I'll start with an Open Letter to Mardy Fish.
Dear Mardy, with friends like Justin Gimelstob you don't need enemies. Sincerely, Savannah
Collective jaws dropped when Justin Gimelstob, ATP board director, doing an on court interview about Mardy Fish having to withdraw from the Open due to health concerns, said that stress is part of the game and that Fish needs to suck it up.
Here's the quote in it's entirety.
“He’s struggling with the stress of trying to reach his potential. This tournament means so much to him. It all just compounded in his withdrawal today.
“Is the physical presupposing the mental or is the mental presupposing the physical? It is symbolic that he’s playing one of the biggest matches of his career against the greatest of all time, where expectations should be at an all-time low and he couldn’t even take the court. So he’s depressed, he’s disappointed, he’s sad, and he’s stressed.
“Pressure is a privilege, and Mardy Fish needs to embrace that.”
Way to go Justin.
Sharapova and The United States National Anthem
Seems Pam Shriver got her panties in a bunch because Russian national Maria Sharapova continued her warm up during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. Pammy thought that was disrespectful.
Her position makes no sense unless this grenade lob is related to unspoken anger at Miss Sharapova for not thanking the USTA enough for her success.
Keeping up with a meme that's being promulgated now The USTA is looking at Maria and saying "we built that". Of course they're right. But if they wanted her, as part of the deal, to become a United States citizen that should've been said up front and put in writing no? I remember being surprised that she hadn't given up her Russian citizenship when she pushed so hard to be on the Russian Fed Cup team but I thought what do I know?
People in the States developed her game, developed her public persona, and never, ever spoke about her not being a citizen until she called their bluff. The horse is gone people. There is nothing you can do about it now.
Azarenka and the Media
It's kind of a sports cliche now that any successful athlete be media savvy. Even guy toiling away on the defensive line knows when a mic is shoved in his face he has to smile and face the camera.
Apparently this is not the case with one Miss Victoria Azarenka. If you keep up with the sport you're aware that recently the press has boycotted her post match pressers. No one has shown up to interview her on more than one occasion. She gets lousy court assignments regardless of her ranking - right now she's top dog - and it seems that sometimes the comms look for reasons to disparage her.
People have to keep in mind that tennis players are highly competitive people. They play an individual sport and yes, many of them may see the press as a necessary evil. But they grin and bear it. Azarenka, like several before her, doesn't. Serena Williams had to learn. The above mentioned Maria Sharapova had to learn. Andy Murray has learned. I'm sure Azarenka will too, at some point.
The Big Hitters
The winner of last night's Andy Murray vs Milos Raonic match was determined during practice. Mention was made that Murray, finished his hit, stopped to watch Raonic who was still practicing. Murray then went out and destroyed the young Canadian.
John Isner is also out of the tournament. What happened to these two men? Their lack of a decent return game doomed them. Why is it that players with a big serve rarely develop a good all around game? Pete Sampras, the deity of the big hitters, did have an all around game early in his career. It was towards the end that his serve became all important. Isner is 27. Raonic is younger and hopefully he'll begin to work on a more complete approach to tennis.
Of Rain Delays and BJKNTC
I'm tired of talking about this. It rains in early September in New York City. It rains a lot. It makes absolutely no sense to spend millions on rearranging the deck chairs when the one thing that is needed - a roof - isn't being seriously considered.
On top of that Marion Bartoli was steamrolling Maria Sharapova when the late afternoon rains came. Before the women had even left the court there was talk that the match would be suspended until Wednesday to make sure that Andy Roddick's match went on to start the evening session.
There are a couple of things about that decision.
1. Suspending the day session left the USTA ahead. Since more than an hour of play had taken place they didn't have to refund tickets to fans.
2. The assumption that the rain would end and give the USTA enough time to bring out the groundskeepers in their spiffy white uniforms to squeegee and use the Zambonis to dry the court, something that takes about 45 minutes, and complete at least an hour of play for the night session was ludicrous. A look at the weather map told you that wasn't happening. Of course if the courts had been covered - one wag on Twitter volunteered to go to Lowe's and buy a tarp - it may have taken less time to dry the courts. As it was they dried Ashe before the other courts.
3. Only the women's match was suspended. Did that give one player time to have a long discussion with her father? Who knows. There was also talk that if play wasn't completed for this part of the men's draw they'd be at an unfair advantage.
As we all know night session play lasted 54 minutes and an attempt will be made to resume play tomorrow. Did I mention that rain is forecast for tomorrow as well?
It's really sad that in this day and age the USTA is incapable of making the decisions that will enable it to brag it's the best Slam instead of having to fend off comments that it's the worst.