US Open: Soul Survivor – Save the Grandstand

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SOUL SURVIVOR – SAVE THE GRANDSTAND: The US Open’s Grandstand, the French Open’s Bull Ring court and, of course, Wimbledon’s Centre Court are the best viewing courts and the most soulful sites in tennis. To tear this tennis treasure down would be nothing less than an insult to passion, intimacy and history.

WHAT ASHE, CONNORS, SERENA AND VICTORIA AZARENKA HAVE IN COMMON: All consulted notes during changeovers. For Azarenka, the most important note was a word her hitting partner Sascha Bajin came up with – “pinish,” a combination of punish and finish.

JOHN ISNER – TOUGH DECISIONS: Just outside the top 10 at No. 13, John Isner told Inside Tennis that he would not be playing Davis Cup in Uzbekistan. He explained, “There is a lot that goes into it. For one, I will need the rest after this tournament. My knee is something that has been bothering me for a while. It’s feeling good now, but I’m taking care of it as best I can. Going over there not 100% fit – I don’t think (that) would be the right choice for me.”
IT then asked Isner if he’s proud of his role and record in Davis Cup, and if that figured in his decision. “Yeah, very important,” he said. “I’m extremely proud of it. I have answered the call every time I have been asked to play. This time is different. It was an extremely tough decision for me, but…I felt like I had to make it. What makes it incredibly tough is that…I kind of feel personally responsible that our team is in this position. I didn’t do my part in February. It was a very, very tough call for me, and one that I think captain (Jim) Courier respected and understood. I appreciated that.”

CURIOUS QUESTIONS: Federer was asked, “Are you five years younger or five years older than Nadal?”…Nadal was asked whether he or Tiger Woods would first win their 15th major.

US WOMEN AT THE TOP: Three American women – Serena, Venus, and Madison Keys – have made it the fourth round of a women’s singles draw in which many American players were clustered near the top. Serena next faces Keys, who posted strong stats in a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Aga Radwanska. Venus plays 19-year-old Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.

FIGHTING WORDS: While some WTA players have been supportive of Serena‘s quest for a calendar Grand Slam, Victoria Azarenka would have no part of it. She quipped, “I’m not here to make history.”

GENIE BOUCHARD – FLIRTING BEFORE THE FALL: The US Open has been an up and down experience for Eugenie Bouchard. After struggling at the Slams all year, the No. 25 seed is into the fourth round of the women’s singles. Her mixed doubles partnership with Nick Kyrgios generated plentiful Twitter activity, and coverage in the Daily Mail that compared the match to “a first date.” But today Sports Illustrated reported that Bouchard fell in the locker room last night, sustaining a head injury. She’s withdrawn from the women’s and mixed doubles and it’s not yet clear whether she’ll compete against Roberta Vinci on Sunday. Bouchard’s withdrawal from the mixed doubles ends Kyrgios’s US Open.

BEST MATCHES: Fognini over Nadal, which ended at 1:21 a.m., and Azarenka over Kerber, who saved five match points.

THE TRUMP FACTOR: After the Grandstand crowd, which was supporting Donald Young, began to chant, “Donald, Donald,” Pam Shriver said, “It’s starting to sound like a campaign rally these days.”

ISNER’S BIGGEST WIN: Isner said his biggest win was beating Federer in the Davis Cup in Switzerland in 2012.

OFF-COURT TEARS: Federer is tough as nails on the court, but a softie when it comes to Broadway musicals. He admitted to ESPN that he cried while watching Finding Neverland.

FEDERER PUTS THE HEAT ON THE HEAT: Reflecting on all the withdrawals due to lack of conditioning at the Open, Roger Federer said, “I’m surprised to hear that players are retiring because of heat…we’ve been here in North America for some time. It’s not like, all of a sudden, hot. It’s not like impossible, to be quite honest. Really no excuse…Everybody should be well-prepared…We don’t play many best-of-five-set matches…so of course the body can react funny once you exceed the two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half hours of play…Maybe some guys already came in too tired…Players should be so fit that heat really shouldn’t matter.”

MAKES SENSE: When asked why he fought so hard, Donald Young said, “I don’t want to go home…More matches, more money.”

THE YOUNG GUIDE TO RESURGENCE: After Donald Young’s 4-6, 0-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2, 6-4 win against Victor Troicki, he was asked about his love of self-help books. “It’s kind of a secret,” he said. “Can’t really give those away.” But he did name one favorite – a book by former NFL player and coach Tony Dungy.

QUOTEBOOK:

• “I’m not trying to live on the edge…I don’t think I came out too slow today, I just think Bethanie (Mattek-Sands) played really well…’You know what Serena, keep going, keep trying.'” – Serena, to Pam Shriver.

• “I fighted until the last point all the time, good attitude. Not enough to win today.” – Nadal, on his loss to Fognini.

• “It was 90% you guys and 10% me.” – Donald Young, on the fans during his third-round victory over Victor Troicki, the second time he’s fought back from two sets down to win.

• “It’s a tournament in which he’s come of age.” – ESPN, on Donald Young‘s US Open.

GO FIGURE: Years ago when Donald Young was late to a practice session at Pete Sampras‘s LA house, Pete called him “a Princess”…There is supposed to be no cheering in the press box, but the Italian press corps regularly hollers for Italian players…Both Rafa Nadal and Tiger Woods have won 14 majors and are suffering slumps of vastly different proportions. At the 2006, Tiger infamously sat in Federer’s box and rooted against American Andy Roddick. Last night, Woods sat in Nadal’s box. Rafa said Tiger was “a great example, great inspiration…I don’t have idols. But that’s closest thing that I have: him.”