Aug/19

29

US Open Third Day Report

Weather calls for rain but I have a ticket and chance to see some friends from Pittsburgh. I get to the BJK Tennis Center at 10:30 and the first player I spot on the grounds is Feliciano Lopez cutting through the grounds from Ashe to the indoor courts for a practice with his coach Jose Clavet in tow, barking out some instructions in Spanish. F Lo has a cap on and his head down and nobody but me recognizes him.

Play on the outer courts never gets going because of the misty drizzle but Federer vs Dzumhur starts on Ashe and Nishikori vs Klahn is on Armstrong with the roofs closed.

Fed loses the first set again and Nishikori loses the second set to Klahn but the big buzz is about Kyrgios the night before, his “shit show”, as Steve Johnson called it and the accusation that the ATP is corrupt have the tennis world in a tizzy.

Kyrgios is the king of controversy and seems naturally inclined to keep outdoing himself practically every month or week.

As the saying goes, “People are gonna talk, might as well give ’em something to talk about.” My take is Nick is the perfect bad boy rebel that the sport needs. He’s terrific with kids and adults now to are embracing him.

Compare Nick’s behavior to these two episodes with Connors and Pancho Gonzalez. Connors was losing a match and a guy in the front row mumbled something that annoyed Jimbo who responded by spitting on the court and saying, “Pick that up for me boy.”

Pancho was retired but practicing with Connors at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. A young fan was watching the practice and tried to praise his hero, “Pancho I don’t care what anybody says, you still have it, you can still beat these younger guys…” Pancho replied with an unexpected retort, “Frankly kid, I don’t give a fuck what you think.”

Could you imagine the media uproar if Kyrgios acted in this manner?

My source who says Mouratoglou pays Serena to act as his coach confirmed the story is true. He also added that the Lotte Hotel on 50th Street is giving free rooms for the Nadal and Serena camps to all stay at the hotel.

As the steady drizzle continued, there was a gap of dryness and Alex deMinaur and Christian Garin started at about 2 but only played a game and a half and then the umpire stopped it as rain drops slicked the lines.

Tommy Haas was cruising the grounds with a friend and he told me his first and last pro matches, which I will post next week. (I ran into Tommy three times and nobody seemed to notice Tommy, nobody bothered him for a selfie or autograph.) Todd Martin also did a First and Last, both of which happened at US Open. Todd was on the run to catch a bus to NYC with his son Jackson who is taller than him.

Despite the near total washout, the mood of the grounds was still good. People seemed happy to just be there, walking around, enjoying the atmosphere and sites to see, the food. There was no bad energy or frustration.

Mal Washington and Taylor Dent did a sitdown chat and took questions from fans but when Mal started talking about rain and how the players deal with the waiting, I exited the scene. I think they should have discussed other things like maybe their first and last matches, or US Open matches, memories. Or do Biofiles with each other. Nobody wants to hear about rain when it’s raining.

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116 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 30, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Andrew, thanks for that Stak quote, it’s a very valuable and educational quote. Over hype young US players for short term marketing and promoting of pro tournaments is a long term risk.

  • Harold · August 30, 2019 at 11:02 am

    Voltchkov is a righty. Saw him play many times at the Brooklyn Racquet Club, before his great run to the Wimby semis. Another former Junior Wimbledon winner

    Volkov’s claim to fame beside his wife, who would stop traffic in the old Tennis Center grounds just by walking.
    Volkov basically bailed on the US Open after upsetting Edberg in the first round, to play in Germany in some big money Club League

  • Andrew Miller · August 30, 2019 at 11:06 am

    Scoop, no crystal ball, and it’s unfair of me to say, “Brooksby will have X career” etc or “Brooksby isn’t ready”, “Coco Gauff is lucky” etc – they earned their results this week. They beat more experienced players. They’ve earned their matches.

    I think the game has evolved to such a degree that raw talent, such as the ability to win points against better players, isn’t sufficient. The women’s game is increasingly this way – red hot desire to win isn’t the same as that PLUS the experience to know whats working on court and adjust right there during the match. One approach leads to a dead end and more losing than necessary, the other translates into more chances to win the match one’s playing. Rinse and repeat.

    I’m not going to say CocoG, Brooksby, hey don’t do this. The companies are coming, the agents are screaming to sign you up for contracts and Wheaties commercials. You’re the next Graf! You’re Agassi with a clue and maturity! You’ll be top fifty!

    But in my heart, I know we’ve seen this movie before. I don’t know whether the script will change, but I know we’ve seen this stage. Good results and a hype machine far more formidable and lucrative than anyone can imagine. The kind of opportunity players dream of.

    Good luck to them with their decisions.

  • Harold · August 30, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Is Grauf more advanced than VW at 16? They’re both long, big strokes, think Grauf’s second serve is better at this stage. A little too fearless on her second serve imo. Goes for too much at wrong time.

    I think new tennis in the mens game, is going for a big second serve. Not a big fan of double figure df’s . Looks great when it works, big groan when it doesnt

  • catherine · August 30, 2019 at 11:48 am

    Andrew – that second para has always been the case – ‘red hot desire to win’ obviously needs some nous about making the right decisions and therefore winning some matches, getting experience and so on until you’re HOF. Why so many prodigies end up on the sidelines and sometimes later in life when the desire to win takes you so far and then the wall comes rushing up. Names ? Fill in the blanks.

