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Splat! 08/26/2009 - 4:00 PM


by Pete Bodo

Yesterday, I spent a pleasant afternoon at the qualifying event for the US Open. Call me perverse, but this event has become one of my favorites of the year. That you can just walk in, free, is quite amazing in this day and age (even though that tends not to be an issue for a pro freeloader like me).

And with many of the concessions open and an army of electricians and other workmen tinkering with everything from the Jumbotron in the food court to the makeship ESPN open-air studio, there's a gratifying sense of both activity and an exciting undercurrent of imminence. You know something big and maybe even special is going to be happening here soon.  It's a little like being on an elaborate set during a movie shoot. That's the background against which all the grunting and grinding takes place, and the cries of anguish or joy (sometimes alternating from the same larynx) pierce the thick, moist August air.

It can be be brutal out in the midday sun in Queens at this time of year, but the upside is that by around 4 pm, the light is turning molten and the sun no longer bores through your shirt or hat. As the day deepens, a pleasant softness descends on the United States Tennis Association Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, known here mostly as the acronym of acronyms, the USTABJKNTC. Late in the day, the colors that were bleached out by the harsh sunlight just hours earlier are fully saturated and everyone on site catches a second wind and feels more comfortable idling away the day, watching tennis of the highest quality.

Qualifying attracts an interesting group of fans, starting with the real tennis aficionados. Half a dozen people said "Hi" and introduced themselves as TennisWorld readers while I walked around, and none of them were familiar to me as comment posters. I also bumped into a few more familiar and/or involved people of the Twibe, including Susan Kim (with her husband, Alex) and - this will bring a smile to many of your lips - Snoo Foo.

My main order of business was watching Nicole Vaidisova play Yung-Jan Chan, of Taipei. I don't want to write too much about this one, because I'm working on something substantial relating to Vaidisova for Tennis magazine, but I'll say this much: Vaidisova, who lost the first set because she played an atrocious tiebreaker, won the second set, and promptly fell behind 0-4 in the third, reminded me of a Partner B in a fairly common domestic situation that works like this: 

Partner A asks a simple question in a normal, clear voice.

Partner B replies, "What?"

Partner A says (or in the case of most happily married couples, merely thinks): What, "What?", are you deaf? You're a million mile away!

In this match, Chan was asking the questions and Vaidisova was answering, What?" You can get away with that on the sofa or the seat of the truck, but it doesn't usually work out too well for the spacey one on a tennis court. Vaidisova's four-game blackout cost her the match; you can't play winning tennis, even in a qualifying event, when mentally a million miles away and in most cases don't even know that's where you are.

I know from experience that this kind of thing happens to many serious recreational players, too, usually from sheer overplaying. It's a form of mental burn-out, which can be but isn't necessarily curable. The only reason you don't see it more often on the pro tour is because nobody in the grip of it lasts long enough for you to see it happening. I think this is, partly, what happened to Marcelo Rios, as well as to Bjorn Borg, who was in the grip of the "What?" monster during his brief, aborted comeback (some of you will remember that he was actually whistling to himself during some matches). And let's not forget Marat Safin, who's been asking, "What?" for a long time now.

Anyway, after Vaidisova lost, I took a little tour of the grounds - where fewer than half of the 64 matches scheduled for the day had been played. Free entry ensures a diverse crowd, an odd mixture of dedicated students of the game in their age-softened polo shirts and scuffed tennis shoes, teen-agers who may or may not care much about tennis, but like ogling their attractive and only slightly-older if considerably more accomplishwed peers, local coaches with their prized students, and young families. If you have any doubt about whether or not players can (instead of merely "want to") play with people wandering about all around them, including in the bleachers, you ought to see them block out the distractions during qualifying.

During the Chang-Vaidisova tiebreaker, for example, a somewhat unkept but respectable woman strolled in, right along the little fence alongside the sideline. There was a kid of about 10 with her. The woman plopped down and the kid leaned against the fence, nose over the edge, just behind the Chang's chair. "Tommy," the mother suddenly asked. "Where's Jack?"

The kid turned and shrugged, like maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that his pain-in-the-butt kid brother had gotten lost somewhere between the Willets Point subway stop and Court 4 at the USTABJKNTC.

Panicked, the mother jumped to her feet, grabbed Tommy, and went off to find Jack.

Neither player seemed to notice.

The emblem of qualifying is the backwards-worn baseball cap (is there a better symbol for the gritty, borderline desperate nature of the enterprise?), and the sound track is grunt. The aspiring main-draw players seem to need to grunt for the same reason as most successful pros: the grunt is both a signal of self-affirmation and a declaration of effort. The qualifying players grunt extra-loud because they, by definition, are the ones most achingly in need of self-affirmation. As statements go, a grunt is an easier one to make than is a cross-court backhand pass at game-point down. At times, I wanted to grab one of these kids by the scruff of the neck and, marshaling my most authoritative tone, exclaim: Roger Federer don't grunt!

