Day 7 - Sep 5 - 6:03pm EST
Before we toboggan into the second week of the US Open, it’s hats off to those people, places and things that made Week 1 so hot.
Ladies and gentlemen, THE AWESOME LIST.
TWEENERS: Roger Federer and Francesca Schiavone both pulled off the coolest shot in tennis. The edge goes to Fed, whose tweener was not only an outright winner, but hello, two years in a row? That’s just showing off.
MARDY FISH: The jokes about how tired we all are hearing about Mardy Fish’s weight loss are almost as tired as, well, hearing about Mardy Fish’s weight loss (but still no more annoying than fish puns). But pound for pound (ugh), he’s playing the tennis of his life. And he has a real chance in his 4r match v. Novak Djokovic. Holy carp!
ANA IVANOVIC: You can groan about Ana’s result on Ashe today, or you can take into account that she lost to a woman with a 17-match win streak at the US Open and see this major as yet another huge step forward for the Serb. Perseverance pays.
A Future Champ
FASHION: I’ve made jokes people. It’s my job. But I so much prefer ambitious to bland, and this US Open we’ve seen some bold bold moves by Venus Williams, Nadia Petrova, Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, Venus Williams… Keep it comin’. (Not you, Elena.)
RYAN HARRISON: A junior phenom, we knew he was coming. But how great that the 18-year-old arrived at the US Open? And in such style, thrilling the home crowd by taking out No 15 seed Ivan Ljubicic. He squandered match points that would’ve taken him to the third round, but when he showed up at his press conference as even-keeled as can be, that’s where we saw the makings of a true future champ.
BEATRICE CAPRA: She may have gotten gutted like a fish by Maria Sharapova on Ashe yesterday, but she earned her right to be there by taking out both Karolina Sprem and 18-seed Aravane Rezai. Not bad for someone who isn’t even pro yet. And she’s another one who showed real down to earth poise in talking about her humbling exit afterwards. No doubt she’ll be back.
JANKO TIPSAREVIC: Bouncing Andy Roddick from his own house? In front of 20,000 of his friends? The nerve!
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: The tweener was one thing, but picking up her French Open game again on the hard courts, that’s the bigger accomplishment. Schiavo is back! And the rest of the field better watch their backs. She don’t mess around.
RICHARD GASQUET: Remember him? Now you do, taking out Nikolay Davydenko in straights en route to a winnable match v. Gael Monfils in the 4r. Pamela who?
AMELIE MAURESMO: On the scene doing commentary for Eurosport, retirement clearly agrees with her because the 2-time major champ is looking AMAZING. Even with the scrunchie.
GILLES SIMON: “If I win [against Rafa], it’s fabulous. And if I lose, it’s even more fabulous.” Is he a masochist? No, he’s a new daddy, and the minute Gilles is bounced from the tournament, he’s on a plane to meet the wee one. All together now: Awww…
No list of AWESOME would be complete without the Most Awesome, BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS. We sat down with Queen B to talk makeovers (look out Fed & Rafa), twitter (look out fans) and her website (look out world).
Bethanie, why are you so awesome?
Bethanie Mattek-Sands: (laughs) Well! I like to think I’m funny, and spontaneous. If my husband was here, he would probably interject and say I’m cool because he is. And he’s pretty cool. I think a lot of players are pretty serious and stiff. I’m probably one of the more outgoing ones on tour. Saying what I want, dressing how I want. For me, it’s normal. Why not be open?
Well, and you’re awesome because you answered that question. (She laughs.) You’re projected to become the No 3-ranked American after the US Open. How important is that to you?
First off, I think I’ll be in the 70s after this. If I’m 70-something, I wish I was the 15th ranked American. I think we need to get more people up there. And I think we will, there’s a lot of talented youngsters coming up. But, you know, 3rd ranked is awesome. I’m living in a big shadow with the Williams.
(Laughs.) They crack me up. I’ve gotten to know them a little bit more as I’ve played more tournaments, played a couple times against them in doubles—
The #3 Ranked American
I’m going to stop you right there. I have to know, do they appreciate you? Do you feel like they get you?