    That’s the same for men and women.

    And then there’s the business of IGs, Twitters and self-love. You can put out those pics, and mags and websites will pick them up and around the globe they go and you get the sense that there are players out there (mostly women) who pose themselves on IG and then spend time sitting around reading fans’ comments on how beautiful they are and maybe believing it and meanwhile their careers are going down the tubes. Deep disconnect. Again, fill in the blanks.

    Social media will never give anyone belief in themselves, mostly it’s bad and commercial interests will push this exposure more and more. Delusional.

  • Hartt · August 30, 2019 at 11:50 am

    I have only seen a few minutes of Brookbsy in action, but was curious about him from comments here, and looked up some info on him. I don’t think a lot of stock should be put on him defeating Berdy, who is near the end of his career because of ongoing back issues.

    Brooksby has won 3 Futures tourneys, all this season, but it looks like he hasn’t made the final of a Challenger. He said he wants to see how he does in Challengers this fall, which sounds like a good idea. He needs to be able to win at that level if he wants to be a pro.

    “I haven’t really thought about it yet, I don’t know what I’m doing still,” he said. “I’m going to see how I do in Challengers coming up and see after that.”

    Brooksby, who was the only American man to come through qualifying, said he was told he has a couple of days to decide whether to accept the $100,000 he earned here in prize money, and he must weigh that against the value of a four-year scholarship to Baylor, worth approximately $200,000.” (Forbes.com)

  • Hartt · August 30, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    One thing that Brooksby needs to consider is that he is unlikely to make a lot of $ in the next year or two if he turns pro. The big USO cheque isn’t likely to be repeated anytime soon.

    I looked to see where the the teenagers above Brooksby (who is now N0.271 in the live rankings) are ranked. There are only 4, with FAA the only one in the top 100 at No.19. Sinner, ranked No.126, is next. We know that Felix is an unusual talent, but I doubt the other 3 have made much $.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 30, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Berdych just beat Seppi last week in Winston Salem so it’s not like he’s in a wheelchair just yet. He’s still a serviceable top 100 player with a ton of experience. I watched the second half of Brooksby vs Berd and Brooksby won the match, it wasn’t Berdych blowing it, Brooksby hit the shots, played the big points better and earned the win. Great win. My opinion is he’s ready to go pro now.

  • Harold · August 30, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    I never understood why they can’t put his winnings in some sort of trust. Go to college, and the money is waiting for you..

  • Harold · August 30, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Rubin and Pospisil just had a podcast saying Booksby’s winnings should be divided by Challenger players if he doesn’t accept it..( kidding)

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 30, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    Harold that makes perfect sense. He earned it, US Open should give it to him no matter the decision.

  • Harold · August 30, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Baylor( schools been on probation in football and basketball ) many times. He might be getting paid to go there. He’s from Sacramento, don’t know if there’s any connection to Baylor, but shocking Stanford, USC, and UCLA let him get away

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 30, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Good point. Maybe he has leverage to demand more $ now. But merely speculating of course.

  • Andrew Miller · August 30, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    Match scores
    Konta d. Zheng. Konta!
    De Minaur d. Nishikori. Wow. Round of 16.
    Barty d. Sakkari. In two.
    Pliskova d. Jabeur. Jabeur is great, hope others watch this player with a fun game.
    Serena Williams d. Muchova, easily
    Federer d. Evans, easily

    Other players in various stages of dismissing other players.

    Hope others like the Jabeur game. It really is a nice one.

  • Andrew Miller · August 30, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    Koepfer, Rd 16! d. Harrison @ qualies as TP, Dan wrote. Something tells me Harrison feels a lot better about his life!

  • Andrew Miller · August 31, 2019 at 12:44 am

    Some more highlight observations:
    Pliskova d. Jabeur. Pliskova was and is better, but wow Jabeur can play. She’s a tennis player’s player. The Rios of the women’s game? Haven’t seen someone does what she does on court since Jamie Hampton. Encourage anyone to watch her. She’s another example of you don’t have to look like anyone to know and play this game well.

    Martic d Sevastova. Sevastova is one of my favorite players. Martic was just better in every dimension. Showed beautiful strategy. Some savvy serve volley. Had a purpose and punished Sevastova for her weak serving at times. I love the Sevastova game, but hat tip to the better player.

    Konta is playing so well! d. Zhang, really painted the lines. Showed some great angles. Like Ostapenko finds angles somehow on the lines, on the baseline. Great work. Playing very well. I watched two sets of Konta highlights, Konta played better on the outer court, where she beat Gasparyan and for some reason her game looked better there. The stadium seemed really empty for the Konta Zhang match.

    Saw the Svitolina vs Yastrm. match. Forgive me if I couldn’t get excited by this. I was more excited to see Konta sporting Ellese and Ellese sponsoring a tennis player than to watch Svito and Yastremska. This match looked like WTA tennis years earlier this decade or even the mid to late 2000s. That’s right, mindless ball bashing.

    Which I now believe cannot be compared with more thoughtful ball bashing. Some games are more enjoyable from the baseline than others.

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