But there's another, more attractive sound, at qualifying. It's the almost painful Splat! of a tennis ball being absolutely, positively crushed. Now, that's music to our ears, right? And I'm not talking about the pleasant pock! (I think John McPhee described it as the sound of champagne corks popping, and I can't do better than that) of a ball hit nicely, right on the sweet spot. I'm talking about the big, fierce, perfectly timed cut that wipes the smiley-face off your typical happily traveling tennis ball and leaves the poor little thing so caved in that the rubber skin inside the ball comes perilously close to touching itself across the inside diameter of the ball.

Now that's tennis, folks: Splat! Perfection. Any Questions?

Here and there throughout the grounds you can often see a qualifier doing some oddball exercise under the watchful eye of an inevitably grave-looking coach. I saw one girl doing kind of a chicken-dance (the one made famous by the San Francisco 49ers defensive back, Merton Hanks - YouTube, anyone?), and another doing a painful-looking torso-twisting exercise. I suspect coaches make up half this stuff, just because they reckon it at least looks different and cutting edge in a sports-science way. As we all know, in tennis perception is reality, so if you believe your coach is some kind of genius, chances are you'll also be able to make that forehand go Splat!

One player who might know whereof I speak is Zuzana Kucova, a young Slovak who notched up a win over Alexandra Panova, 6-4 in the third. I happened to stop by Court 14 in my wanderings, and stood just behind Kucova's coach, who was seated in the corner of the aluminum bleachers closest to the north baseline, His protege was down a set, but fighting gamely; in fact, the two baseliners seemed to me so evenly matched that I could easily imagine a third-set tiebreaker ending 10,234/10,232 - or with a priest rushing on the court to adminster last rites to both girls before the match was decided. 

Kucova's coach kept up a running commentary through most of the points when his charge was nearby: Yeah, use her speed. . . Watch the ball. . .  Get her out of balance . . . I don't know if this kind of thing qualifies as coaching, or merely cheerleading; the line between the two is more blurred than either the bureaucrats or anti-coaching advocates are likely to admit.

Besides, what could possibly be more unnerving and/or distracting for a player than having a coach shouting or signaling instructions during the flow of play. Oh, I know it's been done; and often, small adjustments can make a huge difference (as when Pete Sampras's former coach, the late Tim Gullikson, simply told Pete to take a lefty's serve from four or five feet further over to the backhand side. That's why guys like Gullikson get the big money.). But coaching can often confuse as much as it clarifies, and if you're still skeptical, figure out how many pearls of wisdom you've plucked up off the hard court during one of those telecasts featuring that absurd WTA on-court coaching experiment?

At one point, Kucova won a point and walked toward her coach.

"Breathe, breathe," he called in a hoarse stage whisper.

The hefty little blonde immediately began to inhale and exhale, like a flight attendant demonstrating the use of the oxygen mask. Then she turned away from her coach and stopped breathing again. Well, almost.  She had enough air to bang her way to the second round of qualifying, anyway.

81490692 I also went to check out Jerzy Janowicz, a Polish youth who's said to be the "next Ivo Karlovic." For those of you who may not know, the current Ivo Karlovic is the 6-10 (2.08m) Croatian whose gigantic serve puts the fear of Godot in one and all. John Lloyd, the the former player, husband of Chris Evert, and British broadcaster, was ducking out of the bleachers just as I arrived. "What are you doing here," I asked.

"Davis Cup," replied Lloyd, who captains the UK squad. "We have Poland next. I wanted to see this kid."

"What do you think?"

"He's got amazing power, he really is like Karlovic. That serve is quite the weapon. But he's. . . raw. Very raw. He was down 5-6 in the first set and serving to stay in it and he missed his first serve six consecutive times. But when his first goes in, it's dangerous."

I watched Janowicz for a bit and liked what I saw, if not for entirely aesthetic or technical reasons. The kid is lean as a whippet, loose-limbed, and he's got a sharp, wolf-like face. When he hit a double-fault, he bellowed deeply, as befitting a goliath. You could hear his guttaral complaint five courts distant. His expression ranged from surly to annoyed, and I liked the way he sometimes just stepped  up to the line and let 'er go, as if to say, Here you go, let's see what you can do with this one!

Janowicz's opponent, a nice Italian player named Andrea Stoppini, fought the good fight but he went down, three-in-the-third. This Janowicz is going to be fun to watch in the years to come. The powderkegs always are.

My last stop for the day was to check out Xavier Malisse, who was in a knock-down, drag-out with the no. 2 seed, Argentina's Horacio Zeballos. Malisse lost the first set, 5-7, and it was tight in the second when it got there. I had trouble watching, though, because of the get-up Malisse was wearing. He still has that samurai topknot, but his shorts and shirt were black, with conspicous chartreuse trim snaked all over it. And the shirt was embroidered (or something) above his left breast with glittering silver sequins in a shape something like a claw. The trim seemed quite a distraction, coruscating and sparkling, but Zeballos made no complaint. He just kept hammering those backhands and forehands, broke Malisse's will, and won an easy third set, 6-1.