You know, I think they do. After I got married, Serena came up to me in the locker room and said, ‘Me and Venus logged on and looked at all your pictures. We think your black wedding dress was amazing.’ Even when I wore the high socks against Venus back at Wimbledon, she loved it too. And, you know, maybe it takes one to know one but I love all the funky stuff [Venus wears], like her glitter dress, it looks like a figure skater outfit. I think it’s awesome.
Twitter. You’re at about 1000 followers. Last time we spoke, you told me you’re crazy competitive. Do you ever look at other players’ follower counts and go, ‘I wonder if I can get more than that person…’?
The only people I know that have a crazy amount are Venus and Serena. Like a million and a half or something?
I think a billion and two.
Holy crap, half the world, we’ll just say that. And Sania Mirza’s up there. I haven’t followed anyone else. I don’t know who I’m following right now. I’ve just been posting.
I notice you don’t interact with people. Are you afraid of them, social disorder, what is it?
(Sheepish) I don’t know how to do it.
Am I about to give you a twitter tutorial?
(Laughs.) It’s bad. There was a banter between Venus and Serena earlier in the year and I remember thinking, How do you talk to everybody?
Oh no. Click around a little bit. Fiddle with some buttons.
I’ll figure it out.
I mean, go with God, whatever you want to do, but people would love to interact with you. What would you need to get your numbers up to Venus and Serena levels?
I’d probably have to run across the court naked while Venus and Serena are playing against each other. I’d get all their followers and a couple extra ones.
Maybe get all in one photograph.
And people would still be like, where are the tube socks?? Why aren’t you wearing a cowboy hat?
I know! [Streaking] is a little drastic, but a billion. That’s a lot.
Gotta go for it. Tell me about your site (www.bmattek.com). You’ve got the flaming racquets, you’ve got the alligators. What is the motivation behind so much fabulocity?
I have a great guy who’s kind of in charge of everything, and he asked me ‘What do you want to do?’, and I was like, I’ll do whatever. You want to put a lion here, I’m cool with that, let’s go. Just have some trainers there and I’m good. No, actually I kinda wish the animals were real. They were Photoshopped in.
I know. But I’m planning on doing another photo shoot and adding some more pictures because I’ve had the same ones up for awhile – and they’re very cool, I like ‘em - but it’s time.
Do you have any sneak preview of the kind of epic Top Model shoots you’re going for?
You know, I have no idea. I just have to outdo myself.
Uh-oh, Bethanie Mattek-Sands v. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who’s gonna win that one?
You’ve clearly got style. Let’s put it to use. If you were to give a makeover to Roger Federer, what would you do to him?
See, Fed pulls off the classic clean crisp look unbelievable. He always looks like he came out with a brand new shirt out of the bag – and it probably is, I’m sure Nike gives him stuff every day – but, crisp. That’s his personality and it fits. I think he should just rock something outrageous one time. Wear some of Nadal’s stuff.
That might send fans into a tizzy.
I know. But I think he would rock the fashion world if he just did something funky. Get some hot pink, give me some neon throwback shoes…
Anna Wintour would not approve. What about Rafael Nadal, what would you do with him?
Rafa needs to go back to his clam diggers. He wore those well. He was the only person wearing them, and everyone gave him crap about it, but he won a lot of tournaments in them and he looked good doing it, so I think he should go back.
I’m scared to ask this: how would you make me over?
(Laughs, looks me over.) A little more flare, I think. A little color. You have nice skin tone, you could rock bright colors.
Yeah, I’m big in colors. You’d be good in bright pink.
I’m sure that would go over well in the press room. They’d be impressed.
I could see you then.
“I have a question!”
“The guy in the pink shirt!”
I’m off to shop for a new wardrobe. But just to test Bethanie’s ability to find her reply button, we’re taking the rest of this Q&A to twitter. Follow Bethanie at twitter.com/BMATTEK. And cheer her on as she goes for the US Open Women’s Doubles title with Meghann Shaughnessy and Mixed Dubs with Daniel Nestor.
Follow James at twitter.com/JamesLaRosa.
Day 6 - Sep 4 - 11:13pm EST
No sooner do I pledge allegiance to the Serbian flag than half the squad gets sucked up into the tornado that is Day 6.
