US Open

Bryan Brothers To Retire At 2020 U.S. Open

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have announced their decision to retire from professional tennis in 2020. The 41-year-old American twins will bid farewell following the US Open, scene of their major championship debut in 1995, marking the culmination of a legendary doubles partnership.

As the most accomplished team in doubles history, the Bryan brothers have captured an Open Era record 118 trophies in 25-season careers, including all four Grand Slams, all nine ATP Masters 1000s, Nitto ATP Finals (four titles) and Olympic gold medal. They also own the all-time team record for Grand Slam titles (16) and ATP Masters 1000 crowns (39). From 2005 to 2017, the Bryans were presented the ATP Tour Fans’ Favourite Team award each year.

“Mike and I chose to finish our 2019 season after the US Open, even knowing there was a strong chance we’d qualify for the [Nitto] ATP Finals,” said Bob Bryan. “After much discussion, we decided that it would be best to rest our minds and strengthen our bodies in preparation for 2020 which will be our final season on the ATP Tour.”

“For the last 21 years, we have been so grateful for the opportunity to live out our dreams of playing professional tennis. It has truly been a magical ride. However, we want to end this great ride while we’re healthy and we can still compete for titles.”

Mike Bryan said: “We are currently extremely motivated and excited going into our last season. We will enjoy and appreciate each moment we have while saying our goodbyes and giving thanks to the fans who have given us so much joy.”

The Bryans have been the standard bearers for doubles for more than 16 years, since they first ascended to No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Rankings on 8 September 2003. They spent 438 total weeks and ended 10 seasons as the No. 1 team [2003, 2005-07, 2009-2014]. Mike, who became the oldest doubles No. 1 at age 40 on 16 July 2018, has spent the most weeks at the summit of the team game (506).

Bringing their own energy and charisma to the court, they have endeared themselves to the public throughout the world, appearing in 177 tour-level finals and lifting tour-level trophies in 34 different cities. They also helped the United States win the Davis Cup in 2007 and at the 2012 London Olympics won the gold medal, adding to their 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medal.

Bob underwent right hip surgery in August 2018, but the Bryan brothers reunited at the start of the 2019 season. This year they won two ATP Tour titles at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com (d. Skupski/Skupski) in February and their sixth Miami Open presented by Itau (d. Koolholf/Tsitsipas) in March. After a runner-up finish at the BB&T Atlanta Open, they also claimed their 1,100th team win at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal and currently own a 1,102-358 team record overall.

Additionally, the Bryan Brothers Foundation has raised over USD$1.2 million to support children’s charities. Bob and Mike host two annual fundraisers in their hometown of Camarillo, California and West Palm Beach, Florida, where they partner with golf legend Jack Nicklaus to raise funds to positively impact the lives of children around the country.

Rafael Nadal Beats Daniil Medvedev In Third-Longest U.S. Open Final

Rafael Nadal overcame a near comeback for the ages from first-time major finalist Daniil Medvedev to claim his fourth US Open title and 19th career major title on a night of high drama on Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

Taken to a fifth set after leading by a break in the third, Nadal held on for a 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory in four hours and 49 minutes, the third-longest men’s final ever at the U.S. Open, just five minutes shy of the longest U.S. Open final in history. Both the 2012 final where Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic and the 1988 final where Mats Wilander beat Ivan Lendl lasted longer, each at four hours, 54 minutes.

The Spaniard broke down in tears shortly before the trophy ceremony as the screens around Arthur Ashe Stadium paid tribute to his 19 major titles, just one shy of Roger Federer’s 20, the current men’s singles record haul.

“This victory is so important for me, especially as the match became more and more difficult,” Nadal said during the trophy presentation. “I was able to hold the nerves. They were so high. It was a crazy match and I’m just very emotional.

“It was an amazing final. Daniil is only 23 years old, and the way he was able to fight and change the rhythm of the match was amazing. He will have many more opportunities like this.”

Nadal led Medvedev by two sets and a break and was seemingly on course for a second straight-set victory over the Russian in a month, having cruised to the Rogers Cup title in Montreal in their first encounter for the loss of just three games.

