US OPEN BUZZ: Rafa's Tears, Billie Jean's Prayers, Gael's Shoelaces, Michelle's Wedding and the USTA's Hot Mama

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Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA

BETTER TO BE AN ACTIVIST WITHOUT BEING AN EXHIBITIONIST? Harvey Araton noted, “As the years passed, it became clear that Serena had her father’s capacity for being a news making lightning rod, while Venus was more like her mother, a stealth tennis parent…Venus reminds us that it is possible and in some ways preferable to be an activist without being an exhibitionist.”

A CLAIM THAT’S HARD TO BELIEVE: The charming broadcaster Michelle Yu, who was the emcee of the USTA’s Annual Awards Breakfast, thanked USTA President Katrina Adams for arranging for her to play tennis at the Monte Carlo Tennis Club and then claimed that playing tennis there was “the highlight of my honeymoon.”

ONE HOT MAMA: Former USTA President Bumpy Fraser had one of the greatest names in tennis. But aside from that there haven’t been too many notable nicknames for USTA chiefs – well, until this morning, when USTA awards chairman Nancy Alfano referred to the USTA president as Hot Mama Katrina Adams.

THE TEARS OF RAFA NADAL

• “A big mistake.” – Nadal on his netted forehand at 6-all in the fifth-set tiebreaker against Lucas Pouille

• “Losing in the fourth round after having a big chance to play a great event here, feeling myself ready for it, for sure I am not very satisfied, no?”

“Is a defeat. Is not the first one in my career; is not going to be for sure the last.”

ANOTHER VIOLATION OF CELL PHONE ETIQUETTE: Marcos Baghdatis received a code violation for scrolling through his phone during his match against Gael Monfils. Players are prohibited from checking their cell phones during matches, in order to prevent coaching.

HEADLINES:

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

IS NADAL–FEDERER ERA OFFICIALLY OVER?

NEVER WOZ ANY DOUBT

AU REVOIR TO RAFA

PUT A SOCK IN IT

LAST U.S. MALE FAILS TO DELIVER

THIS TIME, SOCK GETS WORN OUT

YET AGAIN, AMERICAN TENNIS HOPES RIDING ON SERENA, VENUS

GO FIGURE: Ivo Karlovic is into B.B. King…The US Open will reap close to $300 million in revenue from the US Open…It’s the first time since 1947 that three Frenchmen have reached the final eight of a Grand Slam.

QUOTEBOOK:

“It looks like a spaceship has landed there.” – a Greenwich, Connecticut fan, about Ashe Stadium’s new roof

“From Bjorn Borg to Kei Nishikori – 38 years [of history].” – Pam Shriver on the first and last pros to play on Louis Armstrong Stadium, which featured its last match today

“He’s a player who has all the shots.” – Rafa Nadal on Lucas Pouille

“My own box is enough for me, I don’t need the 23,000 [people].” – Karolina Pliskova after defeating Venus Williams before a packed Ashe Stadium

BILLIE JEAN’S PRAYER: Billie Jean King told the AP that having a woman elected as President “was always one of my young prayers as a girl, absolutely. It was so obvious we needed to have more women. If you can see it, you can be it. That’s what I believe in. This is going to change the paradigm a lot…she’s going to effect boys and girls in a huge way, just like Obama did.”

JUST WONDERING: Will Serena and Angelique Kerber battle in the finals to determine who will be No. 1…Just how bad are Novak Djokovic‘s arm and elbow issues? During his win over Kyle Edmund a trainer again worked intensely on him…Is Lucas Pouille the best tongue-wagger since Michael Jordan? His offering after winning match point against Nadal was first-class.

THE OLD SHOELACE PLOY: Adding another move to his repertoire, in the middle of a point against Marcos Baghdatis, Gael Monfils pretended to tie his shoelace. “To be honest I have no idea what happened,” he said afterward. “Sometimes, those points don’t mean anything to me. I just lose it.”

BIG FOUR STATS: This is the first time since 2003 that neither Federer nor Nadal have reached the quarterfinals of the US Open…It’s been nine Grand Slams since Nadal last won, which was more than two years ago at Roland Garros. His best results since were merely two quarterfinals.

KIND OF OBVIOUS, WOULDN’T YOU SAY: Upset artist Lucas Pouille said of his match with Nadal: “I knew if I wanted to win, it’s not going to be like three sets, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. It would be long.”

IT’S REALLY EXCITING Serena Williams was really thrilled with breaking Roger Federer‘s all-time record of 307 Slam wins. She said, “It’s really exciting,” adding that the number “really talks about the length of my career.”

A CHANGE IS GONNA COME? ITF President Dave Haggerty told USA Today that “it’s a time for a change” in the format of the Davis and Fed Cups. He added that “in the past the players’ felt like there was no response [to them], that the ITF didn’t care.” Reportedly Haggerty wants to hold a final four-like finish at a neutral site that would attract spectators from around the world and maximize revenue. Of course, an atmosphere of rabid fans backing the home team would probably be lost.

Haggerty was unhappy about the upcoming Laver Cup, a Ryder Cup-style international competition created by Roger Federer’s agency Team 8. The ITF chief noted that it’s an exhibition and should be played after the season, but since it’s scheduled for the end of September 2017, “it’s just one more piece of clutter in a calendar that’s already cluttered.”