Let’s be clear: it is windy. That’s not my fault, right? It’s God’s fault, which explains why Jelena Jankovic is railing against Him on Ashe. Like, full on, hands to the sky, Why hath thou forsaken me! railing. God’s busy watching Jersey Shores, leaving JJ wide open to be struck down by a flying cow (Twister reference? Anyone?).
That very instant on the Grandstand, Janko Tipsarevic is being led off court mid-game for treatment. Treatment for what I can’t tell as I’ve lost sight in both eyes. This can’t be happening. Why hath thou forsaken me! Janko returns and plays on like a pro, but he’s ultimately knocked out by Gael force winds (Tired Gael/Gale play on words? Anyone?).
Why James, why?
Surely things will go better for US Open darling Beatrice Capra. She downed Aravane Rezai to set up a third round clash v. idol Maria Sharapova. One of the Commandments says something about worshipping false idols (I read that in an In Touch Weekly), and Beatrice pays the price by being double smited. Maria meets her at the net, offering some kind words. I think I can make out “Sorry about your throat.”
Afterwards Maria’s asked if she felt like maybe showing the wee one a little mercy. Crickets.
Also struck down, Kei Nishikori (groin injury) and Shuai Peng, who in giving Andrea Petkovic a walkover thanks to a bum elbow robs us of a potential Petkovic victory dance.
God is so gonna hear it from me when I get Home.
Back on the Grandstand, Patty Schnyder is having her own religious experience. The wily vet who just keeps on truckin’, her glory days not-so-arguably behind her, has the capacity crowd by the throat with her crafty crafty shots against ’09 semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer. The harder Patty fights, the louder the roars. Go get ‘em grandma! (That’s what I’m screaming anyway. With my inside voice, I don’t want grandma to cut me). Rapture. Until the third set tiebreak when, moments after having match point, Patty double faults to lose it all. The Lord, like Patty Schnyder, works in mysterious ways.
But no more mysterious than Caroline Wozniacki, who, after demolishing yet another opponent (she’s lost a whopping 3 games to get to fourth round), shows up to her press conference rocking Swiss Miss pigtails. Is she going to win the US Open or serve me cocoa? Knowing Caroline, probably both.
By the end of the day, I’m spent, wind-whipped. I don’t believe in anything anymore. Except the fact that I’m a MONSTER jinx. JJ, Janko, Beatrice, Patty, good hair. Everything I’ve rooted for today has had a house dropped on it.
Who’s next on Ashe? Novak Djokovic.
All I can do is close my eyes and rock until it’s over. Fortunately, James Blake does the same thing. I’m not a jinx!
You know, if you don’t count the whole JJ/Janko thing.
And you don’t, right? No grudges, no hard feelings..?
…okay, I’ll just be over here with Dunlop. I’m sure he’s forgiven me.
Tomorrow: Ana Ivanovic v Kim Clijsters.
Day 5 - Sep 3 - 10:54pm EST
I’ve resisted it. Fought it. Sausaged myself in an American flag and squeezed my eyes so tight, red white and blue squirted out. But I can’t deny it anymore.
Today I am Serbian.
I did not see it coming. Serbia was shoved down my throat two or three years ago and, while I enjoyed the characters in this new bit of theater – they do impressions! they read Dostoevsky! they wear lip gloss! - there was really nothing cohesive about them as a group I could sink my teeth into. They’d be the first to agree: ask the Fab Four (Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic & Janko Tipsarevic) how the Serbian Invasion came to be and the response was generally the same: pure accident. They didn’t grow up together, they didn’t train together, they just happened to arrive from the same zip code at the same time. Needless to say, that wasn’t enough to get me to rush out and change tennis passports.
All that’s changed in 2010. And it’s been cemented at - of all places – the US Open. This week, we’ve seen just what traits they truly share, and they’ve brought out my inner ajde.
First, Novak Djokovic was dealt a nasty hand in his 1st match. It wasn’t the guy across the net (fellow Serb Viktor Troicki), it was a brutal sun. Sure, everyone had to play in the same intense heat, but this is Nole’s worst enemy, and while he could’ve rolled over, retired, milked some injury timeouts, let it beat him (as it has in the past), instead he fought and fought and fought for five punishing sets. He turned a corner, by sheer force of will. And we turned it with him.