But even at that stage the match was far closer than Nadal’s lead suggested, and when Medvedev broke straight back to level up at 3-3 in the third the crowd energised the 23-year-old, who ramped up the aggression and produced some of his best tennis to break once more and force a fourth set.

Nadal fended off a break point early in the fourth but after failing to find a way through himself, he was undone in the 12th game as Medvedev forced a decider, cheers from the stands flooding down for both men as the match approached its fifth hour.

The Russian’s serve and forehand had dragged him back into the contest, but the physical cost began to catch up with him in the fifth as he had work on his left thigh, already taped ahead of the match. Nadal was quick to take advantage, breaking twice to move 5-2 up with the chance to serve for the title.

Again, Medvedev refused to go quietly. Breaking to stay in the final, he survived two match points at 3-5 and even brought up a break-back point at 5-4. But Nadal was not to be denied, collapsing to the court after Medvedev’s final return sailed long to seal victory.

“Because of the crowd, I was fighting like hell,” Medvedev said. “In the third set, in my mind, I was already thinking what to say in the speech. I didn’t give up, but unfortunately it didn’t go my way.”

Nadal now joins John McEnroe with four US Open titles, trailing only Federer, Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras on five – and this, his first five-set final win in New York, will live long in the memory.

“The last three hours of the match were very, very intense,” Nadal said. “Very tough mentally and physically, too. The crowd has been as always amazing, all these facts that make the moment super special. It was an unforgettable moment.

At the same time Daniil created this moment, too. The way that he fought, the way that he played, he is a champion. Just well done for him. I really believe that he will have many more chances.

“The way that the match became very dramatic at the end, that makes this day unforgettable, part of my history of this sport. I’m just very happy. This trophy means everything to me today.”

Another Juan Martin del Potro Withdrawal

Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion from Argentina, was scheduled to have the first-ever English language biography on him entitled “The Gentle Giant” officially released at the 2019 U.S. Open. However, due to “injuries” in the translation of the book from Spanish to English, the book has “withdrawn” from the tournament and its original September 1, 2019 release date.

“Juan Martin del Potro: The Gentle Giant” was written by Sebastian Torok, a globally respected tennis writer from La Nacion newspaper in Argentina. The book tells the life story and rise to prominence of del Potro, also focusing on his inspiring comebacks from his many injuries, culminating in his winning the silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games, leading Argentina to its first Davis Cup title in 2016 and reaching the final again at the 2018 U.S. Open. The injury narrative for del Potro, however, continued once again in 2019 after he a knee injury forced him to miss Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

“Like Juan Martin del Potro himself, the book will not have a presence at the 2019 U.S. Open,” said Randy Walker of New Chapter Media, the publisher of the book. “We are proud to publish this inspiring and informative biography of Juan Martin, which all sports fans will enjoy. The reality is that with Juan Martin’s absence from the tour and the U.S. Open, and a slight hiccup in the development process, we felt it best to delay the launch of the book to a more appropriate time in the not-to-distant future.”

Fans can pre-order the book on Amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559920/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_IfvBDbTMABNJN

New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is a global leader in tennis publishing founded in 1987. It is also the publisher of “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others” by Rick Macci with Jim Martz, “Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion: The Full Extraordinary Story” by Mark Hodgkinson, “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit, “Sport of a Lifetime: Enduring Personal Stories From Tennis” by Judy Aydelott, “Trojan Tennis: A History of the Storied Men’s Tennis Program at the University of Southern California” by S. Mark Young, “Absolute Tennis: The Best And Next Way To Play The Game” by Marty Smith, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Your Playbook For Beating Depression: Essential Strategies For Managing and Living with Depression” by Cliff Richey and Mary Garrison, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “The Days of Roger Federer” by Randy Walker, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players of All-Time” by Sandra Harwitt, “Cattle to Courts A History of Tennis In Texas” by Ken McAllister, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker, “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Court Confidential: Inside The World Of Tennis” by Neil Harman, “A Backhanded Gift” by Marshall Jon Fisher, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “How To Permanently Erase Negative Self Talk So You Can Be Extraordinary” by Emily Filloramo, “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “Bone Appetit: Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Suzan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.

