grandstand

Don’t rain on my parade – A US Open report

By Cynthia Lum

Imagine Barbara Streisand belting out ” Don’t bring around a cloud to rain on my parade”, that’s how we’re feeling  out here at Flushing Meadow.

They’ve just made the announcement that all play will be canceled for today.  I need to go out and get some “rain” photos.  Trying to juggle an umbrella and focus my camera while the wind is blowing and rain is pelting my legs is a very good trick.  Most fans have already fled, but a few of the hard-core who have travelled out to Queens are making the best of the weather, huddling at the Heineken bar and watching people running for cover.

I also notice a couple of fans under an umbrella up in the stands..someone needs to tell them there will be no play.. or are they just sitting there because they’ve paid big dollars for seats on Ashe stadium and are going to use them rain or shine.
Wimbledon has always had the number one ranking for bad weather, but it looks like the US Open could be competing for the title. With Tuesdays matches all canceled and rain forecast for much of Wednesday, we could be looking at a Monday final for the fourth year in a row.

Fifty four matches including half of the men’s fourth round singles, two women’s quarterfinal singles, plus doubles and juniors were all canceled today.

The full schedule has just come out for tomorrow, 61 matches.  . If play goes a scheduled, anyone planning to be here as a fan or worker had better get to bed early and have a good breakfast.  It’ll be great  if they get then in but no one is optimistic.  If the weather does clear, anyone holding Wednesday tickets will have a day they won’t forget.  Four fourth round mens matches and two mens quarter finals, plus four womens quarters will make this a huge tennis day.   Starting at 11 AM Nadal and Muller will be on Ashe, Ferrer and Roddick on Armstrong, and Young vs. Murray on Grandstand.

This is going to be a nightmare..three huge matches on at the same time, plus the fact that Grandstand only has seating for 12 photographers and all the Americans and Brits are going to want to be on that match.  This means if you want to shoot this match you will have to go at the beginning to get a seat, and if you leave to go one of the other matches you will never get a place again for match point.  You may think you want me job..well it can be a lot more difficult than it looks,
And speaking of difficulty, this could definitely affect the outcome of the tournament.  The winner of  Nadal/ Muller, Roddick/ Ferrer, Murray/Young and Isner/ Simon, will have to play four best-of-five matches in 5 days to get to the final.  Djokovic and Federer are already through to the quarters so they will have the advantage, plus DJ is in incredible condition and would be hard to beat even if you were well rested.

So that’s the bad news.  The good news is, most of the press has left so there is no line at the USTA’s complementary happy hour, and I’m going to get out of here early and have a great dinner in NYC instead of grabbing something at the press dining room and eating at my desk.

Grand Slam Gallivanting: Day 1, Part 1

By Rishe

And then I went to watch the kind of tennis where they actually write down what you do on these big thingys that blast the numbers out in lights and on chalk and on iPhone applications and scoreboards across computers everywhere. The kind of tennis called Grandslam tennis.

Turns out being day one, we were in for chockablocks, which as a tennis fan, is amazing because it means people are loving my sport. But as a tennis fan, it sucks for me because I want to see my boys, dammit!

Bypassed the showcourts and arenas, just missing out on Sammy Q’s epic fail against Kubot. With the hopes of America failing left, right and center (or courts 3, 5 and 7, to be precise) I skipped the flailing Fish and went straight for Ryan Harrison. I fell in love with my giant-sized Justin Bieber at his epic Grandstand match against Stakhovsky in the US Open, but was completely disappointed to see that Mr America had also imported a serious atitooood to Aussieland.

To be precise, whingeing about the wind. Comparing the conditions to winter in Florida. In a decidedly whingey tone that seemed to question why he bothered coming out to Australia at all.

Because it’s a grand slam, dude.

Felt a tall shadow behind me and looked behind to see none other than my favourite wildcard and current top-rated Frenchie (in my all-important book, to be clear) Benoit Paire behind me. Figured I’d say hi but alas, the English was limited. The hotness? Not at all.

Meandering about next was when things really got interesting. Stopping by to see Xavier Malisse take on Pablo Andujar, I ducked around the corner to find a full-blown fight between some red-shirted Spaniards and security.

My humble understanding of the conversation I cheerfully eavesdropped included a situation where Xavier, unhappy with the Spanish noise-making, had motioned for these spectators to shut up. This was allegedly mid-point, although he had already won the point. Or something. Either way, the red-shirts were adamant that being that he talked to them, they had a right to talk back. And when he asked security to take them away, he should’ve first contacted the umpire. Props go to the lovely Aussie blokes who heard out the whole story and soothed them in that gorgeous Aussie way (beer cups in hand), along the lines of “Yep, but those are the rules… Yep.. I know it’s ridiculous… Happened to us too… but you gotta abide by the rules.”