Sometimes, there's nothing even a samurai in sequins can do if you can make the ball go splat!

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Posted by Master Ace 08/26/2009 at 04:06 PM

United States Open Television Coverage

Week 1
Monday through Friday
ESPN2: 1-11 PM (6-7 PM USOpen scoreboard program)
Tennis Channel: 11 AM - 2 PM
Tennis Channel: 2-7 PM Coverage from Courts 11 and 13 ONLY

Saturday through Monday(Labor Day in USA)
CBS: 11 AM - 6 PM
Tennis Channel: 7-11 PM EXCEPT Monday
ESPN2: 7-11 PM ONLY on Monday
(Personal footnote: College Football dominates ESPN TV coverage on the weekend with some teams playing their opening game)

Week 2
Tuesday through Thursday
ESPN2: 11 AM - 11 PM(6-7 PM USOpen scoreboard program)
Tennis Channel: 11 AM - 7 PM NO coverage on Arthur Ashe Stadium
Mixed Doubles Final will be played

Semifinals and Finals Schedule
WTA Semifinals and ATP Doubles Final - Friday on CBS from 12:30-6PM
ATP Semifinals - Saturday on CBS from 12-6 PM
WTA Finals - Saturday on CBS from 8-10 PM
WTA Doubles Finals - Sunday on ESPN2 from 1-3 PM
ATP Finals - Sunday on CBS from 4-7 PM
(Footnote: Matt Zemek will remind TW that the first ball will actually be struck between 4:40 PM and 4:50 PM due to CBS obligations to the National Football League)

Posted by Pete 08/26/2009 at 04:09 PM

Thanks, MA, sorry I'm so late today! There will be a YC for discussion early tomorrow, everyone, promise!

Posted by Heidi 08/26/2009 at 04:10 PM

Nice report, Pete -- wish I could make it out there! Vaidisova, what a cautionary tale. Any thoughts on her future?

Posted by Grant 08/26/2009 at 04:11 PM

"Snoo Foo"


Posted by TennisThis 08/26/2009 at 04:11 PM

It's amazing when we see a qualifier actually make it to the main stage, example; Carston Ball at the UCLA Open, he made it all the way to the final against a tour player (Querry). It truly shows that there are hungry players out there that want it really bad. I don't blame them, tennis is the greatest sport on earth.
Great little article Pete! Keep em coming.

Posted by crazyone 08/26/2009 at 04:15 PM

*The woman plopped down and the kid leaned against the fence, nose over the edge, just behind the Chang's chair. "Tommy," the mother suddenly asked. "Where's Jack?"*

*Panicked, the mother jumped to her feet, grabbed Tommy, and went off to find Eddie.*

You meant Jack, right? ;)

Thanks for the report, Pete, it was a really fun read. I've seen Janowicz play...glad to know that people think he can get somewhere in the future. Is his ankle still injured? He gave Gicquel a surprisingly tough time when I saw them play in DC. HUGE serve.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 08/26/2009 at 04:17 PM

Pete great post

I love hearing the ball go Splat,pity these days with the commentators we fans miss that ball being hit sweetly on the racquet strings.I turn the mute button on.

Then we have the modern day Grunt? gee give a tennis fan a break.

Posted by codepoke 08/26/2009 at 04:21 PM

USTABJKNTC is really USTA.BJK.NTC, so couldn't we call it UBN?

Off to see if I can make a splat noise or two myself. Ya'll have fun.

Posted by Master Ace 08/26/2009 at 04:30 PM

If Sam Querrey wins his match now, he will have earned the chance to play for the million dollar prize at USO.

Posted by Rosangel 08/26/2009 at 04:31 PM

Hi everyone. Looks like you had a great day, Pete.

As well as the grunts, the juniors I watched on the last day at Wimbledon had me in fits of laughter with their flamboyant fist pumps - but it was the strategic injury timeouts that that were the funniest. I hope one of those boys turns out to be a megastar one day, because I got some hilarious pictures of their young antics:)

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 08/26/2009 at 04:39 PM

Rosangel One day you must post them lol!

Watching some of our young Aussie juniors at times with their overall expressions I just crack up.

Posted by Rosangel 08/26/2009 at 04:39 PM

Seems I killed the conversation stone dead:(

Posted by Birdie Lane 08/26/2009 at 04:40 PM

Pete, Any first hand comments how a 5'7" Chango aced 6'0" Vaidisova 18 times in the match?

Posted by Rosangel 08/26/2009 at 04:41 PM

aussiemarg: I'll wait until they're famous....

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 08/26/2009 at 04:43 PM

Rosangel Ok,I will hold you to that.

Posted by TennisRone 1000 08/26/2009 at 04:59 PM

ok....I'm just going to say it even though I'm a red-blooded American male. Schrichaphan is one handsome looking Asian guy. Perhaps the most handsome one I've ever seen. I think Bruce Lee is second on that list which i rarely ponder. That pic of him and his wife is absolutely stunning. I could see people lining up at the fertility ward to try and get a piece of either of those gene pools....

