In light of the passing of the iconic Sir Sean Connery, at 90, here is Inside Tennis’ 2012 US Open interview with him. BTW, don’t forget that Pam Shriver was once married to James Bond actor George Lazenby, and Marion Bartoli, en route to winning her 2013 Wimbledon title, was inspired by another Bondsman, Charles Bronson, who was sitting in the Royal Box.
Part of the fun of Grand Slams are the celebs. Beaming or boorish, they bring a sizzle. Donald Trump, with his swooshing hair, being booed in his suite. The latest Olympic champion being cheered. Keith Urban giving his wife Nicole Kidman a big kiss. Aretha Franklin talking about Althea Gibson and Andy Roddick. And 007, the singular James Bond actor, Sir Sean Connery, being on hand to support his countryman Andy Murray.
As thousands filed out of the stadium, we caught up with the Scottish nationalist with the dreamy baritone voice. After that, we wanted to talk to one of America’s foremost singer songwriters, Paul Simon. We did. Below our are two little interviews with two big stars.
IT: Sir Sean, what makes Andy Murray such a great Scot? What qualities of Scotland does he brings out as a performer?
SEAN CONNERY: The way it usually works is that when Andy wins he’s British, and when he doesn’t win, he’s Scottish. But fortunately [for Scotland], he’s losing less and less. It was really a very difficult day. Right?
IT: Absolutely. So much wind. What does Andy bring for Scotland?
SEAN: What he brings is great for us. With his whole background, you know, for him to reach what he has is a big inspiration. He has overcome so much, yes?
IT: What would it mean to Great Britain for him to win? It would be terrific, right?
SEAN: I don’t know about the Great Britain part. He’s Scottish. The United Kingdom is not particularly united as a kingdom, either.
IT: So, you’re saying it would mean a great deal for Scotland?
Moments later, Paul Simon walked out of the stadium and we approached him.
INSIDE TENNIS: If you could pay to see one tennis player, now or in the past, who would it be?
PAUL SIMON: Probably Federer.
IT: Because of his grace?
SIMON: Yes, the precision of his shooting is unbelievable.
IT: And he has a certain balance?
SIMON: Yes, and he’s very beautiful to watch. They are all at this level which is incredible to watch. I could easily have said Nadal, or…
IT: Obviously you’re American, but you have such a wonderful relationship with South Africa. The U.S. Open stadium was named after another American who had an important relationship with South Africa. Ashe did great work. What are your thoughts about the stadium being named after Arthur Ashe?
SIMON: I think it was a very appropriate choice. He was a great player, a humanitarian, and had a great, great heart. I am certainly happier that a stadium is named after him, and not named after a corporation.
IT: Today there were such tough conditions – it was so windy. So when you have tough conditions at one of your performances, what do you do? Do you just go to your core like two players were doing out there today?
SIMON: It was a tough day to play today, right? I’m sure they have been in this situation before and they have to deal with it. That’s what it is.
IT: Maybe they could have used a bridge over troubled water?
SIMON: You could say that.
AND NOW FOR SOME SOGGY DISPATCHES FROM THE U.S. OPEN FRONT
THE HEROISM OF HAVING SOMEONE’S BACK: According to Andrew Lawrence, “The Bryan Brothers are the last of a dying breed. They fight together, they win together and they make it all seem enchanting. They make you long for the days when there was no higher form of heroism than having someone’s back.”
Last year there were hurricanes. This year it was fierce gusts and tornado warnings. Forget the sounds of piercing grunts and shrieks. On this day, fluttering flags atop the stadium were making a racket. All the while, winds of change were impacting the game.
• America’s marquee player, Andy Roddick, and the WTA’s sweetheart, Kim Clijsters, have both hung up their sneakers.
• Rafa Nadal was sidelined with a knee problem and perhaps a headache from knowing his ranking will now be No. 4 and he may not return to the tour until next year. Five-time U.S. Open champ Roger Federer may have won Wimbledon and the Olympic Silver, but his stunning loss to Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals again stoked chatter. There were whispers and questions. Was this just a bump in his long road or a sign for the future?
• And now that Andy Murray has beaten Tomas Berdych 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6, we could have a Murray-Djokovic final.
THAT KIND OF DAY: Observers catalogued many a distraction: wind-blown debris, fallen player chairs and bags, loud mikes, Andy Murray’s hats, loud flags, roaring airplanes.
ALL QUIET ON THE SERENA FRONT – BUT STAY TUNED: A reporter said to Serena, “For once, nothing weird or distracting has happened here,” Serena responded, “Hey it’s not done yet.”
THIS IS NOT SHOW BUSINESS? Losing semifinalist Tomas Berdych suggested that his semis match against Murray should not even have been played due to the wind. Berdych, who will go home to the Czech Republic with $450,000, said, we are in the US, where they love show business. This is not show business.”
THE BEST ONE-SENTENCE MATCH ANALYSIS OF THE OPEN: While reflecting on his loss, Berdych said, “The wind blew it away from me.”
GO FIGURE: For the fifth straight year, the U.S. Open final will be on Monday. Sara Eranni, who was crushed by Serena in the semis, said Williams was so good that she could play on the men’s circuit.