Monday, September 11, 2023

Weekend Tennis Roundup

To say I'm thrilled with the outcome of this year's U.S. Open would be an enormous understatement. Read my thoughts plus a full photo report BELOW.


I love Coco Gauff and admire that she dug deep to defeat Aryna Sabalenka for her first major. But Damian got annoyed with me for being disappointed by the way the whole affair unfolded, which all fans know is a recurring theme in women's tennis. While it's true that you can only beat the person you're playing against -- so it should be obviously this isn't a dig against the lovable American -- I just wish to god Sabalenka hadn't completely IMPLODED after deftly winning the first set. Damian gives all the credit to Gauff's counterpunching -- a style he thinks I'm overly judgy about -- and indeed she did weather the storm. But I saw the match with my own two eyes and it was vintage -- in the worst sense -- Sabalenka, repeatedly missing sitters and making nearly 50 unforced errors, the equivalent of 12 games, the total needed to win a match. My point, of course, is that I'd have loved to have seen Coco get to win her first major in a classic match rather than against an Eastern European headcase, for which Arnya is solely to blame. But at the end of the day, the record book is what matters, not how you win it -- and certainly not my opinion.

I tried to watch the men's final live -- I skipped Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev's 2021 final because I had a bad feeling about which I was completely right -- but bailed out at 4-4 in the second set yesterday when Novak looked to be exhausted. (FYI: I also didn't watch the Wimbledon final against Carlos Alcaraz, instead only occasionally looking at the score via an app because I again had a bad feeling.) I just watched the yesterday's replay and it confirmed that I was right to skip it live -- he was down a set point and immediately behind in the tiebreak! -- but obviously everything turned out the way I wanted it to in the end.

I can't say enough about how adorable Medvedev is. I know he's a bit crazy, yet somehow I find him to be so endearing. I wanted Novak to catch Margaret Court's all-time record -- which has a HUGE asterisk on it -- in the worst way, but it was obvious that if Daniil had played anywhere as well as he had in his victory over Alcaraz the outcome easily could have been different. What a sweetheart he is.

P.S. I could have done without Novak’s post-match tribute to an accused rapist (and even if said basketball player hadn't been accused of a crime, I'm not a fan of cross-sport idolization) and Coco’s disregard of Matthew 6:5-6, but to each his/her own. At least no one brought their child onto the court!

Two-time defending champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury defeated Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden in the final, 2–6, 6–3, 6–4 to win the men's doubles tennis title at the 2023 U.S. Open. They became the first team to win three consecutive U.S. Open titles in the Open Era.

Might have helped if Ebden's TV didn't go out 

Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe defeated Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva in the final, 7–6(11–9), 6–3 to win the women's doubles tennis title

And Anna Danilina and Harri Heliövaara defeated Jessica Pegula and Austin Krajicek in the final, 6–3, 6–4 to win the mixed doubles tennis title

New York City boy

I do have to say this about Djokovic. I wrote a post about the moment I went from being a Roger megafan to liking the new kid on the block -- which I never published -- but Damian reminded me that my childhood friend Greg was also a Nole queen and asked if I knew the backstory on that. I texted Greg and his response is above. My feelings exactly. 

I also point to that heartfelt "60 Minutes" interview he gave in early 2012 after reaching the top of the game, where I really developed a soft spot for Djokovic. There are certainly objectively unlikeable things about him, but I truly believe that his being Serbian is a huge reason it's taken so long for him to receive the credit he's finally earned. (Note: I 'm not hung up on how many people "don't like" him, it's the accomplishments that matter.) Yes, Serbians have chips on their shoulders. But that's a two-way street:


 People do have reason to dislike Serbian history -- ethnic cleansing doesn't come out in the wash, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. But is it fair to hold it against a little boy who dreamed of winning Wimbledon, who used to hide in a relative's basement during the NATO bombings, crammed in there with as many people who could fit including two tiny younger brothers? Suffice to say, if a 12-year-old Ukrainian grows up to challenge the greats of the game, the reception will be very different. Make of that what you will.

That Aryna is still number one now -- reaching all for major semifinals and winning the Australian Open -- is a major accomplishment. I just wish she could contain herself, even just a little. 

Years ago Damian had posited how ironic it would be if Roger somehow wound up being THIRD in the all-time major list and here we are. A graphic on television last night that included men and women didn't even have room for him thanks to Court, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf. Truly amazing. 

How greedy a fan am I? While I should be able to finally relax, I really would like to see Court's specious record officially surpassed. And if Novak could get a minimum of four of each titles -- a la Steffi Graf -- that would be the icing on the gâteau! 

Holger at No. 4 is not a good look. 🙄

Coco rises to No. 3!

Jon Hamm

James Marsden

Another gay-friendly breadcrumb from Borna Coric 

Team Chile

Team Serbia

Team Great Britain

Team Italy

Brad Gilbert with two of his star pupils

Team Croatia 

David O'Hare celebrates with his star pupils 

Flex appeal: Marton Fucsovics 

Jan-Michael Gambill and Nick McCarvel 

Monica Seles and Tracy Austin 

Cristian Garin

Always up for a manspread 

Not the first time Tim Tebow has played with pickles or balls 

Adam Jones

Taylor Fritz 

Hot wedding guest: Denis Shapovalov

My friend Greg and I miss when Fritz and Milos Raonic had good hair! 

1 comment:

ATANNER said...

I too cannot wait for Novak to hit 25 slams and knock Margaret Court's heavily asterisked tally out of the conversation.

I also have always believed if Novak was European or American he would be much much more popular....