.....except when he starts touting his business ventures...then my opinion changes.

Who's this Wickemayer that took Kuzzy to the limit?

Posted by Master Ace 08/26/2009 at 05:02 PM

TennisRone 1000,
Wickmayer is a very good player who won Estoril this year and has some great results on grass foe the past 2 years. Jacko can give more information on her.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 08/26/2009 at 05:05 PM

More Rafa and ReRe in their outfits

ReRe's pink outfit is not good with sweat at all and she will be doing a lot of sweating in NYC at the USO. I think the black will be better. I like Rafa's kit.

Posted by Jenn 08/26/2009 at 05:06 PM

Hi Pete, hi everyone!
Pete, I didn't realize you would be providing these early "bonus" reports from the USOpen. Great stuff. My favorite reporting you did in all of 08 was your "unknown/little known" series from the US Open. Articles about the usual suspects are always interesting, but I also have the sense of how much more can be said about Fed, for example.

Can't wait for next week! I am home nursing my 12 day old son, so I will be logging a LOT of couch time. Me, the baby, the remote control, and my laptop set to! Can't wait.

Posted by Master Ace 08/26/2009 at 05:08 PM

"Can't wait for next week! I am home nursing my 12 day old son, so I will be logging a LOT of couch time. Me, the baby, the remote control, and my laptop set to! Can't wait."

Someone is ready for the USO. Only time I will be around is when I am at the day job reading TW commentary. When I am at home, I will be watching on my HDTV.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 08/26/2009 at 05:08 PM

Avid There are some great new anti deordants on the market today

Dont worry lol!

Posted by siggy 08/26/2009 at 05:08 PM

(I posted this on the other thread, which appears to be closed now)

CNBC interviewing Roger the fashionisto on the streets of NYC this morning... on stuff that is sure to induce giggles from some and groan from others.

Posted by feedforward 08/26/2009 at 05:08 PM

Pete, your way with words makes me laugh out loud. Several times.
Loved her breathing like a flight attendant. And the spurious need to grunt and wear the cap on backwards which makes no sense on a hot day.

Seriously, you are bang on that coaching can be counterproductive. I learned the hard way that whether coaching works depends on what your coaching or presence does to the attention of the player. I gradually discovered during the three years when I coached a small college team that some of my players played better when I came around to their court while others fell apart. Apparently the latter were distracted either by me or by memories of what we had been working on in practice. I made them too self conscious so I just stayed away.

Your description of how distracting it would be if someone were constantly jabbering in your ear while playing. Playing a real tennis match is hard enough without having the noise from another channel.

And yes, yell it from the top row--"Fedeerer don't grunt."

And neither does he look at his box. There is much to admire about his game and its trappings. And much to learn from him as well. I have always admired the way Federer simply plays those tough balls on mishits that look like they are going out only to hit the line. Unlike yours truly who gets ahead of himself, he seems to never blink--just play the ball as well as he can.

And he usually can.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 08/26/2009 at 05:09 PM

aussiemarg - unless she will be rubbing the deodorant all over her back and stomach too no?;-)

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 08/26/2009 at 05:10 PM

Jenn Lucky you.I hope Cameron is doing well.

I have a very affectionate six month old kitten,when I am posting sits on my knee and puts his paw out to type? at least Cameron is too young at the moment.Count your blessings.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 08/26/2009 at 05:12 PM

Avid Whatever works for Serena lol!

Posted by GVGirl (US Open tailgate 9/5) 08/26/2009 at 05:15 PM

avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena",

Thanks for plugging/linking my little site :) I really appreciate it. I spent the day with Nike & company and took very few photos. I'l post some more later as I have some real work to do. Some day I'l learn how to be a photog - I need lessons from Roseangel.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 08/26/2009 at 05:19 PM

GVGirl - really? that is your site? Well I was picture hunting and your sigh gave me nice ones :) Thanks for the good job! Please post more and tell us how your day with Nike and company went ;-)

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 08/26/2009 at 05:21 PM

"I am home nursing my 12 day old son, so I will be logging a LOT of couch time. Me, the baby, the remote control, and my laptop set to! Can't wait."

Jenn - I love everything you'll be doing except tending for the baby part ;-)

Posted by CherryNYC 08/26/2009 at 05:25 PM

Jenn, sounds like heaven!!!!

Posted by GVGirl (US Open tailgate 9/5) 08/26/2009 at 05:25 PM


Yep, Kourtin' Karen is my catty evil-twin.;) She'll report/post on the day later.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 08/26/2009 at 05:27 PM

GVGirl - LOL! Now that you talk of evil twin you just reminded me of Vee's evil twin. I need to lock her up so she does not show up for the USO ;-) I'll check out the reports later :)

Posted by TennisFan2 08/26/2009 at 05:28 PM

Jenn, Congratulations!! The USO beats day time tv hands down!! I spent a lot of time on the couch myself (enjoy this time - I didn't believe it when I was told this but it really does fly - 11 years later and it seems like we brought our first baby home yesterday....

