and sharply with ridiculous angles I felt bad for the ump because I can’t tell if the players are hitting the ball on the right side of the net.

We drive back to Westchester hoping to catch the Nadal-Kokkanaikis match, but the Aussie has pulled out with a shoulder injury. Some players no matter how great their upsides seem to be; no matter how great their desires are; are just not meant or able to play ATP pro singles tennis.

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174 comments

  • Andrew Miller · September 2, 2019 at 7:24 am

    I AM seeing that some players, such as the women from Belarus or from Czech Republic or Slovakia, play similar styles. Possibly had similar coaches.

    Keys style was boring. The right match up makes it look better. Have met some Keys fans and I’m not sure why they are Keys fans. Her style reminds me of Capriati and Davenport. I think she was able to take advantage of Kenin lack of footspeed the other day, and couldn’t against Svitolina.

  • Hartt · September 2, 2019 at 7:53 am

    I was excited about Keys when she was about 16. She had so much power it looked like she would be a terrific player. But she never learned how to actually play tennis instead of just pummeling the ball, and I soon lost interest. Keys is 24 years old and has been a pro since 2009, so there isn’t much chance that she will change her approach now. People have been saying for years what changes she needs to make, so it’s not as though it is a deep, dark secret.

    I agree that it is hard to understand why there are Keys fans, outside of the fact she is American. The commentary during her match yesterday was driving me nuts. Virtually everything was about Maddie, and Evert in particular kept putting a positive spin on things. It was stuff like she could still turn things around, while she was way behind and piling up UFEs at a great rate, instead of acknowledging she was playing badly.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 2, 2019 at 9:07 am

    Jeff, agree, the match stunk and that was not the real Djokovic. There was more to this match than the Djokovic alleged shoulder injury. We may never find out what though.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 2, 2019 at 9:11 am

    Normally reserved mild mannered Catherine, just took three shots at Robson, whoa 🙂 Everybody is firing shots now.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 2, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Keys is the prototype of dumb tennis, non stop going for too much, never showing any guile or cleverness or deception, just flat out full power hitting always. Smart girl, fun personality off court, sweet as can be, but on court she’s a dummy. She should be so much better than she is. Imagine what Santoro could do with her, or Schiavone.

  • catherine · September 2, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Nothing but the truth about Robson. Very limited player over-promoted when young. As a commentator she had a try out at the Fed Cup early this year and was terrible. Looks like a super-model on her twitter which isn’t exactly how I remember her.

    Thought we’d hear conspiracy re Djokovic. What if it was just his shoulder and he knew he wasn’t going to win and maybe shouldn’t have played ? What if the cigar was just a cigar ?

  • Harold · September 2, 2019 at 9:30 am

    I think some people confuse exciting tennis, and fighting spirit. The Haleps and Svitolina have amazing fighting spirit against girls 5 inches bigger, and 40 pounds heavier. Getting that last ball back, making big babes hit another ball. Sevastova does massage the ball a little more, and more variation in her game.

    They grind out matches. They don’t put their head down, and stat chipping and charging. They just keep running balls down.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 2, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Catherine, nothing is ever as it seems. Too many irregularities here, no wife in box, no mansion host Gordon Uehling. No intensity. The verbal attack on the fan during practice threatening “I will find you.” The alleged piano lesson from famous pianist a week ago, who dressed like a sex kitten, posted on Instagram.

  • Andrew Miller · September 2, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Yes, Svito wrestled her way through the Yastremska match and Keys match. Yes, let’s applaud the burning fighter within.

    It’s not as if that fight mentality isn’t part of others, it is. A player sometimes has make other players feel like it isn’t their day, and with Svito getting so many Keys power shots back, Keys started believing that for sure – why is my forehand off? Why can’t I play like yesterday?!

    As Harold may suggest, there’s an answer to Keys question. The answer is Svitolina.

    Still bored me to tears. Svitolina does express something like what Bouchard had in winning matches unexpectedly in her various 2014 slams. The I can stay out here all day, until day turns into night and night to morning.

    I appreciate that completely. Same fire as some players showed in their way matches, only to lose to other players whose reserves had more of the will.

    Style still makes me concerned. But that’s ok. It’s a game of matchups. Svitolina clearly has a strategy if the chips are down – she has a good game plan of sticking with the opponent until she has something to work with. That’s a good way to play, too.

  • Andrew Miller · September 2, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Example, if it’s Dimitrov vs Federer, with carbon copies sort of playing against one another, it too becomes…boring. We don’t like mirror images much.

    But hey sometimes we get a mirror image match. More often than I’d hope for on the women’s side of the game, but I’ve been impressed this tournament that the wta “product” is very good and worthwhile.

    And Svito is beating bigger, stronger girls. What’s not to like? It’s not as if Jo Konta isn’t doing the same thing, but I think Konta doesn’t play the let me wait for something I can work with routine. I think Konta figures out what she wants to do in her rallies and seizes control as often as she can. Svitolina seems like she matches intensity then works with what her opponent gives her.

    I consider Konta more aggressive and Svito more passive aggressive.

  • Harold · September 2, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Keys is a better mover than Davenport. Otherwise, pretty much a Carbon copy.

  • Jeff · September 2, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    I really feel for what Djokovic is going through. Obviously Federer and Nadal have had only one partner and that is what the public expects of champions of that stature. But Djokovic is a charismatic guy and these beautiful Eastern European are throwing themselves at him. Us average looking guys can never understand that. That pianist was absolutely sumptious.

    My guess is Djokovic has his team cover for him with Jelena but she isn’t stupid. Too bad he can’t convince her that they should have an open marriage. She may be the determining factor as to who finishes with the most Slams.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 2, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    Jeff, looks like Djokovic got caught again with his hand in the cookie jar. And he will again and again. And again. The divorce lawyers are going to make a killing.

  • catherine · September 3, 2019 at 12:34 am

    Maybe Jelena is an old fashioned girl and had this unusual belief that marriage to one man meant exactly that. An ‘open’ marriage still means she gets to look after the kids.

  • Hartt · September 3, 2019 at 1:06 am

    I hope you aren’t serious about feeling “for what Djokovic is going through.” If Novak is cheating on his wife I have no sympathy for him at all. His marriage was rocky earlier and that should have been a big warning.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 3, 2019 at 1:18 am

    McEnroe once called Novak “the tiger woods of tennis.”

  • Jeff · September 3, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    It has to be difficult to have these beauties throwing themselves at you. I once had two women fight over me and it was ugly so I can only imagine what it is like for these rich, good-looking guys who travel the world. As a man, I know he is in a difficult position, that’s all I am saying.

  • catherine · September 3, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    I don’t think Djoko is good-looking. His neck’s too long.

  • Hartt · September 3, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    I suspect the most attractive thing about Novak is his $$$.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 3, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Medvedev wins first set, big surprise. Afraid there will be no surprises tonight, expect two blowouts.

  • Andrew Miller · September 3, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Another Djoko rumor?

  • Andrew Miller · September 3, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Medvedev d. Wawrinka

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 3, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    Medvedev is a scary player right now, he’s destroying top players. And openly taunting New York City while doing it. That’s confidence, supreme confidence.

  • Jeff · September 4, 2019 at 1:12 am

    I think Dimitrov will stop Medvedev. That pre-tourney practice with Serena that trolled Trashapova helped both of them. This is Grigor’s time to shine and he is one match away from becoming the most handsome Slam finalist in tennis history!

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