Althea Gibson Statue A Welcome New U.S. Open Sight

The USTA has unveiled a dramatic new sculpture honoring trailblazer and tennis great Althea Gibson. The sculpture, created by Eric Goulder, was unveiled outside Arthur Ashe Stadium on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open.

Gibson became the first African-American tennis player, male or female, to win the title at the U.S. National Championships (now the US Open) in 1957. She was a trailblazer of great talent and greater courage, who overcame many obstacles while compiling a career filled with firsts. In addition to breaking the color barrier in tennis (1950), she was the first African- American to win singles titles at the French Championships (1956), Wimbledon (1957) and the U.S. Nationals (1957). In 1958, she repeated both her Wimbledon and U.S. wins. With her success, she became the first African-American to be named Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year (1957 and 1958). Gibson won 11 Grand Slam titles in all, adding six doubles crowns to her five major singles crowns. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971 and was inducted into the US Open Court of Champions in 2007.

“Althea Gibson’s talent, strength and unrelenting desire to achieve made her a great champion,” said Patrick Galbraith, President and Chairman of the Board, USTA. “She made tennis a better place, by opening doors and opening minds, doing so with grace and dignity. She is receiving a recognition she richly deserves.”

“It’s simple. She’s the first African-American to break the color barrier in our sport,” said former USTA Chairman Katrina Adams. “By doing so, she made it possible for every person of color after her to have a chance to achieve their goals in the sport. This is a tribute that’s long overdue—period.”

Created by noted American sculptor Eric Goulder, the Althea Gibson sculpture is comprised of a bust of Althea rising from a granite block placed amid a group of five other granite blocks. The bust of Althea is 3.5 times life-size and each of the five granite blocks weighs 2.7 tons. Altogether, the sculpture weighs more than 18 tons. The Althea bust is patinated bronze, made in water-based clay, molded and cast using the lost wax method. Goulder spent roughly three months on the model and three months on the large clay. The molding and casting took an additional three months. The model was made in a 600-year-old villa in the hills surrounding Florence, Italy, that was once owned by Machiavelli and remained in his family for 150 years. The large clay and bronze cast was made in Pietrasanta, Italy, at the foundry, Massimo Del Chiaro. The granite used for the blocks comes from South Africa. It was cut and hand-flamed at Henraux S.p.A Marble and Granite Company in Querceta, Italy. The monument was shipped in six crates by boat and traveled 4,146 miles to reach its present location.

To enhance fan interaction with the piece, the sculpture also will activate an augmented reality experience. Developed by MRM/McCann, visitors will be able to activate exclusive content about Althea Gibson’s life and legacy by focusing the Augmented Reality (AR) Viewfinder found within the 2019 US Open app onto the sculpture. Narrated by Billie Jean King, the additional AR experience traces Althea’s humble roots, her early interest and involvement in tennis, her career and her legacy through video footage, photos and graphics. Fans can also view the AR experience anywhere by using the APP to place a full-size 3D “hologram” of the sculpture into their surroundings and re-live the experience again or for the very first time.

Polish Players Win First Tour Titles – Mondays with Bob Greene

Mondays with Bob Greene (Courtesy of WorldTennisMagazine.com)

STARS

Hubert Hurkacz beat Benoit Paire 6-3 3-6 6-3 to win the Winston-Salem Open in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

Magda Linette beat Camila Giorgi 5-7 7-5 6-4 to win the NYJTL Bronx Open in New York, New York, USA

SAYINGS

“I was really surprised how many Polish people are around here, so I’m really thankful for them, that they came and supported me. It’s great because we don’t have a tournament in Poland, we’re not really used to having a home crowd.” – Magda Linette, who won the NYJTL Bronx Open.

“She’s our Jackie Robinson of tennis. I saw what it meant to be the best.” – Billie Jean King, who at 13 watched Althea Gibson play. A statute of Gibson, who broke tennis’ color barrier, will be unveiled on opening day at the US Open.