Posted by L. Rubin 08/26/2009 at 05:28 PM




Posted by Alexis 08/26/2009 at 05:30 PM

siggy, the only thing that caught my eye about that interview is that Nike will finally be selling that RF jacket!! About damn time! Of course, probably only at the USO right now, I'll probably have to wait until next year before it comes out in the NikeTown stores or online. The black/red is nice, but I want that white/teal blue one he wore at Montreal and Cincy!

Posted by Master Ace 08/26/2009 at 05:32 PM

Avid Sports Fan,
Nuria and Maria Jose are steamrolling their opposition as they won 2 matches losing only 5 games. However, I have a strange feeling they will fall before the quarterfinals like they did at the French.

Posted by Jenn 08/26/2009 at 05:33 PM

haha, Avid. Fortunately newborns sleep a lot, and when then are awake they are often nursing which = lots of TV time for me (can't move around, so nothing else to do!). If the US Open wasn't coming up, I would be doomed to watch soap operas and reruns of "Real Housewives" all day. Daytime TV leaves a lot to be desired.

I'm looking forward to the Tennis piece on Vaidisova. Her career crash and burn is such a mystery. How did she go so quickly from GS semifinalist and legitimate contender to a girl who could barely win a match on tour and loses in qualifying? Sad story.

Posted by Kate 08/26/2009 at 05:33 PM

Great post, Pete, again!

It is so amazing to follow every step of every player. And the qualifiers are extremely important for the tennis era. Why? Because somewhere in the past, the best of the best were at the same place, up against same challenges, same difficulties, same nervous behaviour. And every star has been through this way.

Where is the greatness? The greatness is in the potential. You need only to watch carefully a youth and to decide If he has a chance to be number one. It's just visible from far away.
People who had the privilege to see Federer's ot Nadal's first steps, would never forget what they've watched.

It's just a magical moment. Just the same as when a boy becomes a man. The maturity of a talent is something unique.

Posted by Jenn 08/26/2009 at 05:35 PM

After re-watching highlights from Andre Agassi's accomplishment of winning the US Open as an unseeded player, I have this question for all of you: Which unseeded player on the men's and women's side do you think has the best (albeit probably remote) chance to win this year?

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 08/26/2009 at 05:36 PM

*quickly checks SB*

Master Ace - Those two have really been almost indomitable this year outside of GSs. The only team better point-wise than them is Bluber. I think this will make even the WTA YEC doubles exciting if they, Bluber, Williamsovas and Stubbs/Sam make it there. Meanwhile I have a question for you, why do the WTA still use the sum of all tournaments for their race points and not the best 16 tournaments?

Posted by Alexis 08/26/2009 at 05:36 PM

Are Vaidisova and Stepanek still a couple?

Posted by Master Ace 08/26/2009 at 05:37 PM

Sam Querrey has won the USO Series and he will have a chance to play for a million dollars. Andy Murray finished 2nd and Juan Martin Del Potro finished 3rd.

Posted by london 08/26/2009 at 05:38 PM

ugh. i soooo know what you mean with the sweat thing for serena. i do like the dress though, even though when i see a pink tennis outfit i think of the frech open. and omg the real venus better show up at this us open. venus or serena for the US Open 2009!!!! and both for the doubles!!!!

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/26/2009 at 05:39 PM

Pete, great post I really enjoyed this. I'm very excited about the USO and even more excited about the news concerning Justine. Go Justine, the real world's#1!

Posted by Master Ace 08/26/2009 at 05:40 PM

Avid Sports Fan,
Good question on the race points. Yes, the doubles field may be better than last year if the top 4 teams remain in their current slots.

Posted by london 08/26/2009 at 05:41 PM

omg i cant believe sam won the us open series. good for him, but now we wont see a million dollar prize bonus be given away. the same can be said on the womens side if pennetta win the usos.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 08/26/2009 at 05:41 PM

Jenn - Unseeded for women for me would be Kim (conditioning wouldn't be too much of an issue here because of the day rest in between matches) As for the men, Marat if his good twin from 2000 shows up ;-)

BTW Sam Querry has won his match and thus tied USO series lead with AndyM but with the TB rules but I think Sam Q has won it because he has more matches won.

Posted by london 08/26/2009 at 05:44 PM

master ace,
venus and serena are entered in the doubles for the us open right? i hope so because i really want to see them make the year ending championships in singles AND doubles. that would be williams epicness!!!!!!

Posted by Master Ace 08/26/2009 at 05:44 PM

Avid Sports Fan,
Correct on why Sam is the USO Series champion.

Posted by Andrew Broad 08/26/2009 at 05:44 PM

Not "Chango". Not "Chung". Not "Chang". But "CHAN".

Thanks anyway for your observations about Nicole Vaidišová.

Posted by Master Ace 08/26/2009 at 05:45 PM

Unless they pull out, the answer is the WS are in the doubles field as of now.