Jelena Jankovic’s first rounder was less inspiring. It was just the latest joyless chapter in a joyless summer, kick-started by an ankle twist and then left to drag on like Eat Pray Love (none of which, let it be said, was set in Serbia). It’s what we saw in her next match, another tough 3-setter, that showed what true fight can summon: a smile. At a time when she has so little to actually smile about. She’s fighting her form, her belief, herself, everything. But she’s fighting.
We’ve seen Janko Tipsarevic’s fight before. He had the nerve to take Roger Federer to an extended fifth set in Australia in ’08. But he wasn’t satisfied just putting on a good show this week v. Andy Roddick. Even while Roddick was throwing a hissy, the very moment when Janko could’ve loosened his grip (and no one would’ve blamed him), he clamped down and instead took what was his. Nerves of steel. Even more devil may care, he had the cojones in his presser to not only assess Andy’s game honestly, but assess his own as well. He’s not happy winning the big match. He needs to win the matches after that to really prove he belongs in the conversation. Kind of a buzzkill thing to say after perhaps the biggest win of his career. But that’s his Everest, and he’s not going to kid himself until he climbs it.
Ana - James' compatriot.
And today, Day 5, Ana Ivanovic continued what is to me, with all due respect to Justine Henin, the comeback story of the year. If only because of the depths of sludge and misery the Serb’s had to crawl out of. Ana could’ve been content to roll around in a pink bathing suit in her millions of dinara in endorsements (dinara is Serbian for dollars suckas, learn my language or get out of my country!), but she just pushed on, fell on her face, pushed on, fell on her face. Her reward, a fourth round clash v. Kim Clijsters, a well-deserved Ashe-er for sure. Keeping it real, Kim’s on a 17-match US Open win streak, so the ride could easily end here. But her year will not. As she’s proven - and shoved in the face of her detractors – she simply won’t let it.
The Serbs have always had personality – wacky fist pumps, sick tats, LIP GLOSS! – and, truth be told, they’ve always been fighters. But what they’ve shown lately is a brand new level of grit and determination. Not just fighting to win a match, but fighting through personal demons, pushing through, and showing real honesty and bravery in the process.
With these Serbs, you don’t just see it, you feel it.
But let’s not drown in nobility here. Even without the fight, all I needed to hear was Novak responding to Brad Gilbert’s on-court question last night about if he had Fed’s tweener between his legs with “I have something else between my legs, but don’t worry, I will not show it to you tonight” to commit, hook line and sinker.
So stamp my passport. Pass me the flag.
I’m Serbian and I’m proud.
Dunlop’s gonna love this…
Day 4 - Sep 2 - 6:43pm EST
I’ve had time to marinate in Andy Roddick’s shenanigans lastnight, and I’ve decided that there are far more important things to write about. But nothing’s actually annoying me this much, so I’m physically incapable of letting this one go.
Let me get all the obligatory stuff out of the way so it doesn’t seem like I’m all-out attacking the US No 1 (isn’t that what one is supposed to do before they go at someone full throttle?): Andy Roddick is an amazing champion, a humanitarian, a fantastic interview and is regarded by most as a generally nice guy. On top of that, I love his twitter.
There. Am I safe?
Mount Roddick about to erupt.
Now the rest.
I’m over it. Done. Finished. I’m tired of being held hostage by the tirades. I’m tired of getting that feeling in my stomach like, uh-oh, here it comes. I’m tired of watching officials get bullied in front of thousands of people in the stands and millions of people watching at home. And don’t be mistaken, it’s bullying. Andy Roddick is the one with the power. Were he Joe Blow Journeyman Tennis Player, he’d be suffered for a bit and then threatened with all kinds of point penalties. Roddick wasn’t. Wasn’t warned. Wasn’t fined. He’s a superstar, and superstars get a very long leash.
The leash was long last night. Interminably long. It went on for games. For changeovers.
To what end?
