BETWEEN DJOKOVIC AND THE FINAL, A FRENCH BORDER
NEVER JUAN TO QUIT, DEL POTRO’S RUN CONTINUES
LET’S CELEBRATE VENUS WILLIAMS WHILE SHE’S STILL PLAYING
THE THREE PHASES OF VENUS WILLIAMS’ CAREER: Harvey Araton wrote of Venus Williams‘ loss yesterday, “It was a meandering match that spanned two hours and 24 minutes and encapsulated the three primary stages of Venus’ two-decade career. The start was electric. In the middle came the malaise. The end was about perseverance, survival and coming up short.”
SERENA – ENJOY WHAT YOU DO: With her straight-set win in the fourth round, Serena Williams surpassed Roger Federer‘s record of 307 Grand Slam wins. After the match, Inside Tennis and others asked her about coaching partnerships, visualization and history – her own and the sport’s.
308, you’re now ahead of Roger. What does this milestone mean to you?
SERENA: I think it’s really exciting…Winning 308 matches is pretty awesome. For that to be in a Grand Slam is pretty cool…It’s a huge number…It’s very significant…It’s something that talks about the length of my career…That’s something that I’m proud of…It comes from a different place of just love and enjoying it. I definitely never thought I would be playing still. Now I don’t see when I’m going to stop because I’m enjoying these moments…getting to break records that I didn’t even know existed…When you enjoy what you do, it’s different.
Do you think the times off, and all of those hardships you endured, were helpful in extending your career?
SW: Everything kind of worked out the way it was supposed to, even though…I didn’t want to have those surgeries. I feel like it was able to help me stay out here longer.
Talk about the impact of your coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
SW: It’s been amazing. I absolutely love working with him as a coach. I don’t know what it is about our chemistry. We just tend to work great together. It just works. He’s been a great addition to my team. He always has my best interests [in mind]. That’s really important, as well.
Visualization. How important is that for you to be able to see yourself as the 2016 US Open winner?
SW: It’s really important. You have to see it and believe it before it happens.
Do you ever think about what other sports you may have been great at?
SW: I definitely did more artsy sports when I was growing up…Probably, if anything, I’d be in the fashion business.
The last singles match has been played at Louis Armstrong. Can you think of a story relating to Armstrong?
SW: I played Kim Clijsters there in ’99…[around] the third round. Boy, it was a tough one. I was down. Somehow managed to come back and win. No one knew who Kim was…She became such a wonderful player. I was just on the come-up myself. That propelled me to win my first Open. That’s something I’ll never forget.
ANGIE’S LIST (OF IMPROVEMENTS): Andy Murray may be the most improved star in the ATP, but Angelique Kerber arguably is the most improved player in the WTA. She is on the brink of becoming No. 1. She has more overall wins and more wins over top 10 players this year than any other WTA player. The Aussie Open champ and Wimbledon finalist no longer is just a fast defender. She can impose. Her serve is better, though it’s not a weapon. She is stronger mentally and gets over losses fast. “I’m trying to stay relaxed when it gets close,” Kerber said recently. Plus, Kerber’s legs are stronger and her movement is better. Today, she demolished defending champ Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-0 and now will face the winner of tonight’s match between Caroline Wozniacki and Anastasija Sevastova.
THE DRIFT: As a Bryan brothers return of serve drifted wide, the lore of Louis Armstrong will now drift into the recesses of our memory.
SWEET FAREWELL: LZ Granderson serenaded Louis Armstrong Stadium with a sweet farewell when he recalled that the venue was originally created for the 1964 World’s Fair, the theme of which was “Peace Through Understanding.” Granderson added, “With that in mind, we say goodbye.”
“I always say that the French is my home but this one is my second.” –Gael Monfils
“I don’t think she had any answers.” – Ana Konjuh on her foe Aga Radwanska, who she beat 6-4, 6-4 in the fourth round
“I love what I do.” – Venus Williams
“I haven’t seen more tears of joy and tears of pain than I saw at the Olympics.” – Bethanie Mattek-Sands
“If it’s raining we are all happy.” –Angelique Kerber about the roof of Arthur Ashe stadium
PRODIGAL NICK: By now, John McEnroe‘s criticisms of Nick Kyrgios are well-known. “Nick Kyrgios, if you don’t want to be a professional tennis player, do something else,” McEnroe has said while commentating. But veteran Aussie coach Roger Rasheed recently joined the crew of elders questioning Kyrgios, suggesting that playing doubles may be hurting the 21-year-old prodigy’s singles performances. Kyrgios, of course, had his own opinion, voiced through Twitter. “John McEnroe takes a stab [at me], I understand, Roger Rasheed haha maybe not so much. I got to ur [your] career high when I was 18…ease up champ,” he wrote.
MR. MURRAY MR. DJOKOVIC GET POLITICAL? Because Andy Murray was recently elected to his first term on the ATP Player Council – where Novak Djokovic is president – the New York Times saw fit to ask him if he likes politics and considers himself a natural politician. “I do like politics a lot,” said Murray. “I find politics very interesting. I wouldn’t say I’m a natural politician, because I’ve said a number of things that have probably harmed me in the past. (Laughs.) But I do enjoy it.”
In a similar vein, Serbian Nenad Zimonjic said Novak Djokovic could become the head of his country if he puts his mind to it.
This year, nine players have retired from the US Open. Last year, a record 17 quit…Caroline Wozniacki owns a pair of two-bedroom apartments off of Union Square West in New York City. They cost her almost $9 million…Andy Murray hit the fastest serve of his career, a 141 mph blast, on set point against Grigor Dimitrov…Tweeter Beth B. suggested, “As Gael Monfils gets older he begins to remind me a lot of a young Dick Gregory,” the comedian and civil rights activist.
GUESS WHAT? Foot faults have been called regularly at this year’s US Open. (Think Roberta Vinci, who was called for a foot fault on set point.)
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR: Ana Ivanovic announced that she is taking the rest of 2016 off to deal with a recurring wrist injury and to have toe surgery. Since getting married to footballer Bastian Schweinsteiger in July, Ivanovic has been 0-4, including a first-round loss at the US Open.
THE SAGA OF SERENA AND VENUS: The Wall Street Journal, Tom Perrotta succinctly summarized tennis’ foremost story line. “It’s the sports story that never gets old and never ends,” he wrote. “Venus and Serena Williams, sisters who have played professional tennis for more than half their lives, starred again on Labor Day at the US Open on Monday…The strangest part: They just might keep doing this for a while.”
SORE SHOULDER, WHAT SORE SHOULDER? Coming into the Open, Serena Williams was struggling with a sore shoulder that hampered her prime weapon – her serve. But at the Open, Serena hasn’t had her serve broken and has faced just one break point.
QUICK AND TO THE POINT: Christopher Clarey wrote that in the first week of the US Open, 69% of men’s points and 64% of women’s points were finished in four shots or less.