Posted by siggy 08/26/2009 at 05:45 PM

Alexis, what did you think of Rogi's hair blowing in the wind? ;) (if only I could "buy" hair like that... le sigh) I like his red/black outfit, too... but the teal blue one, didn't Rogi say himself it showed too much of his sweat (cannot believe how much more he perspires now!)?

Jenn, congratulations! TMI-alert, are you taking a maternity leave from your law firm? (always struck me as too ironic... the ways lawyers, of all people, get treated by the sweatshops they labor for... if anybody needed to form unions, it's the darned lawyers..., no? ;))

Posted by Rosangel 08/26/2009 at 05:46 PM

BTW, like Jenn (congrats on the new family member!) I am a fan of the reports on little-known players. I may have nothing to debate about them, but it certainly doesn't mean that their stories are unworthy of interest.

Posted by siggy 08/26/2009 at 05:49 PM

...ooopsie, Jenn, I didn't mean to be snarky or snoop-y with my previous post with my yak about lawyers and unions! Apoligies if it came out that way....

Posted by Or 08/26/2009 at 05:52 PM

I always enjoy the reports about those less known players, Pete.

I'm currently still in Israel, but I will land in NY around 4 PM NY watch tomorrow, I don't think I'll make it to qualifying, cause I got plans for the day after tomorrow, but I will be there all through the 31th and during the night sessions.

If any twibe member want to meet, contact me through

Posted by london 08/26/2009 at 05:52 PM

jenn, i think that kim is the best non-seeded pick on the womens side. idk about the men. marat? maybe gasquet?
and btw what ever happened to james blake normally i see him once during the us open series.

Posted by Alexis 08/26/2009 at 05:57 PM

yeah, siggy... Mary Carillo said that when she told Roger how much she liked the teal color, he said something about 'that color really showing the sweat'. And then she was the one who said none of the players like their opponents to see how much they sweat. Obviously some sweat more than others (Roger one of the least), but in heat and humidity... you are going to sweat, ha!

Posted by TennisFan3 08/26/2009 at 06:01 PM : Taking in NYC Nike challenge with Rog, Rafa, Serena and more : Nadal

Andy Murray on twitter -

whats up? hit on arthur ashe with ferrer. sooo noisy cos theyre getting it ready for kids day and testing the speakers

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/26/2009 at 06:02 PM

I didn't know there were seedings in the qualies. learn something everyday on this site.

Jenn: congratulations on your little boy. What is his name? and yup, I just took mine up to college and sobbed hysterically after I got him settled. The time just flies. Can't imagine anything nicer than being with baby and watching the open on tv. have fun and get rest (if you can).

Posted by Pete 08/26/2009 at 06:04 PM

Oh gosh, I'm sorry about all that Chan, Chang, chungo stuff - kind of thing that happens when you rush to get a post up. And here I'd told myself to watch out for calling her "chang" based on my familiarity with the Chang brothers. . .

Posted by Mr. X 08/26/2009 at 06:05 PM

Hi everyone.
Nice report, Pete. Vaidisova's fall might be the biggest in recent memory.
I hope the Polish young guy is not another Doctor. I mean, Ivo looks like a nice guy, but his game is tough to watch. For me, at least.
And Querrey has won the USO Series. Good for the guy, who could use the extra earnings. However, it's almost certain that he's not gonna get the million dollar bonus.

Posted by london 08/26/2009 at 06:07 PM

thanks master ace. the last time they played the us open in doubles was in 2001 when they pulled out after winning one match. and if they stay ion the draw, it will be the first time they have played all the grandslams in womens doubles in a calander year.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 08/26/2009 at 06:12 PM

Regarding some of these players who gain a w/card into a tournament a poster had already gave to credit to Aussie player Carsten Ball,who resides in the USA.Carsten also is a very good doubles player and has represented in DC level.To play 3 qualifying rounds just to make the main draw and to make a final,is a drream come true.Carsten then returned to playing the challenger circuit.

It outlines how hard it is today in the game of tennis.

Posted by london 08/26/2009 at 06:13 PM

correction: venus and serena won two matches at the 2001 us open doubles tournament and then lost to rubin and callens 7-5 in the third. sorry

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/26/2009 at 06:16 PM

Mr.X: i was thinking kind of the same thing. we don't need alot of Ivo's in the game. when he was playing roddick or isner or isner was playing roddick, i was thinking, i can't take too much of this. where's the tennis?

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/26/2009 at 06:19 PM

london: blake had a foot injury that kept in out of DC. maybe it's still an issue.

Posted by Mr. X 08/26/2009 at 06:20 PM

"Lot of rest, lot of relation, lot of party."
Now, that's the way to explain your time away from the courts, Rafa. Although the party part probably was just for the show. In his Spanish interviews, he didnt say anything about "party"
And what is "lot of relation"? Does he mean the girlfriend?
Anyway, the outfit is clearly an improvement from the last "thing" he wore at a GS. But those evil Nike guys have cursed Serena with the color of doom. Do they want their players to lose or what?:)
The headbands should be black, IMHO.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/26/2009 at 06:22 PM

Or: would love to meet you. I'll be working at the West Gate near the practice courts from 4pm-last ball every day. please come by!