To pump himself up. Sure, injustice, but a quick lodge of a complaint and you move on. But he kept it going because it was fueling him. Or he hoped it would fuel him. You know what else it was doing? Humiliating the lineswoman (who was ultimately walked off, no doubt feeling super great about herself). Making the crowd shift in their seats. Undermining the momentum his opponent spent the entire match earning (by actually playing tennis!). Making me want to run out there and defend people who by the very nature of their jobs cannot defend themselves.
I interviewed umpire Alison Lang a while back and asked her, what do you do when a player is coming at you like that? Her reply, nothing. An umpire’s job is to keep the peace and not take things personally. The focus is keeping things moving. That’s fine. Maybe these people know it’s in their job description to be abused. And maybe opponents know it’s part of their job to overcome it, wait it out. But as a tennis fan and a viewer, it’s not my job to put up with it. My job is to call BS on it.
I’d still be fed up if it was a one time thing, but this is one in a litany of freak-outs. Search “Andy Roddick” and “angry” on youtube and you’ll be rewarded with a cornucopia of eruptions. And they’re not angry eruptions.They’re belittling. Demeaning. Mocking. A millionaire multipletimes over mocking a guy or woman just trying to do their job. Sure, he’s just trying to do his job too, but getting past bad calls is part of his job description too.
When people ask me if I like Roddick, I always say yes, but I have to slap as asterisk on him, for this very reason. I hate the asterisk. People make mistakes. And athletes in the moment, I feel, are allowed some leash. But to use that as your go to, as a tactic, and at others’ expense, on such a regular basis…no.
Tirades like last night cheapen what is otherwise an outstanding product.
Make the asterisk go away, Andy.
Day 3 - Sep 1 - 11:18pm EST
Hello peoples! It is Dunlop here. James is in ice bath with Alisa Kleybanova and Bud Collins so I fill in with hard-hitting tennis analysis. I have box of Milk Duds, six pack of Zima and fresh Brazilian wax so I am ready to go!
The big story so far is the sun! It is so hot it melts the eyes out of all the players. How else do you explain the clothes they choose for themselves? Nadia Petrova looks like she sit in huge wad of Fruit Stripe gum, Caroline Wozniacki wears dress in Dunlop’s size (he imagines) and Roger Federer wears zzz… Sorry, Dunlop fell asleep it is so boring. Big Goat is friends with mushroom-haired Vogue woman, how come she does not give him help? Accessories, $500,000 watch, something?
On Day 3, the sun continues to burn, but it cannot stop my Ana! She takes little Chinese girl to woodshed and makes her cry cry cry like frustrated tennis ball trying to fit into high heel shoe that is two sizes too small and it would have gone so good with that Wozniacki dress!!
…where was Dunlop?
Ah yes, Ana gets revenge for Wimbledon! Is dish best served ice ice cold. (Like Zima! Mm, so good.)
Dunlop looks for next good match to watch. Unfortunately all there is is Yankee Doodles everywhere! Sam Querrey? Why Dunlop does not just watch red white and blue paint dry? Instead I go see Ivan Ljubicic beat up on little American boy with Justin Bieber haircut. Justin Bieber wins first set by accident. Of course Ivan wins next set, and now Dunlop cracks open fresh box of Milk Duds to watch him make Bieber Fever bawl like man rushing to store to buy Stella McCartney purse only to find it is sold out but oh it would have gone so good with those heels!!!
Um. No more Zimas for Dunlop.
What is this, pipsqueak American wins third set? And he does not stop! This is elder abuse! Or bald people abuse! Somebody stop this boy! But is too late. Justin Bieber wins. Dunlop will now go cut break lines on his tricycle.
Dunlop’s thirst for blood, how do you say, unquenched, I camp out to watch French enemies Marion Bartoli and Virginie Razzano attack each other with kitchen knives. Instead they play tennis match. WHY IS NOTHING GOING DUNLOP’S WAY?
I refuse to write anything more about this day. Which gives me plenty of time to talk about Big Sexy Player poll! Have you heard? You are supposed to tell us who at this year’s US Open you want to eat like triple fudge cake covered in whip cream, nuts and a big juicy cherry. In case you do not know what players are
out there, Dunlop will give you couple ideas:
Rafael Nadal: He has many muscles, and he runs in slow motion in music videos.