“For me, I love tennis. Sometimes I feel like I don’t, but I wake up every morning and if I don’t play, I feel like I’ve done nothing during the day.” – Naomi Osaka, the defending US Open women’s champion.

SNARES FIRST TITLE

Hubert Hurkacz won his first ATP World Tour title when he stopped top-seeded Benoit Paire to capture the Winston-Salem Open. The 22-year-old Hurkacz is the first Polish man to win a tour-level tournament since Wojtek Fibak won in Chicago in 1982. The champion beat four straight seeded opponents in the final week before the US Open begins its two-week run. “It’s a huge win for me today,” Hurkacz said. “Benoit is an amazing player, so it is a really great win for me. … I had to fight a lot, but I am so excited that I lifted my first trophy here.” In all three sets the first two games began with consecutive breaks of serve. And the match was slightly delayed by rain before the decisive set. Hurkacz played his best tennis in the final set, breaking Paire at love with deep returns. He converted his first match point when Paire netted a forehand. “For me it was a good week,” Paire said. “Honestly, I could have lost I (my second match), so it was really good to be in the final.”

SUPER WEEK FOR POLAND

It was a great week for Polish tennis. Not only did Hubert Hurkacz win in Winston-Salem, Polish qualifier Magda Linette captured the NYJTL Bronx Open in New York City, rallying from behind to down Italy’s Camila Giorgi. “I’m 27, so it’s not super super young,” Linette said after winning her first career WTA tournament. “So, it means really a lot. It gives a lot of boost, you know, for the confidence, and also a reward. Finally, it’s a reward for us, for all the hard work.” The champion played eight matches, including three rounds of qualifying. And Giorgi, who won their only other matchup, took the opening set. But Linette wo the first three games before Giorgi broke back to level the score at 4-4. Linette then broke back in the 12th game to level the match at one set apiece. Giorgi got the early break and led 3-2. It was all Linette after that as the Pole won the final four games. “I think it was a lot with the confidence,” Linette said. “I’ve played in practices with many top players and I know I’m able to beat them. But when I went to the matches, something was missing. And that was confidence.”

SICK BAY

Two former Grand Slam tournament finalists will miss this year’s US Open because of injuries. Canada’s Milos Raonic, the 2016 Wimbledon runner-up, pulled out because of an injured glute muscle. He was replaced in the men’s singles draw by Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak, who lost in qualifying.

Kevin Anderson withdraw with an injured right knee. The 33-year-old South African was runner-up to Rafael Nadal in the 2017 US Open and to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last year. Anderson, who was seeded 16th, hasn’t played since losing in the third round of Wimbledon in July. He was replaced in the main draw by lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi of Italy.

An injured right foot forced Germany’s Mona Barthel out of the year’s final Grand Slam tournament. Her spot in the women’s singles draw was taken by 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, who lost in qualifying but now will compete in her 11th US Open. Barthel hasn’t played since losing her opening match at Lausanne, Switzerland, last month.

STATUE OF ALTHEA

Althea Gibson not only broke the racial barrier in tennis, she dominated the women’s field in 1956-58, winning 11 titles, including the French, Wimbledon and United States Championships, now the US Open. That was a decade before Arthur Ashe became the first black man to win the inaugural US Open in 1968. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) unveiled a statue of Gibson on the first day of this year’s tournament. Among those expected to attend the ceremony was Angela Buxton of Great Britain, Gibson’s doubles partner. “It’s about bloody time,” said the 85-year-old Buxton, who teamed with Gibson to win the French and Wimbledon doubles titles in 1956. When she retired from tennis two years later, Gibson had won 50 singles and doubles titles. But that was before the professional era began in 1968, so she broke the color line in women’s golf, joining the LPGA. No other African American woman won the US Open until Serena Williams in 1999 or Wimbledon until Venus Williams in 2000.