I love my country.

With time to kill before the long awaited Serbian-army attack, I came to see Rebecca Marino, up-and-coming Canadian girl who was looking just lovely.

And lunge-y.

Couldn’t decide where to go next, but luckily my decision was made for me as I contemplated the scoreboard:

Rainbow-suspender clad Kangaroos, playing the trumpet to the tune of “Tequila!” in Garden Square. Too good.

Waiting for entry between change of ends behind the lovely Pammy who was looking quite the frazzled Mom, I headed in to catch the end of the five-setter between Mardy Fish and Victor Hanescu on Show Court 3. I love our Aussie audiences. The same guys cheering “Victor, Victor” were also the ones clapping enthusiastically when Mardy won a point. Two young girls clutching plastic cups of Jacob’s Creek were enthusiastically cheering for Fishy, and over on the other side, we heard “Fishy, Fishy, Fishy, Oi Oi Oi!”

I settled in near Pammy and the Fish family. Pascal got into a few narrow scrapes, being in a huge show court without Hawkeye, and Victor switched on fire the moment a match point arrived.To quote the kids nearby, “This guy should just always play as if he was on matchpoint.” My three-game stint turned into a half hour ordeal as deuce after deuce rolled by, the Aussie kids cheered the ballboys “You’re the best roller I’ve ever seen, woooo”, and Mardy was – well, looking really svelte, if I must say. Tee hee hee.

And then Pammy ran – nay, sprinted – for her post-match interview. It was funny. I laughed.

Then I heard a thump and a thud. It was Nikolai Davydenko, falling down down down the rankings. Alas.

Adios Carlos Moya – The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

Baby Steps

Well, the bad news is that the USTA isn’t putting a roof on any of their courts…yet. The good news is that they have approved a more than $300 million budget to begin making a string of much-needed upgrades to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The first change to be made is the immediate construction of a mini-stadium that will be adjacent to the hospitality area. It is expected to be ready to go no later than the 2012 US Open and may even be given the green light for the 2011 championships. The bigger change, however, which isn’t slated to begin for another six to eight years, will be tearing down the beloved Louis Armstrong and Grandstand stadiums to create two new stadiums. When all is said and done, approximately 3,000 – 5,000 seats will be added between the two new Armstrong and Grandstand courts. And while neither stadium will have a roof, they will at least be “roof ready.” Of course the USTA has still not yet listed a solution to the no-roof over Ashe issue, but this latest bit of news is encouraging that they are moving in the right direction.

Adiós Amigo

It wasn’t a shocker, but it did become official. On Wednesday, Carlos Moya, the first Spaniard to reach the number one ranking since the Open Era rankings began in 1973, announced that he is retiring from the game. The 1998 Roland Garros champion stated he was forced to arrive at this decision due to a niggling foot injury that doctors have been unable to agree on how best to heal. It’s unfortunate that the retirement did not go as Moya had planned, which was to have the opportunity to say his good-byes at some of the grandest venues in the game, but with a Slam, the number one ranking, and a Davis Cup title to his name, he should have no regrets.

Plethora of Proposals

With so many other thrilling storylines as the season nears its close, the possibility that the French Open might be forced to leave its current Parisian venue was put on the backburner. It’s come back as one of the top stories this week, however, with the news that the city of Paris has presented the FFT with a plan to build a new (albeit small) stadium across the street from the current site. This new court would replace the current Court 1, affectionately known as the “Bullring,” which is slated to be torn down. The proposal will be competing with three additional proposals from other Paris suburbs. In the end, fans and players will want what’s ultimately best for the second Grand Slam event of the year, but it would be hard to see it move from its current historic venue.

Notes from Paris

The season may be nearing its conclusion, but there’s still plenty of good tennis left to be played in the final week if the Paris Masters was any indication. With Rafael Nadal the only name in the top five who didn’t play, the field in Paris was plenty strong. The semifinals were thrilling to the end, and included home crowd favorite Gael Monfils saving five match points against Roger Federer to reach the final where he eventually lost to the big-hitting Swede, Robin Soderling. It will be interesting to see if the win spills over as Soderling competes in London this coming week. No doubt the players could use a longer off season (and we may just hear about that next week), but hats off to the players for still delivering a quality product after a long year.