Roger Federer: He has hairy stomach and lots of money. Maybe you are gold digger with hair fetish?
Fernando Verdasco: He is sweaty. He is very very sweaty. And he takes his clothes off. A lot. And he is sweaty.
Novak Djokovic. He has Milk Dud-colored eyes and thick porcupine hair you can run your fingers through for days and days and days. And he is so flexible! Imagine all of the stretches you can do together!
For woman there is Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova, Maria Kirilenko, Daniela Hantuchova and Flavia Pennetta. Google them, Dunlop is sure you will find something.
I must go! I’m off to visit Victoria Azarenka. She had a very bad day, and she needs a little Dunlop love.
Day 2 - Aug 31 - 7:18pm EST
Yesterday was hot. Day 2 is…something else. I’m totally out of body. Is any of this happening?
I’m in Ashe. Jelena Jankovic walks onto the court already appearing beaten. And I don’t just mean because her outfit makes her look like a walking bruise (but a pretty bruise, the kind you brag about). She’s so joyless from the first point I want to runover and stick a party hat on her head, play a slide whistle when she pops a serve, anything to pep her step. Instead I’m forced to sit in a pool of my and my neighbors’ sweat as she labors hideously, painfully, sloooowwwwwly to the US Open off ramp. Her opponent, an inspired Simona Halep, serves for the win of her life. But our Cockroach Award wasn’t originally named for Jelena for nothing and she manages to wriggle from the cold grip of death. Disaster avoided. For now. I’m holding on to that slide whistle though.
Meanwhile, how is it Ana Ivanovic looks to be the bigger threat to win this thing?
On Armstrong, Marcos Baghdatis is being run ragged by…Arnaud Clement? Huh,that’s what the scoreboard says. I really hope it’s Arnaud Clement notching this big win, because the last time I saw him he was in L.A. icing his shoulder and looking de-jected after a first round loss in QUALIFYING. Wish I had my slide whistle for that one.
Note to self, buy a slide whistle.
The real fun happens in Marcos’s presser, when a reporter more or less asks him if he thinks he’s too fat to live. Okay he doesn’t say it in those words exactly but…yeah. Marcos is all, hell naw, he gets up and slaps the reporter across the face with his gut. Again, I can’t vouch for the specifics. It’s, like, super hot out.
Meanwhile, after his Great Escape, Mardy Fish is asked if he’s lost TOO much weight. Jenny Craig isn’t in people’s business this much. At some point even Mardy’s got to get sick of talking about the pound sheddage. Apparently not today as he keeps the stenographer’s fingers dancing for four pages. Then he grabs her by the waist and leads her in a Paso Doble around the interview room.
I may be having a stroke.
Back on Ashe, Novak Djokovic battles his arch nemesis – the sun – and his good buddy Viktor Troicki, going five before pulling out the W. Really really great to see Djokovic tough out a win under the worst possible conditions for him. Afterwards he tells the crowd exactly how it felt once the shade finally came: “It was like sleeping with my girlfriend, I guess kind of feeling.” I’ll take your word for it, Nole. Different memories are stirred in Novak’s press conference when he’s asked if he saw Federer’s insane tweener from last night. “I’ve seen it here last year,” he says, flashing a million dinar smile. The assembled reporters applaud. This for sure happened.
On the Grandstand, revenge as Fernando Verdasco takes out Wimbledon conqueror Fabio Fognini in (shock!) five sets. How Fognini couldn’t use his eyebrows to get him out of that jam I’ll never know. They have magical powers you know. PROVE ME WRONG.
Back on Ashe, Maria Sharapova makes her USO ’10 debut, taking on the chick who bageled her in World Team Tennis, Jarmila Groth. Sure, it was WTT, but do you think for a minute Sharapova would allow herself to go scoreless anywhere? She’d crack a jaw to win rock paper scissors. It looks like more of the same tonight, with Maria losing the first set and just a liiiiitle slice of her mind. She gets it back, slammingwinners to take the next two sets and the match. She then grabs Jarmila by the backof the hair and screams “In your face!” Then she does the Truffle Shuffle.