SET FOR SINGLES

Since he reached the semifinals at the Australian Open, Hyeon Chung of Korea has missed so much time because of a back injury that he had to qualify to gain a spot in this year’s US Open men’s singles. He missed more than five months due to a back injury and his ranking fell outside the top 150. Chung began his comeback by winning an ATP Challenger Tour event before traveling to New York. He beat Mikael Ymer of Sweden 6-1 6-3 to qualify for the main draw.

Other men’s singles qualifiers included 18-year-old American Jenson Brooksby, Italy’s Jannick Sinner; Elliot Benchetrit and Gregoire Barrere, France; Soonwoo Kwon, Korea; Ilya Ivashka and Ego Gerasimov, Belarus; Santiago Giraldo, Colombia; Evgeny Donskoy, Russia; Tobias Kamke and Dominik Koepfer, Germany; Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Spain; Sumit Nagal, India; Jiri Vesely, Czech Republic; and Marco Trungelliti, Argentina.

Joining two Americans, Caroline Dolehide and Taylor Townsend, in qualifying for the women’s singles draw were Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan; Magdalena Frech, Poland; Jana Cepelova, Slovakia; Peng Shuai and Wang Xinyu, China; Johanna Larsson, Sweden; Ana Bogdan, Romania; Mariam Bolkvadze, Georgia; Denisa Allertova and Tereza Martincova, Czech Republic; Harriet Dart, Great Britain; Timea Babos, Hungary; Richel Hogenkamp, Netherlands; and Anna Kalinskaya, Russia.

SENIOR FED

By playing in his 19th US Open, Roger Federer is closing in on another record. The Swiss star, then 19, made his US Open debut in 2000, losing to another promising youngsters, Juan Carlo Ferrero of Spain. Federer won five consecutive titles between 2004-08 and 85 matches. This year he’s seeded third, behind defending champion Novak Djokovic and French Open winner Rafael Nadal. Both also have won the US Open. Having just turned 38, Federer is now third behind two Americans on the most US Opens played. Jimmy Connors holds the mark, playing in 22 Opens, while Andre Agassi retired at the US Open in 2006 after playing in his 21st straight main draw appearance. Frenchman Fabrice Santoro played in 18 US Opens.

SET FOR DOUBLES

Youngsters Coco Gauff and Caty McNally will be seeking to add to their winning streak as a doubles team. The 15-year-old Gauff and 17-year-old McNally were granted a doubles wild card by the USTA. Each previously was given a wild card for the singles draw also. Last year, Gauff and McNally won the US Open junior girls doubles title. Then then paired up and won their first WTA trophy, capturing the doubles title at the Citi Open in Washington, DC, earlier this month.

SEEKING MATCHES

Great Britain’s Andy Murray is looking for work. Returning to the game after undergoing hip surgery earlier this year, Murray has decided to play a Challenger event in Mallorca, Spain, in order to get more singles matches. With his ranking of 329th in the world, Murray is ranked lower than any of the 41 players who earned direct entry into the Rafa Nadal Open. With most players competing in the US Open qualifying and main draw, the Mallorca tournament did not receive enough applications to run the usual qualification tournament. As a result, Murray’s first match will be against 17-year-old Imran Sibille, who is training at the Rafa Nadal Academy, which is hosting the event. Sibille does not have an ATP ranking and won total of USD $150 in his career.

SET ASIDE

Umpire Carlos Ramos will not be in the chair in any US Open matches involving either Serena or Venus Williams. Last year, Ramos officiated the women’s final when Naomi Osaka beat Serena 6-2 6-4. Ramos assessed Williams a penalty game, which gave Osaka a 5-3 lead in the second set. “This is our collective decision,” USTA president Stacey Allaster said in announcing Ramos would not umpire any Williams family matches. “We want to focus on the competition.” US Open tournament referee Soren Friemel said the tournament has made similar decisions in the past. “It’s not the first time that we made decision where it’s good for the tournament, good for the players, good for the umpires as well, to not be on those matches,” Friemel said, noting that Ramos “has worked all the other Grand Slams, he has done Davis Cup, Fed Cup, he’s going to the Davis Cup finals. He’s considered still for all high-profile matches.

SIGNED FOR TOKYO?