Now That’s Determination

The next time someone complains about ticket prices, just think of Gayus Tambunan. The Indonesian tax official not only shelled out over $40,000 in order to walk out of prison to watch the WTA’s Bali event, but he donned a wig when he did it. It was one of the quirkier stories of the week, and definitely one of the more amusing anecdotes. Tambunan stated his reasoning behind going to see the Bali event was due to stress at being detained and the need for a vacation to deal with that stress. Still, it would be nice to think he brought a new meaning to the phrase “for love of the game.”

Schiavone Wins Worst Match of the Day: 2010 US Open Opening Day

Francesca Schiavone, the No. 6 seed and reigning French Open champion, defeated Ayumi Morita of Japan 6-1, 6-0 in 58 minutes in the WORST MATCH OF THE DAY of Day One at the 2010 US Open.

Schiavone won each set in 29 minutes in the opening match on the Grandstand court. If you waited on line for the bathroom or had trouble getting your Amex Radio, you probably missed this match (which would be good!)

Morita hit 17 unforced errors, which is nearly a set in itself and hit six winners. Schiavone hit an impressive 28 winners.

“It was a good match, because I was really fast when I hit the ball,” said Schiavone. “She couldn’t hit so easy the ball, but she is good…Maybe the score, you say, 6-1, 6-love, but nothing is easy. I played very good points. Sometimes we went to deuce.”

Schiavone may face American teenager Melanie Oudin in the third round.

Players Hit Practice Courts At Rogers Cup

The pros are getting ready for the Rogers Cup in Toronto with several of the big names having already had their first practice sessions at the Rexall Center.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both hit yesterday while Roger Federer appeared on Center Court today to hit with Canadian Peter Polansky.

While Nadal and Djokovic have decided to partner up for the doubles, there has been no word on whether Federer too will play in both draws this coming week. Federer last played doubles in Canada in 2008 with fellow Swiss player Stan Warinka. The two paired up again a month later to win the gold medal at the Olympics in Beijing. I wonder if the duo will unite again this year, or will Federer bring in Swiss pal and doubles specialist Yves Allegro? Maybe he will surprise us all and take his own big-time partner like an Andy Murray or Roddick?

In other news, Lletyon Hewitt has announced on his personal website that he is withdrawing from the Rogers Cup with a calf injury he sustained earlier this week in Washington. I wonder if Toronto has seen the last of the 29 year old Hewitt? He will be 31 the next time the city hosts the tournament.

Stay tuned to Tennis Grandstand for all Rogers Cup updates. We will be present at the world famous CN Tower at 4pm ET for the official draw ceremony with Rafael Nadal. You can also follow me on Twitter for timely updates as well.

Kendrick crashes out to Haas in US Open

Coming into the US Open, Fresno native Robert Kendrick hoped to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time, but his dreams were cut short on Thursday morning.

Facing an in-form Tommy Hass, the No. 20 seed in the event, Kendrick was unable to break Haas’s serve while facing break points in over half of his own service games, falling 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3) on the Grandstand court.

“He doesn’t give you very many chances out there, and I wasn’t able to use the ones that I had,” said Kendrick.

Kendrick had two break points in Haas’s first service game to go up 2-0, but Haas saved them both with aces. They were the only chances that Kendrick had in the set as Haas unleashed a flurry of forehand winners, eventually breaking Kendrick at 3-3 and riding that lead to a 6-4 opening set.

An ace by Kendrick on game point at 3-3 was ultimately called a fault after Hawkeye (the electronic challenge system used at the US Open) overruled the call. Two points later, A mistimed lob by Kendrick sent him down 4-3 as he smashed his racket to the ground.

Down two set points at 3-5, Kendrick hit two service winners to win that game and make Haas serve out the set. Kendrick had two points to level the set at 5-5, but a winner by Haas and a mistimed forehand by Kendrick erased them. An ace by Haas on his fourth set point gave him a commanding two set lead.

“That was probably the turning point,” said Kendrick. “If I had won one of those points, anything could have happened.”

Kendrick soon found himself scrambling to stay in the match, fighting off a break point in his opening service game with a 126 MPH ace, and again at 2-2 with a forehand winner. Two groundstroke errors found Kendrick down break point at 4-4, but he hit two service winners to eventually hold for a 5-4 lead. Down break point once more at 5-5, Kendrick hit a volley winner to erase the deficit and eventually hold serve.

The third set tiebreaker was a one-sided affair. A volley into the net sent Kendrick down an early mini-break, and Haas soon took a 3-0 lead. An overhead by Haas on his first match point sent him into the third round.

Kendrick said he will head to Asia next to play a three week series of ATP events in the fall.