Or something. Why is Mirka Federer dancing on my knee, and why is she 3” tall? She has such great teeth. I have to remember to tell her that next time I see her. I wonder if people tell her that? I mean really tell her that?
I need ice.
That’s a funny word. Ice.
Why is Mrs. Roper playing Andrea Petkovic?
Mommy, is that you..?
Day 1 - Aug 30 - 11:00pm EST
The 2010 US Open is all about heat baby. Passion. Fire. Literally, I’m on fire. It’s 156 degrees out and I’m sweating through my spanx. It’s not just the sun, it’s the infinite possibilities both draws are teasing us with. On the men’s side, we have one dude playing for the career slam (hi Rafa!), another playing for a million buck bonus and – PS – his long-awaited first major title (Murray, hey mate!), and another dude playing for US Open Open Era history (Fed! WASSAAAP.) Not to mention gentlemen in waiting Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick. Meanwhile, on the ladies’ side, an alleged attempt to sidestep a vague bar brawl has cost us our No 1 player (peace out Serena!), leaving the women’s draw…I don’t want to say wide open, but one of maybe 128 women could hoist the trophy.
Or 127, as Melanie Oudin is currently dismantling poor Olga Savchuk. Clearly sunstroke is setting in as it appears she’s en route to pulling off a golden set in the second. Uh oh, she lost a point! The media will crucify her. BE PERFECT MELANIE! Stupid girl. Her “Courage” is melting on the court (“Believe” is so 2009), and she stuffs a bagel down her opponent’s throat.
Also scorching hot, Elena Dementieva, though this is because she appears to be wearing a fire engine red vinyl muumuu. Could be pleather, or whatever they make superhero costumes out of. I’m going to slap a big fail on this one and pray for her tonight. I don’t need to pray for her game as she’s up up and away to the second round.
Day 1 was full of fire
Not hot: Nicolas Mahut wandering the grounds completely ignored. Wimbledon was 8 WEEKS AGO, what’s wrong with you people?? And what’s wrong with the USTA that they couldn’t give him a main draw wild card? You can say it was up to the French Federation to use their WC for him, but then we wouldn’t have a right to complain that Canada didn’t give Ana Ivanovic that WC into Montreal. I won’t be that hypocrital. We dropped the ball. Clearly our memories are shorter than the Isner/Mahut match itself.
Back to hot as milk carton candidates Marin Cilic, Sania Mirza and Petra Kvitova (the ladder winless since Wimbledon) all score straight sets wins. I can’t guarantee these aren’t all mirages. Ditto Robin Soderling being pushed to five sets by a qualifier who I myself may or may not be ranked higher than. I’m clearly dehydrated because I could swear Nikolay Davydenko is asking me if I want to be his coach. Incidentally, this happened.
You know what else is happening? Venus’s dress. I’m describing it as a lampshade at an S&M funeral home. Sounds like an insult, but you don’t know where I party. PS, this thing is growing on me like a divine fungus. Venus, you are one crafty crafty woman. Or a witch. Either way, I submit.
Before I head out I sit down with Sweet Spot bestie and obvious masochist Janko Tipsarevic. Despite the heat, I remember all the questions I want to ask. Sadly, I think I forgot to suck in my gut. I may have also suggested he pee in the backseat of a car.
In keeping with the theme of punishing hotness, over the next two weeks I’m turning to you to vote for the hottest male and female player at this year’s US Open. And by hottest I mean sexiest (honestly, if you care how people play you’re reading the wrong blog.) Post your picks below or tweet them to me at twitter.com/JamesLaRosa. Tell your friends, or just bribe them to vote for you. I’m all about rigging. The winners will be crowned on Sept 12 and handed their very own supersexy Dunlop Award. I’ll also figure out a way to show the champs sweaty and wearing as little as possible. I’m a giver. One vote per person. And remember, Marat Safin is not in this year’s draw.
Neither is Juan Martin del Potro. Never forget.
Roger Federer ends the night with a tweener. Burn baby burn.
Tomorrow: Djokovic. Sharapova. Gulbis. Verdasco. Kirilenko. Nadal. Bring a fan. Or a fire extinguisher.