Japan could have a high-profile mixed doubles team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There’s a small possibility that Kei Nishikori, the UP Open runner-up in 2014, could team with defending US Open women’s champion Naomi Osaka for the fight for the gold next year. “I will play men’s doubles, for sure,” Nishikori said. “With that condition – very hot, very humid – playing singles and two doubles, I don’t know if I can. I haven’t (had to) think too much yet honestly. I don’t know. I will talk to Naomi later.”

SHARED PERFORMANCES

New York: Darija Jurak and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez beat Margarita Gasparyan and Monica Niculescu 7-5 2-6 10-7 (match tiebreak)

Winston-Salem: Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo beat Nicholas Monroe and Tennys Sandgren 6-7 (6) 6-1 10-3 (match tiebreak)

SURFING

New York: https://www.usopen.org/index.html
New Haven: http://ww1.oracelchallengerseries.com/
Genova https://www.challengergenova.com/

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

MEN and WOMEN

US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard (first week)

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

MEN

US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard (second week)
$162,480 Jinan Open, Jinan, China, hard
$162,480 Oracle Challenger, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, hard
$153,218 Aon Open Challenger, Genova, Italy, clay

WOMEN

US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard (second week)
$162,480 Oracle Challenger, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, hard

US Open Tennis Pros Get Eight Percent Raise For 2019 To $57 Million Total Prize Money

The USTA announced that total player compensation for the 2019 US Open will surpass $57 million for the first time, maintaining the US Open as the richest purse in tennis history. The USTA worked collaboratively with the ATP and WTA Tour to determine specific prize money levels on a round-by-round basis, including for the US Open Qualifying Tournament. The individual payouts for each round of the tournament are all Grand Slam records.

In addition to the prize money provided to the players by the US Open, the USTA will make a payment of $1,000,000 ($500,000 per tour) to support the ATP and WTA Tour player programs including pension.

The new record total represents an 8% increase over 2018 total compensation. Main draw prize money for the first round (round of 128) has increased by 47% over the last four years, and in that same time the second round (round of 64) has increased by 46%. By committing to these large increases for the opening rounds, the USTA’s goal is to provide a better financial balance that benefits all players.

Both the men’s and women’s singles champions will earn $3.85 million, and the men’s and women’s doubles champion teams will earn $740,000, both payouts the highest in US Open history. The US Open Qualifying Tournament, which this year will see a near 20% increase in total prize money, and a doubling of prize money over the past four years, will offer more than $3.5 million in prize money for the first time.

“The US Open prides itself on offering the best tennis players in the world, the richest total prize money in our sport,” said Patrick Galbraith, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “We strive to be innovative, and feel that our new contribution of $500,000 to the ATP’s player programs including its pension and the WTA Tour’s transition programs for players will go a long way toward the long-term financial well-being of all of our sport’s athletes.”

US Open Fan Week begins with the US Open Qualifying Tournament and a full slate of free events for the public on Monday, August 19. The Main Draw of the US Open begins on Monday, August 26 and runs through the Sunday, September 8 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

US Open’s New Coaching From Stands Experiment Goes Against The Sport’s Individual Nature

by Sharada Rajagopalan

When Wimbledon announced in 2018 after an extended match between John Isner and Kevin Anderson that it would be introducing a tie-break in the fifth set at 12-all, all eyes were set on the French Open.

The second major of the year made no similar overtures to appease to sentiments of wanting matches to end early and continued with the tradition of regulation scoring in the deciding set. Each five-setter that was played, including the thrilling quarterfinal between Stan Wawrinka and Stefanos Tsitsipas, vindicated this continuity without compunctions even among those wanting for changes in the scoring format.

However, in mid-2019, nearly a year later, if the US Open organisers had expected its decision to trial on-court coaching – from the stands – in the main draw matches this year would have nothing but teeming positivity, reality has been the opposite. The ones clamouring for modifications are also hesitant about accepting these, unmindful of the polished putting out of its rationale.