Posted by seaweed 08/26/2009 at 06:24 PM

i'm late to the news, as always, but what is this? justin henin is coming out of retirement? awesome!

maybe she could be the anchor (or the sherpa, pick your favorite from any number of metaphors) of the wta, just like roger seems to be for the atp: she potentially could motivate everyone else to keep up with her.

er, on the other hand, i wonder how kim is reacting.

Posted by rafadoc 08/26/2009 at 06:25 PM

Mr X: Hee. I think he said "relaxation", not relation like that blog said. Another "tweet" quoted it as relaxation (although "relation sounds fun!)

And "lot of party" Atta boy. ;-)

Posted by rafadoc 08/26/2009 at 06:26 PM

grammar amnesty please ^^

Posted by Mr. X 08/26/2009 at 06:30 PM

I see, rafadoc. Yeah, "relaxation" makes more sense, well kinda. Relation was funnier, in my opinion.
And Justine is coming back too? Poor Kim. She always has to top her. Although i bet the Scandinavian side of TW is happy.

Posted by linex 08/26/2009 at 06:37 PM

Oh what a pity that Malisse lost I love to see him play. And in spite of that samurai topknot I even find him handsome.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/26/2009 at 06:38 PM

Kind of weird reading about names such as Vadisova and Malisse, both who had so much promise. Where do young tennis players go when their careers are no longer viable? Go Justine, the real world's#1!

Posted by seaweed 08/26/2009 at 06:42 PM

i just remember this phrase from wimbledon website (i think):

"the belgian show of fire and ice"

bring it on, once more! :D

Posted by Pspace (Lestat Time!) 08/26/2009 at 06:43 PM

Nice post, Pete. Sad about Vaidsova.

Regarding Henin's supposed unretirement, there hasn't been any comment from the Queen herself. So, I'd hold my horses.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 08/26/2009 at 06:44 PM

on the you never know who youre gonna see in New York City front, sitting here enjoying the summer air and doing a bi of work and who walks by but our favorite tennis analyst, Mary Carillo!

I was gonna inform her of Andrew's less than complimentary summary of her Cincy final coverage, but ah, figured id let it pass lol

its a jaunty spot in the Village, Cowgirl Hall of Fame, good happy hours on weekdays lol

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/26/2009 at 06:46 PM

aw, it was relaxation? that makes more sense but i was kinda glad the boy was feeling frisky. oh well.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 08/26/2009 at 06:47 PM

I have heard with Justine she has been training for her up coming Expo?

Maybe people are assuming.Lets wait and hear if there is any kind of statement coming from Justine.

Posted by TennisFan3 08/26/2009 at 06:48 PM

Pspace -LOL at the pic in your moniker. From when is it?

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/26/2009 at 06:49 PM

Pspace, the wife of Justine coach has said that "something is being prepared but at this time she can't talk about this." Justine considers Carlos, his wife and kids her family, so this is a source close to the Queen confirming something is about to happen. Also, it is being widely confirmed in the Belgium press that she's training. Go Justine, the real world's#1!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/26/2009 at 06:49 PM

just turned on the news to see that Sen.Ted Kennedy died last night. End of an era.

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/26/2009 at 06:51 PM

Sorry, but I don't think the "something" is Juju's announcement of twins. Go Justine, real world's#1!

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 08/26/2009 at 06:52 PM

so Henin is already bailing out on retirement? I guess those singing lessons and cooking classes were a tad dull, maybe, compared to... winning the French Open? ha...

good good I hope she does, she also im sure sees these women serving 30 double faults a match and says 'what the heck am i doing, its Slam title time!"

Posted by siggy 08/26/2009 at 06:52 PM

Alexis, so hiding sweat = part of the mind game, that's funny... somebody ought to tell Andy R. his opponents might fear him more if he were to hide his sweat a little better! ;)

Tim, so did Mary C. look thinner in person? (if she were any thinner, she'd be x-ray!)

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 08/26/2009 at 06:53 PM

justine in pregnant with twins>>??

holy cow! hehe

Posted by Diane 08/26/2009 at 06:55 PM

Samantha in all your Justine excitment have you forgotten about Caro?

Posted by Samantha Elin, awaiting the return of Justine. 08/26/2009 at 06:59 PM

No, no Diane, you can support more then one player. Go Caro.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 08/26/2009 at 06:59 PM

Tim LOL!!!

Posted by Diane 08/26/2009 at 07:01 PM

I know Samantha, just kidding you---love your passion!

Posted by Pspace (Lestat Time!) 08/26/2009 at 07:04 PM

TennisFan3, Not sure where the pic is from. NP had linked to it on TW. The shirt looks like something he wore in Fall 2008, but the court looks not sure which one it is. But, pretty awesome, eh? Muzz the Magican!

