US Open: Vee is the Bee's Knees, Sharapova Comes up With a New Rule

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By Lucia Hoffman and Bill Simons

PESKY QUESTION: After a match in which Venus Williams had to deal with an angry bee and the tricky playing style of Kimiko Date-Krumm (who was also bugged by the stinging insect), Pam Shriver asked Venus, “What was more pesky out there, the bees or Kimiko?” (More bee pics below, after the jump.)

BEE HERE NOW, BEE THERE THEN: Maybe it’s simply because Venus Williams is just so sweet. Or maybe it’s something else. But the Open is not the first Slam where bees hovered about her during a match. It also happened years ago at Wimbledon. After her match, Venus asked the press corps whether bees actually stung. A wise-guy reporter replied, “Just once.”

OPEN IS OFF TO A FLYING START: Hours after the bee antics at the match between Venus Williams and Kimiko Date-Krumm, Kirsten Flipkens was irritated by flies or mosquitoes during a straight-set loss to Sara Errani.

THE SHARAPOVA RULEBOOK: After her first-round win, Maria Sharapova was asked what rule she’d change in tennis. “Well, I would charge players for medical time-outs, like a per-minute rates,” said Sharapova. “We would see then who really needs it or not. Maybe we could raise thousands of dollars with it.” Earlier this month in Cincinnati, Sharapova—no stranger to well-timed bathroom breaks, if not medical time-outs—sarcastically yelled “Check her blood pressure!” a few games after opponent Ana Ivanovic had called for the trainer.

TENNIS IS DOING SOMETHING RIGHT? A Fox Business reporter asked Greg Mason, the head of the Tennis Industry Association, “Golf is in the pits, what are you doing so right?”

BIBLICAL REFERENCE OF THE DAY: Jon Wertheim said, “[Kimiko] Date-Krumm is so old, if she mentions having played mixed doubles with Noah, she’s not talking about Yannick.” Mary Jo Fernandez said that against Date-Krumm, 34-year-old Venus Williams was “the baby out there.”

LOVE MEANS NOTHING IN TENNIS: Ben Rothenberg reminded us that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love will win “0.”

WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN? Courtney Nguyen tweeted, “It’s Kids Day today. Walked in as stadium announcer announced [Ernests] Gulbis would be practicing later this afternoon. THINK OF THE CHILDREN.”

UNSEEDED IN MENTAL TOUGHNESS: Daily Tennis joked, “Samantha Stosur is a past champion, but she is seeded a mere No. 24, and if they seeded based on mental toughness, she’d be…oh, No. 600 or so.”

CURIOUS QUESTION: “Do you ever feel old out there?,” to Venus Williams.

CARO’S ROAD BACK: Caroline Wozniacki struggled in her first-round match, dropping a set and winning by retirement. A NY Times piece today by John Koblin focuses on Wozniacki’s off-court struggles—specifically, her high-profile breakup with golfer Rory McIlroy. “I don’t want my name stuck with him forever,” Wozniacki says. “I’m my own person. I have my own career. The years we had together were great, and unfortunately, things had to end like they did.” Later, she adds, “It’s important in relationships to talk. If there’s a problem, you talk about it … Obviously, I didn’t have that chance.”

Wozniacki’s friend Serena Williams describes her as “honorable and kind” in the piece, but the money quote comes from comedian Stephen Colbert: “As sad as the breakup is, fortunately each of them has moved on to the sixth stage of grief: Winning an international sports tournament.”

WHAT HAS BROWN DONE FOR YOU? During a near-endless explanation of a painful but somewhat odd cramp in his left, non-dominant arm, Andy Murray said he wasn’t dehydrated, and that he even had to go to the toilet after his match and his urine wasn’t brown.

THE OLD COLLEGE TRY: Current NCAA champion Danielle Collins—soon to start her junior year at University of Virginia—got people talking when she took the opening set against second seed Simona Halep in the first match on Ashe Stadium today. But Halep went on to win 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-2.

GOOGLE HONORS GIBSON: Today’s Google doodle—the animated image that appears above Google’s search function—is devoted to pioneering African-American champion Althea Gibson on the 87th anniversary of her birth. Playing the net on a grass-green court, Gibson slices a forehand volley then hits an overhead winner.