This wariness surrounding the potential implementation of on-court coaching maps out the wider impression of the move beyond what any finessed language can provide. That it is not a good move for a sport that is defined by its individuality and in which players are expected to come up with solutions to problems on their own, without any external support during the match.

Even these are just a couple of fundamentals upon which tennis rests. Regardless of these, players and coaches’ unsubtle mannerisms to contravene this principle makes for familiar viewing. For example, the infamy surrounding the 2018 women’s singles final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka in which Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou’s ostensible coaching gestures accounted for more reactive responses than Osaka’s first major win.

It is not hard to decipher the US Open’s organisers to extend this option to players is another reactive demonstration to that incident. Only this time, it has manifested itself in a manner of appeasement at least towards the coach, if not towards the player.

For this reason, the biggest voice protesting against the move should be from Williams, apart from others who have criticised it, including former world No. 4 Tim Henman. For all the vociferousness she displayed about not being a direct recipient of Mouratoglou’s coaching tips while arguing with Carlos Ramos who, as the umpire officiating that final, had penalised her, this is the time when her words would carry heft. It would mean she would not only be living up to her claims but also was inclined towards to retaining conventionality as is.

However, the onus on ensuring the retention of tradition does not rest on Williams alone. It is on every player regardless of the gender divisions. Rather, to be specific, the argument for and against on-court coaching falls on the generation gap – and the different mindsets – existing in tennis presently.

With the WTA using on-court coaching as an expedient tool for about the last decade or so, there is an interesting correlation to be made in this context. It applies not just to the women but for the men as well.

The women who have come through the ranks in the professional circuit in this lengthy time-span have become used to the phenomenon of having their coach assist them as needed in a match. For them to have their respective coach helping them out from the stands would only be an extension of the existing normalcy. The same parallel can be made with the ATP NextGen. Of the youngsters thinking of these changes as widening (of sorts) of the rules of the NextGen ATP Finals that has on-court coaching in place and welcoming it.

If these scenarios do come to pass, the scope of USTA’s path of placation widens substantially. To the point it becomes the pivot introducing a newer tradition as suited to the ever-in-flux contemporary needs.

Can Novak Djokovic Win Another Wimbledon – U.S. Open Double?

Novak Djokovic entered Wimbledon this year having not won a tournament in a year. Now he could be on the verge of sweeping the two biggest titles in tennis.

Djokovic cemented his return to the top of the tennis world with his unexpected victory at Wimbledon in July, edging Rafael Nadal in an epic five-set semifinal and a straight-set final-round win over Kevin Anderson.

Now, Djokovic is on the verge of becoming only the second man in the Open era to win the Wimbledon and U.S. Open summer double more than twice, joining Roger Federer, who has turned the trick four times in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Djokovic swept Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011 and also in 2015.

Following Wimbledon, Djokovic also won the title in Cincinnati – to complete his career sweep of all nine Masters Series titles – defeating Roger Federer in the final. Despite his No. 6 seeding in New York, his win at Wimbledon and in Cincinnati see him trending upward in the tennis betting odds at the U.S. Open. After starting the year with a 6-6 record, he is now healthy and confident and inspired to win more titles and catch up to his rivals Federer (20) and Nadal (17) in the all-time major singles titles rankings.

Djokovic ended a career-long 54-week title drought with his fourth Wimbledon title and 13th major title overall. With a ranking of No. 21 at Wimbledon, he became the lowest-ranked major champion since No. 44 Gaston Gaudio at 2004 Roland Garros. His win continued the men’s trend of major men’s titles being won by primarily Federer, Nadal and Djokovic over the last ten years.

Djokovic’s only struggles en route to the semifinals were with the high temperatures and humidity. With cooler weather coming to New York City for the event’s finale, Djokovic, who often struggles in oppressive heat, will be much more comfortable.

Will The Chase For The US Open Men’s Title Be Predictable Once Again?

Starting with Roger Federer’s win at Wimbledon in 2004, only seven different men’s players have won major titles. That’s a span of 14 years and 56 major tournaments. The players are Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic.

It’s pretty safe to say than one of those seven will win the 2018 US Open men’s singles title.

