PAM SLAM: Pam Shriver nailed it when reflecting on the impact Serena and Venus have had, saying, “I can’t imagine our sport ever doing again what the Williamses have done for the past 18 years.”
A QUESTION THAT LOOMS: LZ Granderson asked No. 2 seed Simona Halep a question that could well be put to numerous others in the WTA: “What do you have to do to go from being someone who plays Serena tough, to being someone who actually beats her?” Not surprisingly, Halep, like many others, didn’t have much of an answer.
AN OLDER YOUNG, A VINTAGE MAC: Now into the third round after a pair of come-from-behind wins, Donald Young is having a renaissance in New York. At 26, he’s “a little older,” has been through “ups and downs,” and “put in some work” to appreciate it.
On the subject of Davis Cup, Young is ready to play for the US in Uzbekistan later this month should he get the opportunity. “He (Davis Cup captain Jim Courier) made it pretty simple,” Young says. “He said we’re just going to go straight down the ranking list. At the time I was 5, and I’m still 5. John (Isner) unfortunately won’t be able to play, so it goes to the next guy. I’m the guy that’s got to step up and be there for the call…whether that’s playing or whatever it might be…I definitely feel like I should be there.”
IT asked Young about an early experience he had as a ball boy for John McEnroe. “Yeah, it was great – I’m just happy he didn’t scream at me,” he said. “My friend and I were ball-boying. He was more outgoing than me…I think a lot of players started off as ball boys or ball girls…It was awesome for me.”
A TRICKY MATCH-UP: Chris Evert, who for years was coached by her dad, recently said, “The father-coach role is tricky.” For sure, but what’s it like when your spouse is your coach? Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin is coached by his wife, Anastasia Kukushkina.
NOBODY BEATS ANDREAS SEPPI ELEVEN TIMES – NOT: Greg Garber noted that Italian Andreas Seppi was 0-10 against Federer before scoring a win over Roger at this year’s Australian Open, and going into his third-round match against Novak Djokovic, Seppi was again 0-10. When Seppi broke the Serb early in the first set, observers briefly wondered whether he would again score a shock upset. But he faltered and is now 0-11 versus Novak.
THE ‘DANIEL NESTOR’ OF WOMEN’S TENNIS: Pam Shriver said veteran Lisa Raymond was the Daniel Nestor of women’s tennis. Raymond is just behind on two counts. The American woman is 42 and has won 11 majors. The Canadian man is 43 and has won 12 majors. Yesterday, Raymond lost her women’s doubles match with Madison Keys, which supposedly was the last match of her career. She sobbed and tears flowed in the locker room. Players shared their love – what a career! The curtain dropped.
A WTA representative promptly informed Raymond that her career was not over, because Fabio Fognini and Sara Errani had just pulled out of the mixed doubles. Now Raymond could instantly ‘un-retire’ and play the mixed with Jamie Murray as her partner.
Once, after Raymond scored an incredible US Open comeback over Lubomira Kuhajcova, a reporter asked, “When you were down 0-6, 0-5, 0-30, did you say to yourself, ‘Great, I’ve got her just where I want her?’”
Our favorite deep-think commentary by Raymond focused on the culture of junior tennis. She contended, “Junior players in Russia or Serbia are willing to sacrifice everything in order to taste success, to get out and find a better life for themselves and their families. They don’t know any differently. American juniors lose a match or have a bad practice and they can jump into their BMWs and head home to finish playing Halo 3 on their brand-new Xbox 360.” Raymond is excited about now extending her role of coaching Keys, working with Lindsay Davenport and Jon Leach.
DRONE DUTY: The 26-year-old science teacher who lost control of his drone – which subsequently crashed into a nearly empty Louis Armstrong Stadium – turned himself in and was arrested for reckless endangerment. BTW: The incident brings to mind Flip Bundy‘s long-ago claim that US fans would get a better view of the action from Russia’s Soyuz Satellite than from the upper rows of Ashe stadium.
“Belinda Bencic is the best young player we’ve seen in a while.” – Mary Jo Fernandez.
NO WILLIAMS DOUBLE: Bencic beat Serena in Toronto but lost to Venus today.
INITIAL OBSERVATIONS: When it comes to initials, tennis gets off to a good start in the alphabet. In other words, tennis can boast two dandy “AAs” – Arthur Ashe and Andre Agassi. The sport has long had some splendid “BB” gunners, like Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker and Bob Bryan. Now there’s the upcoming teen Belinda Bencic. BTW: Federer has turned his mono-initial “F” into a nifty brand. Rafa often sports his initials on his shoes. And what other sport has ruling bodies and organizations with a greater array of initials: ITF, ATP, WTA, USTA, USPTA, PTR, ITA, AELTC, BJKNTC, FFT, ITWA, TIA. Tennis’s most musical is CSN – Carla Suarez Navarro – which replicates Crosby, Stills and Nash. Venus has the most automotive initials: VW.
GENERATIONS MEET: Going into their match, Venus Williams, 35, and Belinda Bencic, 18, were the youngest and oldest women players in the Open. BTW: Bencic’s coach, Martina Hingis, played Venus 21 times.
GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN: Is Bethanie Mattek-Sands tennis’s answer to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” songster Cyndi Lauper?
HEADLINE OF THE DAY: “Woz Is Me” – after No. 4 seed Caroline Wozniacki could not convert four match points and lost her marathon match against Czech Petra Cetovska.
LONGEST MATCH OF THE OPEN: Marin Cilic‘s 4:11 marathon win over Mikhail Kukushkin.
JUST WHO IS THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, AND JUST WHO IS THE WOMAN WHO BEAT SERENA WILLIAMS? Belinda Bencic said that after she scored a huge win in Toronto, “Sometimes [people say], ‘Oh, she’s the girl who beat Serena‘ [but] I don’t think they know my name.”
JUST WONDERING: Inch for inch, is the diminutive 5’3″ Dominika Cibulkova the best player? American Lauren Davis, who beat Heather Watson in the first round, is 5’2″. Madison Brengle is 5’4″.
SOCAL BOYS: Okay, the Bryan brothers are the doubles team to emerge out of Southern California in our era. But Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson, who have known each other since they were ten, beat the Bryans and are now into the third round of the Open. Before turning pro, Querrey strongly considered going to USC. Johnson was the most successful Trojan tennis player.
FABULOUS SMILE, FREQUENT TEARS: Last year’s semi-finalist Russian Ekaterina Makarova, who beat Elena Svitolina today to reach the fourth round.