Posted by crazyone 08/26/2009 at 07:05 PM

Pspace, it's St. Petersburg. Look at the towel, and the Cyrillic writing.

Posted by Mr. X 08/26/2009 at 07:05 PM

Well, i thought yesterday after seeing Master Ace's list of favourites for the USO for the WTA, that something similar could be done for the ATP. I have come up with this list, which is by no means as elaborate as MA's (i'm too lazy for that), but just a pure personal opinion. So my Top 10 candidates for the USO would be:
1- Roger Federer: Who else? I dont think he has been such a distinct fave in a Slam since AO 08, before we knew about mono. And even then, there was a feeling about Nole.
2- Andy Murray: He's No.2 in the world, he's had the best summer HC season of the top guys, it's his favourite Slam, and bit's about time for him.
3- Juan Martin Del Potro: May look a little too high for some, but i belive he's gonna beat anybody in the Top 4 he faces in the QFs, if he arrives there fresh enough, which he shouldnt have problems doing. To win it all, it might be a little early, due to fitness reasons.
4- Andy Roddick: He comes of a great performance at Wimbledon, is the home crowd favourite, also loves the tournament, and has had a decent summer season, apart from that weird defeat against Querrey.
5- Novak Djokovic: The mental side is his big problem. In spite of his final appearance at Cincy, i'm not completely convinced. Playing a match with a lot of heat wouldnt be good for him either, and there's the question about what will happen with the crowd. He was loved in 2007, and hated in 2008, and the crowd reaction seems to have influence in him.
6- Rafael Nadal: he has shown good form since his return, but not good enough to take down the top guys. He could be very dangerous if he found his best form during the tournament, but that's very doubtful. The tournament might arrive too early for him.

Those are the guys that i think have some realistic options of winning. For the rest of the Top 10, guys who could do well, but i dont see winning:
7- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: He's too much of a question mark before every match. Goes from beating Fed one wek to losing to Guccione the next one. He could be dangerous for a top player on any given day, but lacks the consistency to win 7 matches in a row, in my opinion.
8- Fernando Verdasco: Apart from his weird 1st round loss at Cincy, he's had solid results on HCs this season, even though he has never repeated his AO form. Looked very well to me at Montreal, where he could (and probably should) have beaten Roddick. Mental side is still a problem with him.
9- Fernando Gonzalez: If he's healthy (which is questionable at this point) he has a big game that can adapt very well to the surface. Not for winner, but capable of an upset when his game is working.
10- Robin Soderling: Maybe he's just here because i fear him now. He has gained confidence after RG, and if he's healthy after having some problems during the HC season, his game sure adapts well to the surface.

Other contenders could be: Nikolay Davydenko, Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils and David Ferrer, but that's my list.

Posted by Pspace (Lestat Time!) 08/26/2009 at 07:07 PM

c1, tx, smartypants ;-). Yeah, I looked at the towel...but didn't know there was a tournament there. So, assumed it was just a sponsorshipt thingie.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 08/26/2009 at 07:09 PM

Pspace Methinks you have been too distracted of late with the WTA to notice the men

Posted by Diane 08/26/2009 at 07:11 PM

TC now has Serena -Capriati 2004. Serena looks thin in a biker chic outfit.

Posted by crazyone 08/26/2009 at 07:11 PM

Pspace, yeah, it's a fall indoor tourney.

Posted by rafadoc 08/26/2009 at 07:13 PM

Thanks Mr. X: All sounds reasonable to me. In reading your list, it is notable that there have been some "weird" losses lately. I wonder if there will be a "hot" player this year (who will no doubt be in Rafa's part of the draw).

Pspace: That picture of Muzz is all kinds of awesome. Whenever I am in a "mood", I am so looking at that picture. lol.

Posted by gauloises (Go Andy Murray, World #2!) 08/26/2009 at 07:15 PM

Mr. X:

Bless you for picking JMDP as your third favourite. I'm not so optimistic about his QF chances, given that he's never beaten Federer or Djokovic (and Murray and Nadal will be whole different animals in a Slam).

Still, I said I'd be delighted if he makes it to the semis. And I will.

Just please don't let him be in Murray's quarter, I may have to kill myself.

Posted by Pspace (Lestat Time!) 08/26/2009 at 07:15 PM

AM, after Roger's convincing win at Cincy, I'm kinda down about Lestat's chances at USO. Oh...if only he'd taken that second TB :-((. Now, he's surrendered important mental capital to Rog...the GOAT won't shrink from pulling the trigger, since he knows it's the right way to play. Can Muzz hit a tremendous run of form from QF-F to overcome this confidence? I dunno. Given past results, he's always faded at the latter stages, than get stronger through the tournament. It's possible he'll win, but unlikely on current evidence.

As for WTA, other than the fan-boy list, the only player that I really want to win is Sammy Stosur. That's also pretty unlikely.

Meh. Bring on the USO. Whatever.

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