The least likely among this group are Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray. Both are coming off of serious injuries and surgeries (hip surgery for Andy Murray and knee surgery for Wawrinka) so the likelihood of them winning are slim.

Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, who has also reached the Wimbledon and Australian Open finals within the last 14 months, would be the next longest shot along with del Porto. Del Potro is playing his 22nd Grand Slam and Cilic is playing his 15th since winning US Open titles respectively. Either could set an Open Era record for most attempts before winning a second Grand Slam. Del Potro reached the semifinals last year – including a win over Federer in the quarterfinals – and his win in Indian Wells in March – prove that he is a force to be reckoned with on hard courts this year. To boot, he has belief that he can win on the grand stage of New York City after having won the title in 2009 beating Federer in a five-set final for his lone major singles title to date.

Next come the three overwhelming favorites, according to 888sport, – top seed and defending champion Nadal, Wimbledon champion Djokovic and five-time champ Federer.

Nadal is rightly the favorite, buoyed with his title in Toronto heading into New York and yet another amazing clay court season, capped by his incredible 11th French Open title. To boot, the courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center are playing slow, which perfectly plays into Nadal ‘s game. Nadal has lost three matches in 2018 — the same number he lost in 2013 entering the US Open. Nadal is 40-3 this season and was 53-3 at the start of the 2013 US Open, where he won his 13th Grand Slam title. The Spaniard has won six Grand Slam titles as the top seed, including the US Open in 2010 and 2017.

Despite being seeded No. 6, Djokovic is the No. 2 favorite for the title, based on his return to form after two years of injuries and mental fatigue. His title at Wimbledon announced his return to the top of the tennis world and he comes into the US Open hot after beating Roger Federer in the final of Cincinnati to become the first player to complete the modern-sweep of all “Masters Series” titles – to go with his career Grand Slam as well. Djokovic went 6-6 in his first six tournaments of 2018. He is 27-4 in six events since.

Federer is 37 years old and is not only battling these six other major contenders, but a brigade of youngsters, some of which really believe they can defeat the awe-inspiring 20-time major singles champion.

Federer is the all-time leader with 20 Grand Slam men’s singles titles and 310 weeks at No. 1 in the ATP Rankings. The Swiss could extend those records and set several new ones during the 2018 US Open. Federer seeks his sixth US Open title, which would break a three-way tie for most in the Open Era. Federer, 37, bids to become the oldest US Open champion in the Open Era (and oldest US Open finalist since 1974).

Among the outsiders from these seven contenders are three players who have never won a major title. Alexander Zverev reaches the most attention as the No. 4 seed, who has yet to excel on the Grand Slam tournament stage. However, with new super coach Ivan Lendl in his corner, keep a close eye on the German. John Isner, the top American player, is going through his best stretch of tennis, winning his first Masters Series title in Miami, and achieving his career results at the French Open (Round of 16) and Wimbledon (semifinals). Also to look out for Kevin Anderson, who took advantage of the open draw last year blown open by the late withdrawal of Andy Murray to reach the final, losing to Nadal, but also made his own hole in the draw at Wimbledon earlier this summer beating both Federer and Isner in extended fifth-set matches to reach the final, falling to Djokovic.

New Louis Armstrong Stadium – With A Roof – Dedicated

In terms of grand openings, this one was fit for kings — or more appropriately, Queens — that surely left a number of legends of tennis and music and thousands of fans of both wondering just what the late Louis Armstrong would have thought to himself.

The shimmering new Louis Armstrong Stadium was officially dedicated at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Wednesday with a bold, brassy commemoration befitting both the US Open and the legendary Satchmo.

With the brand new, 14,069-seat stadium serving as both the theater and the main attraction on US Open’s Queens Day, Queens’ own John McEnroe waxed poetic on his four US Open championships. Jazz legend Wynton Marsalis led an eight-piece marching band in a musical performance straight from Bourbon Street. James Blake and Michael Chang then triumphed over John and his brother Patrick in a Legends doubles match that served as a fitting encore.

Nearly 1,800 fans were on-hand to witness it all.